We’re starting a new, interesting project. It’s big, it’s new, it’s challenging. It involves working with multiple teams across the organisation. I want to work on it. Looks like I’m not going to.
Early indications are that I’ll instead be leading a different workstream. Another colleague will be leading the new, interesting project. Not good.
We’ve got a consultant on the team. He’s fairly experienced and quite good at structuring solutions. He also has strongly opinionated working practices, and refuses to change them unless he’s directly ordered to. We’re a friendly, consensual organisation, so we won’t order him, and he doesn’t change his tune. Not good.
But there’s an upside.
The consultant will be working on the new project. This means I won’t have to see his code. I won’t have to worry that there’s no documentation, or that every class has 50 2-line functions. I won’t need to hear him again explain that there’s no point to adding UI tests if we can’t have a full test suite of multiple layers of tests.
If anyone asks me in a year how something works in that project’s code, I can honestly say “I don’t know” without feeling bad about it. It’s not my failure that that code is not well documented. It’s not my failure if it’s not easy to read or understand. It’s not my failure if the context for the changes is lost over time. I won’t have the daily anxiety of needing to review and approve code that I know will be indecipherable in 6 months. Good.
The icing would be if I can convince the colleagues on my workstream to accept documentation, deeper implementations, and other similar practices as the norm. Not, as he said, a matter of taste.
A few months ago, the organisation floated an optional survey about return to office. It was slightly biased, and didn’t touch upon certain areas the many WFHers wanted to get feedback on.
For me, another big issue with the survey was that it collected stated preferences, and that too with a big selection bias due to being optional.
The survey findings, summarised, were used as a reason to mandate everyone to come to office at least 2 days a week.
A month of going into office, Covid cases in UK started increasing again. The organisation removed the mandate to come to office in November, making it optional.
This made an interesting scenario to get a pulse of the revealed preferences. Some early observations…
The number of people coming into office has reduced visibly. Drastically. Equally interesting has been the split. Number of people in deep work roles, like developers, have almost completely stopped coming to office. Numbers in pipeline roles – managers of various things and people mostly – are going into office a bit more. There’s also, expectedly, a strong inverse relationship between commute time and office attendance.
Anyone wanting to do an honest, unbiased assessment of people’s preferences about coming to office, now has a good dataset readily available. Just collect and compare data of our security pass swipes for November and October.
Shaun collects and connects his memories with smells. He says it aloud, but I think we all do it.
Cool, humid hill air missed with diesel fumes
My strongest smell connection is a mix of cool & humid mountain air mixed with diesel fumes. That reminds me of the place I loved the most whole growing up – Shimla. Every time I walk past a delivery lorry spewing half burnt diesel fumes just after it has rained, I’m immediately flung to Shimla in the 90s.
There are more smells connected to memories, but this one is the strongest, and the most unique.
The whole team is working on a moderately big redesign. M & I are pairing on a spike to massively upgrade the technical implementation for a core part of the so, to support the design change.
Today, after we’d reached a significant milestone on our spike, I showed PAM1 the app as it works with the changes.
She. Loved. It!
She took it around the team showing the upgrade to everyone – other engineers, designers, PMs…Everyone. Everyone loved it, but the people who loved it the most were PAM and PN2. I could hear PN cooing over it for a long time. They both couldn’t stop smiling. Remembering the joy on their faces has plastered a smile on mine. Made my day ☺️
She’s a senior UX designer playing a leading role in the redesign ↩
He’s one of our product managers. He also co-led an earlier design upgrade which was shelved due to a change of management. Today’s change included much of the work that was part of the original plan. ↩
I got to station in time for 7.09 fast train to Waterloo, which would place me in office by 8.05.
Due to issues with Southwestern Railways, most trains are cancelled. I’m now on the 7.32 slow train. This means I’ll be in office by 9 AM if there are no delays.
Whose time does this lost hour come out of?
Will I need to work an extra hour for the late arrival? Or does the firm, which has mandated coming to office today, lose an hour of work? Or do we not talk about it, and leave bitterness festering on one or both sides?
No one had these thoughts or conversations before the pandemic. Post pandemic inforced WFH, most humans appear to have reset expectations but most organisations still seem to be stuck in the pre pandemic expectations.