A year of work in progress – day 185

Day 185 – 29 October 2014

At last, a cold start to the morning. It’s been so unseasonably warm of late. No wonder everyone is suffering from a cold. After two quite hectic days it was back to management Wednesday today. It feels like a long time since the Senior Leadership Team has been together for a full on management meeting what with holidays and conferences. It seems even longer since I heard the drone of the shredder lorry. It might be as far back as July.

This morning’s meeting was just with the Durham crew as Neil was on holiday. It was a people meeting but we started off with an update on the service plans for next year. The planning cycle has started and we need to make sure we get the balance right between stretching ourselves and not being held hostage to fortune. I think we had too much on this year’s plan. A lot of what we do is important and has to be done anyway – so called business as usual and this need not be in the plan. Many of the things we do take longer than one year and so need to be carried forward. Some new things have to be added, especially around the accommodation programme and the inexorable rise of digital. We agreed to have a first draft by the middle of November.

It was a long meeting (blame the chair). At one time we were an hour behind the agenda and at times it got quite feisty. Have we too much going on? We fed back on our experiences from the Customer Service Week. The Awareness Day had been good but not enough people attended and the MOT days went very well. There are many things that our technology can do which our uses are not aware of and so we need more of tense events and better targeted communications.

We agreed a new approach to our five quick questions (5QQs). We’re going for a more qualitative than quantitative approach and will use them as an opportunity to understand how our customers are feeling. The Project Leads are going to draft the questions and the Senior Project Leads are going to agree them. It sounds good.

We also talked about our approach to County Durham Housing Group as we need to start the process of agreeing the service level agreement going forward. Mark had done a sterling job in pulling all the facts and figures together which meant that we could agree what we wanted to take to the group.

In the afternoon Brian, Neil and I had a stab at an application map for the corporate functions. We went round and round the houses for a while until it all gelled and we were able to throw something onto a whiteboard. It was a worthwhile session and Brian is going to draw this up. We now have something to go back to the business with.

Learning points for today: My Dutch is still rubbish; phablet is a real word; there is a planning season; there is always more to talk about than time will allow and; I have inspired at least one person.

Today’s enjoyment rating 7/10 – a bit of a slog.

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