Week 42 Notes

Hiring, Distributed Ways of Working, Creating a Vision, Wardley Mapping, Personality Tests and Aviation

Week 42 Notes
Photo by NASA / Unsplash


Working with Ellie from Talent Acquisition we had a number of  interviews lined up. I have offered a position to a Product Manager from a health tech organisation and an Engineering Manager from a well known search engine organisation most of use, both accepted.

More interviews for two senior engineers also resulted in accepted offers so I am delighted about the return on time investment this last few weeks. The engineers are well known in the circles I have worked in and will be fantastic additions to the team. More on that in the coming weeks.

Distributed Ways of Working

I spent some time understanding our policy around distributed ways of working. A number of team members have expressed interest in going home for Christmas to their families in different countries and mixing remote work with vacation. We are a hybrid company right now in that we support either in office or remote employment and have no bias towards either unless it's someone who needs to be in an office like an office manager for example.

It was great to see that we support this initiative and allow employees to work within the EU for up to 3 months per year with the other 9 months being in the country of employment for legal purposes. This is brilliant to see us taking this approach and embrace the new ways of working to embrace the very best talent.

Creating a vision

I spend time with all the engineers that are within my teams every week at our engineering weekly meeting. This week was especially exciting as I was able to share the vision for the teams, products and services we are building and how they all come together after last weeks headcount increase.

This led to a lot of brilliant questions which will be addressed in the coming weeks about how we grow and what the opportunities are for moving around teams to work on things that interest them. Our culture is to enable movement to work that interests you and we manage that process to great effect.

Knowing your team

Wheel with segments of personality types showing I am a reformer
The Insights Wheel - My personality type test from a few years ago

One of the things we do in our engineering weekly is spend the first 10 minutes focused on a single individual. Before the session they take the Free Personality Test | 16Personalities and share their results with all the other engineers. It usually takes 5 minutes for them to talk about themselves and we have 5 minutes for discussion points and how that links back to the work we are experiencing.

Many times I have been to workshops that last a day or two as a team to do similar kinds of personality tests. My problem with this approach is that it's great fun at the time but quickly forgotten a few weeks down the line, especially regarding other people. I find this approach means understanding our colleagues continuously is a better return on the time investment as it compounds the understanding of each other over time.

The team really enjoy it too, it often brings some interesting points of view up and also laughter and banter between people who are more familiar with each other. It's a large group of people and other than this they would hardly come into contact with each other now we are all remote so it's another small thing we can do to connect people.

Map Camp (Wardley)

I missed it! I totally missed that it was happening and was gutted to find out on the day it was happening. It left me frustrated about conferences in general and how to know what's coming up.  If I reduce my social media consumption I tend to miss the good stuff which is frustrating as I have reduced the amount of participation on social media.

However, this got my mapping juices flowing and I did a session with some of the teams to show them how maps worked, how I have used them in the past and made a starter on one for how we turn the vision described above into a reality. Doing so without a map would be like flying an airplane with the windows blacked out right?


My return to aviation picked up where it left off with 3 flights cancelled last minute due to weather. I seem to have picked the only bad weather times this week as most of it was glorious flying weather.

I have one flight booked for the upcoming week which I hope will happen. It's getting much trickier now as the dark draws in.

Things I found interesting this week

  • I spent some time looking at Zapier - This was off the back of my notes on workflow. I realise I spent a lot of time being inefficient and not automating enough. Slides, posts, emails, etc are all areas where I know the capabilities that are there but don't use it enough.

    I tried to setup a Zap so that posts on this blog cross post to Medium too but connecting to medium didn't work too well resulting in a support ticket being raised.
Scrren shot of http 400 status code when Zapier trying to connect to Medium for cross posting from my Ghost blog
Zapier trying to connect to Medium for cross posting from my Ghost blog

Katie Bauer's Tweet on "Hire awesome people, listen to them and get out of the way" where she challenges the this with some interesting points of view some that I share too. I think the philosophy of that statement is absolutely true and I 100% back it, the key for me is creating teams that are capable and have clear direction. Simply hiring people and leaving them to it without that investment is bound to produce unfavourable results.