Weeknotes: May 23–27 2022
On digital gardening, challenge function, service, inclusion and data ambiguity
I booked a time weekly in my schedule for personal reflections about the week and recognition of my team. Sometimes, one or the other intention doesn’t get fulfilled, so I finally decided to try weeknotes. This is an experiment.
I will use the following structure:
- Gestures of care
- What we’ve accomplished as a team
- What I learned
- What I’ve been thinking about
- Questions to ponder
Gestures of care
A meaningful week is a week where we practice acts of kindness, care, and generosity. Here are some that I would like to remember from this week:
- I believe that we bring our whole-selves to work. This can mean being flexible and ok with changing the purpose of a meeting, when a situation calls for it. For example, when global news are tough, letting the worries that preoccupy us that day — as people, as humans — take over the conversation to let us share how we cope and find something positive
- Giving your employees explicit permission to not just deliver what is desired/asked for, but to actually tell the whole story! In a presentation about the new direction of the Accessibility team, my Assistant Director used a term “Perform a challenge function”. While the context was different, I love it, I think that’s a great way to refer to the above permission as well — Permission to perform a challenge function in government, we need more of that!
- Taking the time to index and add meaningful metadata to resources shared by the community via GCshare is an act of care. It also involves, following up with those who contribute resources to let them know when their resource was added and sharing a link. Someone’s social profile I stumbled upon recently described them as a Digital gardener; somedays, I feel like one too!
- Connect with a person I admire about burnout message they posted, to see if they would like to chat
- Care for self this week meant saying “sorry, I can’t finish this today, I scheduled a time for it tomorrow and will get back to you then” and asking to reschedule a meeting that came in unplanned or became one-too-many in my calendar
What we’ve accomplished as a team
Nothing is done solo, everything is a collective effort and I am so grateful for the support I get from my team and the near-by teams.
- Improved Matomo analytics experience by masking data about users that is private and unmasking the search filed, so we can see what people are looking for
- Analyzed and affinity mapped user stories to improve search performance of the learning catalogue
- Provided feedback on design iterations and discussed effective testing strategies (thanks for the opportunity Oyin)
- Working through readings for our second UX book club focusing on the mission and objectives of our organization — a great team exercise to get aligned on and/or critically discuss what the priorities are. And using hypothes.is to discuss articles as a group.
- Made a connection with the Client Services team that collects lots of user data and defined next steps for collaboration between our teams! This is going to be an opportunity to explore Data conversations in practice (thanks so much for sharing this Dan Barrett).
What I learned
Everyday, we learn new skills, ideas, and ways of doing things better. We also learn about other people, the world, and hopefully ourselves.
- How to inspect source code of a page (merci Thierry)
- How to save HTML into ODT or DOCX easily (thank you Jamie)
- How sharing better approaches for inclusive language is difficult and how I can do it better next time (I brought up how it would be great if we could find alternatives to terms whitelist and blacklist, but perhaps not in the most psychologically-safe way for everyone). This reminds me of the wonderful article by Beth Fox — Reflections on leadership: The comfort conundrum, where she speaks of the importance of “courage over comfort”
- Re-reminded myself why horizontal and 2D scrolling is a poor design practice from an accessibility perspective, especially for screen magnification users
What I’ve been thinking about
Ideas and realizations that emerged.
- Inclusive hiring — as part of our readings for the UX club, we were looking at a database that tracks departmental information called InfoBase and the map showing the School’s current geographical distribution made me reflect on how thrilled I was about our team’s geographical distribution and how it was contributing to regional diversity. My team is spread out across 3 different time zones, between Vancouver, Toronto, and Halifax.
- How I got into content design (question from a LinkedIn connection)
- How I may have left someone behind due to assumptions and what I need to do to remedy this
- About how government work and Performance management could benefit from being centered around 3 axis: Professional work, Research, and Service. In the Open Education Cross Canada Coffee Chat event from the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, Brenda Smith, an Open Education Librarian at the Thompson Rivers University, reflected on her role includes the Service element. This reminded me that in academic libraries, the 3 elements described above are present in performance expectations. This got me thinking about — Where in our work are we doing Service — something that benefits the community (we are publicly-funded after all!)? Where are we doing research that supports the discipline we work in? Is it all just ‘work’?
I would love to see Research and Service being integrated into government job outcomes across all levels!
Question to ponder
Topics I want to keep on exploring and learning about.
- How do you help organizations meaningfully interpret data and show its subtleties?
- How do you encourage leaders to tell multiple possible stories about the data?
- How do you model that behaviour at the working level?