At the start of March this year, I began my part-time employment with Public-i, the details of which I shared here.
So over a month later…what are my thoughts!
First and foremost the Public-i I team are a great bunch of people, they are all passionate about what they do and are very focused. They are all easy to get along with and all have very interesting things to say on a variety of topics. Even if I wasn’t working for them the people are the type of people I’d want to connect with. So if nothing else I’ve made some great contacts and had some great conversations which will no doubt continue in various places.
It wasn’t the major culture shock I perhaps had anticipated but it was still a pretty in-depth learning curve, which has made the first month a very tiring but fulfilling experience. I think I underestimated how tired it would make me feel, but a good tired. I’ve had a lot to think about and if it wasn’t for the four plus hour train journeys to Brighton and back I’d wonder how I’d find the time to process all of the information, although I’m spending more time reading and checking things via my iPad and laptop then I previously did as I also have a number of voluntary positions that I still need to maintain on top of these paid positions.
So my role at Public-i is Product Manager for the Citizenscape product and this entails championing the product, defining the purpose, signing off development, designs and being clear about the overall vision and direction.
If I’m honest, I probably only do about a fraction of that at the moment and my initial focus has been on being clear in my mind as to what the purpose, proposition and vision is for the Citizenscape product. I’m not 100% there on that either yet as my thoughts are evolving the more I get into deeper conversations with people but I am becoming clear on what I think are the key underlying features of the product (more on this at a later stage).
In my previous post I referred to the issue around whether some of the free tools that exist to help aggregate content are in direct competition with the Citizenscape product. Well I think I can answer that question now…No they aren’t…So my personal opinion is that if a council wants a “free” tool to simply listen to some social media channels then do it, use those products, in fact I think they are very good at that and I’d certainly recommend addictomatic as a really usable platform. This level (listening) is really quite a simple step, although finding and knowing your social media landscape is another matter and one which is likely to involve a social media audit of some kind.
The Citizenscape product isn’t really about listening, although it does do it, it is about a wider set of features (travelling content, interaction, participation, statistics and connecting people and networks) which in my opinion set it aside from the free tools. The challenge of course is in making sure the design, interaction and usability all come together to provide a product people will buy.
Aside from the Product Manager position it has been great learning more about what Public-i do and how they approach things. I perhaps didn’t appreciate the importance of the Public-i User Group in shaping developments, not just technical developments but also developments within the sector itself.
What I’ve learnt about myself
I need to give myself more time overall to reflect on things that are happening around me. In a work context I need to give myself time to think and make sure that what i am doing is right, fits with a vision and makes progress.
I need to be more organised, I’m trying to work out how I can manage my calendars for all the things I do without them all being loaded with the same information…It simply isn’t appropriate…I’m trying some things out, and only time will tell.
I should have more awareness of the skills and value I can bring to situations. I really need to complete the Business Model for myself to help me with this.
I really love what I’m doing but maybe I need to focus on one thing and do it really well instead of spreading myself so thinly…Sometimes I think I am actually being counter productive by only dedicating a proportion of my time.
I do actually trust those people around me to help fill the gaps, although I need to be more explicit with people in relation to the help I actually need. (I’m unaware that mind reading is a universal skill yet).
I actually set very high expectations of myself and I get frustrated when I’m not meeting them, this is an internal process but is something that I need to work through
I could work at a higher level than I am now if I simply believed in myself more.
I’m was never fond of train journeys but they do create time for thinking, especially if you have music or audio books to help you gather your thoughts.
Clarity of vision and pragmatic in delivery is a very useful tactic.
What hasn’t worked so well.
I’ve not been very good at reducing my work load at the council so the first month has a been a challenge, this is more my fault and my responsibility – it isn’t possible to try to fit 5 days work into 3 days (obviously), so I actually have to stop doing some things and hand them over to my team.
Managing my time has been a struggle…I’ve now started booking time in my calendar simply to get work done as my diary fills up very quickly now that I’m 3 days a week. However I also need to question whether my attendance at meetings is actually required and whether I would actually add value to the discussion.
Both jobs are very interesting but I don’t know if splitting my time is going to be practical long-term, this also includes some of the voluntary work I’m doing…I think i need to rethink my use of time and ensure that I maintain a healthy balance…but it is early days and I need to make adjustments which may well resolve some of these early challenges.
I don’t regret taking this opportunity, it is already proving valuable to me in a variety of ways. I need to give the whole thing more time to settle down.