Weeknote 08/2013

This week

  • Lots of meetings this week. Managed to estimate some dates for the larger pieces of work I’ve got going on with the Jisc Services BCE Team. We use a Google Spreadsheet to develop our plans. It’s a living document which we use to form discussions during our weekly team meeting.
  • I read Mike Rohde’s book on sketchnotes. My post on sketchnotes explains my interest in them. I’m also trying to mash them up with weeknotes as a way of developing my literature review.
  • I found out my research proposal got accepted. I was over the moon!
  • I’m still in the process of reading through case studies being developed as a part of Jisc’s Transformations Programme. Just to get a feel for the final outputs as well as trying to provide comments where relevant.
  • I began the process of closing a Community of Practice we set up about three years ago. The community was originally developed as a part of a Jisc programme however activity has dwindled over the years.
  • I developed a draft Terms of Reference for a Marketing and Communications Working Group we’ve set-up internally for infoNet. The group currently comprises me (the Information Manager), our lead for communications and the multimedia developer. The aims eveolve around stakeholder relationships, demonstrating value and raising the service’s profile.

Lessons learned

Left this weeks post far too late. It’s been a bit rushed and you can probably tell. I must remember to write down notes at the end of each day!! :-S

Of interest


MSc Literature Review 03/2013

So I recently came across the sketchnote phenomenon. I’m thinking about using it for my literature review which would make it a mash-up of weeknotes and sketchnotes. Here’s my first attempt taking on the first two chapters of Harvey Maylor’s Project Management (4th edn) book. I’ll see how it goes but I quite like it. Oh, just for info – I found out yesterday that my proposal has been accepted. Full steam ahead :-)

2013 07 16 Sketchnote Project Management by Maylor Ch 1-2


My colleague recently presented at IWMW and one of the audience members created a sketchhnote of his talk. I was fascinated. Our team attend a lot of conferences and have to synthesise a lot of information and so I wanted to find out more. I wanted to learn how I can begin to pick out key messages from a sea of information. It would also be particularly useful for me in carrying out a literature review for my dissertation. My thinking is that I can use the technique in reviewing books, journals etc. – not just listening to talks.

So we got a copy of Mike Rohde’s book for the office. I read the book in a couple of hours, it’s a very easy read helped by the visuals – I’m a slow reader, and I decided to produce a sketchnote to summarise my learning. I’m going to use this to explain it to the team and also use some of Mike’s exercises so everyone can try it out. My sketchnote can be found below. I’ll keep you informed of our progress! I ended up copying a couple of visuals from the book just so I could practice as I’m not that good at drawing. Hopefully Mike will forgive me. But the key learning point for me was that sketchnotes are about ideas not art!


Weeknote 07/2013

Returning from holiday

This week

Right, back in the swing of things now after returning from my annual leave. Had a lot of catching-up to do last week and was heavily involved with some annual returns required by Jisc. All done now and my 10 year anniversary at Jisc infoNet has been and passed. So what’s been keeping me busy this week?

  • I’ve been working on ideas to update Jisc infoNet’s Further Education Records Retention Schedule. More on why Records Management is important can be found on infoNet’s website. Updating the Records Retention Schedule (RRS) will generally save lots of people from across the sector from having to do it themselves. We’re very keen on making it more open going forward which will make it easier to use, more accurate and will help us to forge an even greater relationship with the sector. When those ideas are in a decent state I’ll make them available for comment. I’m using infoNet’s Business Case Template to get things down on paper.
  • I spent some time catching-up with where we’re at with the Jisc Transformations programme. It comprises 58 projects working across four different strands: student experience; improved efficiency and/or cost savings; organisational capability for business and community engagement; and improved environmental performance. The bulk of those projects are expected to deliver a case study and audio and/or video description by the end of July. We’re getting there but I have a feeling there might be a slight delay. Really exciting to see some of the outputs start to emerge though!
  • I’ve started to list activities from the Jisc Open Innovation and Access to Resources programme in a timeline to help show how Jisc has contributed to the open agenda. It’s really beginning to take shape with a few tweaks still to be made. A nice visual way of demonstrating what has been achieved.
  • I really want to try and improve my networking and communication skills this year so I’ve started to identify a number of events worth attending with potential speaking opportunities. I’ve also noted a few down where I might be able to submit papers. Lets see how I get on.
  • Finally but not least I’ve started to think through the transfer of Jisc’s Customer Relationship Management Handbook to infoNet’s website as an infoKit. I think the best way to go about this is to combine the Handbook with the CRM Self-Analysis Framework and take into consideration Martin Hamilton’s suggestions. Once I’ve got a draft ready I’ll release it to previous authors, and the wider public for comment.

Lessons learned

  • If I ever ask anyone to carry out an audit, of any size, I will acknowledge receipt and I will thank them.

Of interest

  • If you get the chance to watch it I’d thoroughly recommend the BBC’s documentary covering the Piper Alpha tragedy. Very sad but amazingly well put together. Serves as a great reminder to never underestimate health and safety but also to learn from our mistakes. There’s never been a major oil rig blowout since.
  • I love Sketchplanations! Well worth a look.
  • Glad Instagram have finally started allowing you to embed videos and images :-)

10 years on…

Janette, Me and Kath back in 2006

Janette, Me and Kath back in 2006

This Sunday marks my 10 year anniversary as an employee at Jisc infoNet. Where does the time go? I started life as an assistant multimedia developer and remember the interview as if it was yesterday. I was quite low at the time because I was going through one or two personal issues. I struggled badly in an interview for BT, and having got through to the final stages at Nissan I froze in my presentation. Looking back this was a blessing in disguise because I really couldn’t be more grateful for the time I’ve had working for the service. I remember the interview and test as if it was yesterday, and in particular suggesting quite strongly the service should get rid of the “orange”. Back then Jisc was all about the “orange” but thankfully things have changed!

