Time is really flying, I found myself introducing myself and saying I was on my 3rd week last week (I was on my 4th) I’m genuinely not sure where those 4 weeks have gone, thats a good sign! Writing these weeknotes is taking longer too as I’m not in a space where I fully know what I’m talking about yet, the act of doing it is helping me understand where I don’t know stuff yet and I go and find out more to add detail, but its making publishing slow.

Good things

Show and Tell

The team have been a little reticent about show and tells, the usual reasons of not thinking that much of value has passed in the last to weeks, I’ve seen this often, people like to be kept informed but its easy to think as a presenter that no one will be interested in what you have to say, I often wonder where this comes from?

This week, we talked about what the team does and some work we are doing to improve how we feedback how the service is performing; Work we have been doing to maintain our stakeholder list (a challenge for us); and we talked about the delivery pipeline for a new product, the Emergency Department Streamer. ED Streamer, is technically not a part of 111 online but our teams have developed it and we are supporting the rollout. It’s a new product that triage’s patients arriving at A&E to see if there is a more suitable service for their needs. Interest in the service is picking up and we have been working out how to represent where our interested stakeholders are on the engagement funnel I talked about in the last episode.

The show and tell led to two good outcomes, the team responsible for 1st and 2nd line support contacted us to say they had similar challenges with maintaining stakeholders, and showed us some work they have been doing to improve this, there are other bits of the NHS also doing similar work, so we have agreed to get together all the parties next week and work out whats the best way to make this simpler. The other outcome was that a clinical lead for a particular CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group, see learned things) contacted us and wanted to know how we could help to improve take up of 111 online for her area based on some of the stats we showed in the show and tell. This was great and exactly what show and tells are for, they’re not success theatre, they are a way of engaging with others to solve shared problems.

User Researcher interviews

We interviewed user researchers for the forthcoming discovery, and got two great candidates that have accepted. We’ve been digging into the background of the discovery and its been few a few rounds of discovery previously, it’s a classic large scope that means all things to all people. We’re working hard to develop context from previous research and working out how to scope our Disco so we aren’t just repeating whats already been learnt.

Learned things

Service notes

I read Sarah Drummond’s post What is Service Design? with delight, I have lost literally hours of my life in conversations about the difference between products and services, most of them fruitless whataboutery. The article is beautifully written and clear with great examples, I wish I could write with such clarity. Go check it out.

Clinical Commissioning Groups

I thought it was worth adding how services become a thing in the NHS as it sets a lot of context for the work we are doing, this is my understanding and I’m only 4 weeks in so please let me know if anything is inaccurate! The services provided in your local area are decided by a clinical commissioning group (CCG) they commission services, sometimes from the NHS, sometimes from private companies (such as GP’s). NHS England is the policy department for England which sets the standards of care that need to be provided by CCG’s. Occasionally NHS England will mandate service providers for a more joined up provision. This is the case with 111 online. Sometimes they don’t and its left to the CCG to choose what the most appropriate service for their area (as is the case with ED Streamer). This excellent video from the Kings fund does a far better job of explaining how it all works than I can.


We’ve been having some challenges getting the hang of Jira in the team. I’m not the biggest fan, it adds a lot of complexity to simple processes, but its the tool thats here and I need to get over my personal prejudices. There are some advantages to having a shared board across all the teams. We’ve got to a point where the board is working mostly for the team, with the help of one of the other delivery managers who is a Jira ninja. I need to level up my jira skills, know your enemy and all that! I’m taking the wins, the board wasn’t working and we changed it until it did, inspect and adapt and all that.

In other news…

Phoebe is absolutely smashing her weightlifting and fundraising goals, she’s now passed £5000 in sponsorship and is lifting over 25kg, her original target. The support she has had has been amazing, its the first time we have spoken publicly about her condition and I have to admit I was worried about what reaction she might get, but its all ben so positive, the best possible way for her to ‘come out’ about her condition. We were contacted by Kyle Bryant who made a film about living with FA and his attempt at completing the Ride Across America race, he agreed to have a webchat with Phoebe and it was really nice for her to talk to someone with the condition and how he has coped with the disease both physically and mentally. Thanks Kyle!

On Tuesday I went to the pub, actually indoors in a pub with two good friends, it was so nice, we talked rubbish and drank too many beers for a Tuesday night.

“A lovely pint of Gamma Ray beer on a table in a pub.”