David had the blues after 3 weeks of holiday. So we decided to put some structure around our work. We chose to do weekly sprints of focused delivery in #teamhack. We’ve both done sprints before and seen them work, so started on a Tuesday with a retrospective meeting, then a sprint planning meeting for the upcoming week. The outcome is our board full of things.
In the sprint 1 retrospective we agreed that:
- structure was good
- we tried to deliver too many things
- the time we actually had was different from reality
This last point is because we’re open to most forms of engagement. We don’t currently work to a tight deadline and instead need to be flexible to the needs of our users.
Talking of which we had a brilliant meeting with open data colleagues from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS):
It was a great continuation of similar conversations with other departments. We talked about how we delivered the 8,000 and what next.
Whilst we evolve this discussion our thoughts about hard targets change - hard targets are hard because they’re hard. We think it would be nice to have another hard target at some point both for our team, the wider data programme and the entire Defra group.
The challenge Sophia (deputy director) has is our users have a lot of stuff they want us to do. Delivery is achievable so long as we prioritise.
The 2 big things from sprint 1 are really complex. James thought they might be too big and need breaking down. David’s #defralytics card is static, ie get a business case approved. James’ stakeholder map is more fluid and will continuously evolve, changing the way we look at the world - break all the bubbles!
On Monday we held an unmeeting which was badged as an unconference. This badge made people think they’d be lots of attendees, which wasn’t our aim. We’re still working on the difference but the key is no strict agenda - it depends on who turns up.
7 people attended the unmeeting and found the small, intimate nature useful. Attendees brought their personal and organisational agendas, all of which had a common data thread. We worked outwards sharing each other’s agenda, finding common purpose and ways to work together. We had a diverse set of in depth conversations across a range of topics, including Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR), Minecraft, farming, stories, stakeholders, user groups and Defraopolis (a variant of Datopolis).
Its great to look at the same problem from different perspectives. James really liked working together on the stakeholder map as we moved from discussion to doing. David felt we started to unpick the challenge of discovery especially to find, share and use stories to provide context to our data. Doing this should mean a higher chance that published data will be used and not waste user’s time. Basically, context thru stories!
We’ll definitely do more unmeetings. We think repeating monthly and getting out of London are important.
Tips of the week:
- David: “You don’t have to see the whole staircase to take the first step” Dr Martin Luther King Jr
- James: less is more