My first week involved a team planning meeting at Strathclyde, one of the team members was based close by to there at the time. Alan Cameron had just started the week before me and we got to know one another sitting at the end of the table wondering what the hell everyone was talking about. The acronyms overwhelmed us and before long we were both beginning to nod, nudging one another as our heads dropped. Probably not the best way for us to introduce ourselves to the team but they were probably impressed we stayed awake ;-)

But that’s the amazing thing about our team. Everything we’ve ever done has been approached with common sense. We see the funny side of things, understand people aren’t machines and offer support wherever we can which I feel has had a major impact on our productivity. It’s very rare we let things get to us, I think we’d have gone mad otherwise. An amazingly talented team helps too:

  • Bernard Paton – I got engaged while staying at one of Bernard’s Gîtes. I proposed to my wife in French and remember asking Bernard to check my words, which I’d translated through some dodgy site, before doing so. I was meant to say, and thanks to Bernard did say, something like “the older we grow, the more and more I’ll love”. What I had down was more like “the fatter you grow, the more there is to love”.
  • Gill Ferrell – one of the most gifted people I’ve ever known. The way in which she can digest unbelievably complex agendas and describe them in plain English is beyond belief. She is a real credit to the sector and like all the staff believes passionately in making things better.
  • Patrick Bellis – the clarity Patrick brings to the team is something I’m in awe of. No matter what the topic is he is always able to pick out the most relevant piece of information. His vision and organisation has helped take the service from strength to strength, especially our relationship with other Jisc services. He’s one of the kindest people around too, always there for the team.
  • Jacquie Kelly – I’m not sure she knows this but I’ve always thought of Jac as a motherly figure. She’s been amazing to me through my time at infoNet picking me up and dusting me down when needed. Jac, was it the Hawthorne effect?
  • John Burke – the most charismatic, flamboyant joker around. I’ve yet to come across anyone who can strike up a conversation and make people feel at ease as well as what John can. He inspired my interest in project management when I attended one of his workshops.
  • Alan Cameron – he’s not going to bust a gut!
  • Steve Bailey – the rockstar of Records Management often found frequenting with Royalty. Just an absolute legend although I disagree with his love of The Archers haha
  • Janette Hillicks – the nicest person in the world! I love Janette, I’m not usually a touchy feely person but after one or two drinks I love a good hug with wah’ HanetteHillocks. The odd dance move doesn’t go a miss either, always like a bit hoovering on the dance floor.
  • Marianne Sheppard – awesome craic but more often than not I can’t remember our conversations as there’s often wine involved – when she’s not in Birmingham that is. Marianne is one of the most hardworking people you will meet, an all round star.
  • Joanne Hyslop – Joanne wasn’t with us for vey long, I just remember her unbelievable love of the Smiths and cats! What’s not to like? Joanne was another of the team with an unbelievable way of simplifying complex issues, a real credit to the sector.
  • Doug Belshaw – I’ve never known anyone move so fast! A true phenomenon, always pushing the boundaries and delivering. I loved working with Doug, he inspired me to step outside of my comfort zone and I’m hoping to take that even further this year.
  • Susan Heaford – my main memory of Susan is that we’re no longer allowed a toaster in the kitchen haha. Susan was such a lovely woman with a kind heart.
  • Teresa Tocewicz – one of the only team members to make me cry at work, in a good way! Teresa’s love of data is a real benefit to the team and something I think many organisations will be in envy of going forward.
  • Katherine Eade – Kath was the first person I ever met at infoNet. So down to earth and easy to talk to with an unbelievable eye for detail. I’ve missed her over the last year or so and glad she’s back after looking after her beautiful family.
  • Gemma Elliott – I remember when Gemma first started she seemed to lack a bit of confidence. The transformation since then has been unbelievable. Gemma is a real star within the team with a real focus on getting things done and she’s always there for me when I need a whinge.
  • David Cornforth – horizontal. One of the coolest, grumpiest, funny guys I know. I’ve worked with David since he started as a student placement. His progression has been phenomenal. The other great thing about David is his passion to bring the team together, often taking the lead in our social calendar.
  • Owen Roberts – always helped me to see things in a different light, and smile about them. One of the things I admired most about Owen was his approach to risk. I’m quite cautious, Owen was fearless and not scared to fail which is rare. I also loved his snaps of smiling inanimate objects.
  • Adam Hiles – his musical, literary and film knowledge is phenomenal and he always has something interesting to say. I love the way Adam can pick a joke out of anything too, cracking sense of human that’s very similar to some of my closest friends.

It’s not just the staff at infoNet though, it’s the staff I’ve worked with from other Jisc services and from across the sector as a whole. I’m very privileged and not a day goes by when I forget that. Even when I do become frustrated or down, I know I’m working for a service that cares, aiming to make education better across the whole of the UK (maybe even the world) and that’s what’s important to me.