Tuesday, 5 October 2021

Keeping busy

I'm doing a Health Check on a programme of work at the moment and, after conducting about 25 interviews on Teams or the phone, I'm now preparing the report. (I will retire at some stage, honest, but we've been in lockdown, there's medical appointments for David that mean we cannot just up and go away, so I might as well be gainfully employed, don't you think?)

It's taken me a while to get the hang of this kind of report writing again as it is a fair while since I have done a project review. All of my work in the last several years has been project delivery or helping establish new projects or rescue projects that have gone off the rails. And the writing for that is quite different - this has a different audience, and requires a measure of sensitivity if I'm going to be pointing out flaws and how to remedy them - so, yes, I have to be sensitive. I can do it, but I do have to put my mind to it ... 😇 And by the way, it is very different from writing the blog - here I just put my fingers on the keyboard and out it all comes - stream of consciousness gets unleashed.

Doing the interviewing has been great, with lots of information gathered - everyone involved was open and keen to help. It is great when that occurs and people aren't guarded and they realise that honesty gives a better chance of making sure the issues get surfaced and resolved.

Given what I had read and the feedback I'd been given, I was clear pretty early on what I was going to be recommending. And on Sunday I started making notes using Edward de Bono's 6 thinking hats - on A3 paper that I'd blutakked to the windows. But somehow I couldn't get a handle on how to present the information - in part I think that was because I was following as a model a report developed for quite a different programme of work.

As often happens, it's when I am asleep and my unconscious has time to sort things out, or when I am out walking, that the shape of what I need to write comes clear and the start point pops into my head.

On Monday morning I had arranged to go out for a walk with Ann (remotely - appropriately socially distanced with me in Waikanae and her in Stoke). But as it was raining, I had called it off and suggested she stay in bed. Then I realised I needed to clear my head of the 'why can't I get this sorted' noises (and walk off some of the chocolate I had consumed the night before ...😈) So out I went on my own. I always used to love walking in the rain as a teenager, and I still love it.

So as I was heading towards home, the key words I needed to set the context came into my head and I was ready to write!

The difficulty I was still dealing with was how to shape and order the report. So yesterday was spent writing the context and making a number of false starts in the template. The categories just didn't fit how I thought the information needed to be grouped to make the most sense to the readers who will have to accept the report and implement the recommendations.

This morning though, I went back to the methodology that Sarah and I use when working together developing anything - identifying what people need to know and ordering it from the known to the unknown, the general to the specific, the actions required and the expected outcomes.

So that I didn't feel disorganised (easy for me to feel that way because I am not a natural filer and I don't run a clear desk policy - just ask Sarah or Fiona from DOC or Jo B who was my PA years ago in Telecom) I sorted the interview notes into piles based on the roles of interviewees on the extended dining room table (no room here in my office). And then off I went with the permanent markers on A3 sheets. And out it all flowed.

What a relief! David made my brunch at noon as I was on a roll.

So here is what my office looked like at 7pm tonight when I finally stopped work:

  • notes from Sunday's Hats session and programme information blutakked to the wall (that wall is actually the base of the drop down bed we use for visitors - nifty, eh?)
  • the stack of notes and recommendations handwritten today on A3 paper to the left of the laptop - I'm part way through typing those in to the amended template
  • and my general mess of a desk

And on the wall beside the window is the paua-framed mirror that my lovely friend Michelle (she who once dyed my hair pink ... but still cuts my hair) made for my 60th birthday. For a while it was on the wall of the saloon in Waka Huia, but when we came back in 2019, I brought it home. I love having it here.

 So now it is 9.46pm and I need to go to bed. To wind down after working all day, I watched an episode of Vera (I'm up to Season 8 on Acorn) and wrote this post. But now my eyes are drooping. I have done a proof read of this, but have probably missed errors, so my apologies.

Good night, all. 💤😴💤

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