Weeknote #028

— 16 minute read

It was a week in hell in London. People assume that because of my south american origins, I would prefer hot weather. It is the opposite: 22 degrees celsius is my limit. I was tired and unproductive.

My selected post this week is Holding on working less, by Meg Howie, who is a service designer. She talks about the differences in working for the government and a design agency, slow days, slack time in the system and building resilience.

Good things permalink

Service design magic permalink

In the last two weeks, I am onboarding myself to a stream of work focused on designing new services and propositions. A lot of things to absorb and understand. But I'm glad I will be able to join a remarkable team and work in something new.

Catching up with Dr Hu permalink

I think I shared before how much I appreciate 1-1's. This week I've met Sophy Hu, and we talked a lot about writing. She wrote a post about the positive aspects of stakeholder anxiety. Short and sweet, full of wisdom.

Learned things permalink

Process, balance, tensions permalink

John Cutler, provocateur extraordinaire, asked in a tweet about the challenges of scaling a product organisation. The question was:

"Technology, design, product management is fundamentally about navigating the tension between X and Z."

Marvellous answers from the community that you can read in the original thread. But I will cherry-pick a few, just to illustrate a point:

Consistency, Growth/innovation
Trust and Autonomy
"Bias for action" vs "Strive for excellence."
Gut feeling and data
Exploring and generating results
Specificity and Versatility
Depth and Breadth
Scalability and reliability\

Someone commented in the thread that the question might be a reductionist approach to the complexity we have in Product. While I was reading Intertwingled, this part resonated a lot with me:

"We should take these lessons online to plan-build sites and systems because the binary opposition of agile-waterfall is just as much a myth. The Agile Manifesto backs "responding to change over following a plan" but makes a point of saying that both have value. Yet Agile is used often as a platform for proclaiming the wireframe is dead. Meaning shifts from intent to interpretation, and plans go out of the window. We all know death by documentation sucks, but to pivot and sprint into an Agile death spiral isn't a whole lot of fun either". Peter Morville

I do have an opinion that Information Architects and Service Designers can help to reduce this ambiguity. They are equipped and trained to deal with abstraction in language and models, which is a rare skill.

The reasons for writing permalink

Anja Maerz asked me why I write every week. She opened a can of worms. For context, I started because of Amy Hupe's positive influence. For a few weeks, she was guiding me and acting as my editor and coach. When she left, the habit stuck. And I keep doing every Saturday as the closure of my week. I feel that after publishing these notes, I am ready to enjoy the weekend.

It is a learning journey for me, and I am always reading and practising. I've also found a lively community talking and learning about writing. David Perrel is someone I recently discovered. He shared this pearl on twitter recently:

"You don't just write to share what you think. You write to discover what you think in the first place."

This is the structure I use for writing. Publishing every week is the tactic to consolidate these discoveries over time. And it helps me to think better and reflect. With a note-taking method, this is my current strategy for compounding knowledge.

Good things permalink

Zoom fatigue and old school calls permalink

This week I experimented calling people, in their regular phone numbers, like a boomer. I called my mom and dad, my work colleagues and friends.

There is something fabulous about a phone call: since no one is looking to a screen, it feels like there is more connection, it flows better.

Photography and drinks permalink

We are getting ready for some shooting and cooking this weekend. Leili will try the Caipirinha recipe again.

Finding the perfect coffee permalink

Leili is also becoming a coffee connoisseur. Recently, she found single-origin coffee from Brazil called Das Almas, roasted by Origin. It is fantastic.

Healthcheck permalink

Besides the weather, I only had one migraine. I have to be more careful about diabetes management.

Weight: 97.1 kg
Blood sugar level: 10.1 mmol/L
Food: a great amount of healthy food this week.
Drinks: One Gin and Tonic
Smoking: 10 Juul pods

"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." James Joyce