Category Archives: LDL

tenders = essays

I distinctly remember leaving university. It was a great feeling. No more putting stuff off for weeks and having midnight deadlines and living of coffee and lucozade.

Then came Tenders: We’ve just finished doing a rather large Tender in work, and I was glad to see everybody was the same as me. “I can’t really do the work unless I have a really tight deadline”.

It all gets quite stressful. you think, “can I go back to that, simple life of just writing code?”. it’s all over (for) now. So the rest of the team have had to put up with two days of floaty light management. coming out of the tunnel and distracting anyone who will listen.

next week I will look at my mountain of email – the 75 projects I said i would start this finical year, and maybe even sorting out those bits of the office that we haven’t finished yet. like Hanging the clock.

work work…

I spent most of yesterday in what we affectionately use to call a stable door meeting, and almost all of today writing a email about another website. but really i need to spend at least a day writing about a website that doesn’t exist yet so I’m working from home tomorrow. What I’m doing now.. is putting off working from home tonight.

I am so close to becoming one of ‘those’ people, it’s scary – I have lots to do and somebody stole a day out of my week, and that was before somebody trapped me in a room for three hours and then somebody else required a 2 hour email response.

The problem is I want to lead by example, and working stupid hours all night isn’t the example i want to set.  Yes I want people to do work, but I also want them to have a life, and not get burned out and all stressed on me, in the long run that’s much much harder to deal with, then a missed deadline or two.

anyway procrastination rules, lets just search flickr for photos and maybe play a bit of scrabulous.

Maybe it’s finnaly all gotten to me..

but I like doing PDRs*, Performance & Development reviews – appraisals to you and me.

In my last job. PDRs where seen as a chore, the boss didn’t like doing them, and he let you know it. some of them would go on for hours and you could see through his office window, he was squirming. you would go in, talk about the same things as you did last time, and get the same responses, often with a sense of resignation. once i got.

“well after being here five years I would expect you to leave” (i did)

they weren’t exactly inspiring.

Looking at them as I do know from the other side. I wonder if he ever did get anything from them? because I get lots.

It has to be said I do them quite differently, for a start they are in a coffee shop (get out the office, people will talk!), and I ask people how they are, what they think, just what is happening… We ramble off subject and talk about tea, children, football, philosophy, art, the west wing, and occasionally work. Yes sometimes they last for two hours – but I get to know people more (i like to think i do talk to people outside of these and I do know them a bit already), and genuine ideas come out of them.

From the last set of PDRs I went away and restructured the team, thats worked really well, from this set it looks like we are going to sort out our strategic direction (I had one, it just needed fine tuning and then we’re going to run with it). It all reinforces my getting to where you want to be by not looking directly at it thing. Which is why I sent all the designers of to an art gallery, and when i get the bottle to do it. all the developers will be off somewhere getting inspiration too.

I don’t know what my staff think, I hope they see them as useful to, I am careful to try and remember what it was like… tell people they are valuable to the team (fortunately they all are!), give people hope.. and try to inspire. It all sounds terribly fluffy doesn’t it.. maybe I am a bit of a floaty in the clouds manager.

*one point I am confused on is PDR or PR&D. It turns out I have no idea which one it is anymore…

The Public Sector and Leauge Tables

One thing you notice when you work in the public sector, is the love of league tables. If something can be measured then it is (sometime if it can’t we still try). and if you have a measure for something then you can put them all together in a league table.

Being web doesn’t excuse you from this league table obsession, in-fact it’s all automated. thanks to sitemorse – A company who have realised that measuring things is one thing. put them in a league table and you’ve got the public sector hooked, it doesn’t really matter how or what you measure.

Sitemorse measure the accessibility, function, code, performance and something else* of a website, every month they do this for all local goverment websites and make a league table. Liverpool.gov.uk was first once, and then it wasn’t nothing changed but the scores did. Over the last few months it’s been quite low [for us]. Mainly because Sitemorse a company who measure websites, decided that the way MessageLabs a company who handle email didn’t do it they way they thought they should– this ment our website had poor performance.

We talked to Sitemorse, and we talked to MessageLabs and came to the conclusion that changing the email system for a league table is silly – so we didn’t.

This month liverpool.gov.uk is 32nd. We haven’t changed anything. infact according to sitemorse it’s worse than last month, but we’ve gone up. It’s all very odd and it might sound like sour-grapes; but we (the webteam) don’t care any more about this league table.

We care about the quality of the site. but not about how it performed for a few hours one day at some point in the month (you get marked down if sites you link to are down during the test… a bit hard to control).

Of course a lot of this highlights the silliness of league tables and the supposed choice they offer people, but if you live in Liverpool, what use is it for you to go to South Bedfordshire website to find out about your leisure centres?

Sitemorse for Liverpool.gov.uk

“so that’s why Liverpool got slated by the audit commission

Sitemorse have recently started branching out and now do league tables for banks, and news sites. I wish them luck, but who is going to change there bank because the website isn’t top of a league table?

*none of this mesures how easy it is to find or do things on the site.