Weeknotes s01e04 — the_reboot.mkv

Colin Oakley
3 min readNov 26, 2017


My forth weeknotes — my first was back in April , this is some bad scheduling. I decided to change the format and do a daily post leading to a weekly post, hopefully this will be less disjointed.

I had some accessibility work on Friday I couldn’t finish so I went head first into this. It is always a bit sensory overload working with screen readers — but that is one of the best ways to get context about an issue. (apart from working with users).

I’d also started looking at a couple of GraphQL tutorials, it is interesting starting to think about natural queries rather than a set of APIs.

I usually spend most Tuesday at alternative team ceremonies, for one reason or another these had been pushed to a Wednesday. So I had a couple of sessions with the rest of the team to drive out some more technical tasks for the forthcoming sprint.

Since I had a bit more space as well I started trying to break down our next big feature we are doing to deliver.

There have been quite a few conversations about how we break this down into a more manageable piece of work.

Feature doodling

It is always good to see the team blogging Becky talked about Get Your State Pension and “How we use data and analytics to improve services” — being co-located with designers and data analytics people provides us the opportunity to do more and more of this.

A large chunk of my Wednesday was meetings . If you are not familiar with scrum ceremonies then they look like this:

Review— this is a chance for people to give a team a demo of what they have been working on.

Planning — based on the backlog (which we now have four!) the product owner with the help of the team decides what to work on for the next sprint.

Retro — This is a chance to reflect on the last two weeks, and make some improvements. This was a good retro lead by our user researcher. I love it when the team takes over meetings.

We’d also talked as a development team how our current way of tracking work wasn’t working well for the team so we added a bonus meeting for task planning. The ‘Support’ team has been in a weird place for a while but now new developers had joined the team it seemed a good time to do a bit of a reset!

We also decided to take control of the kanban board and make it more in-line with other ones. We decided to keep with the backlog, doing, review and done for the columns. We also decided that tasks would move rather than stories, this meant we wouldn’t have a dedicated test column.

I love this sort of chat with a team, plus we now have a colourful board.


It was the Care, Retirement and Bereavement away day, this was a chance for everyone together and talk about moving from single service delivery into themes.

I am hopeful that moving into themes will provide more of a driver for design to happen across the services. While themes will have senior product owners and delivery leads it doesn’t seem clear if there will be a senior designer/user researcher team members, it will be interesting to see when it lands.

There is a real disconnect between talking about organizational and landing it, so hopefully this lands quickly, and we can get on and do awesome things.

Also a kindly reminder from this weeks NUX about when we are designing services.

I usually used Friday as a focused work day, I spend most of the day pairing with another developer (context: Pair Programming) talking him through a couple of the tickets that had been taken into the sprint.

Pairing is always one of the best ways to spend a day — but it can be incredibility draining. The end result was me helping him raise his first pull request against an HMRC microservice (State Pension API), that our DWP service sits on top off.

Which is a cool endorsement for cross-department working! 🎉

Side note: People not resources. I’m not wheat.

His name was Robert Paulson.



Colin Oakley

front-end developer in Government into html, css, node.js and a11y. Co-orginizer of Frontend North East.