Monthly Roundup - February 2024

Monthly Roundup - February 2024

Happy Bonus February Day!

February went by so quickly. I know it's the shortest month of the year, but even then it felt like it just swept by. Because of that, I suspect that this will be a shorter blog post this month.

Thank you to everyone who reached out cause they enjoyed the January Roundup! It's great to hear from readers that they like seeing these types of posts, so I'll be continuing the series!

Work I've Done

  • My main focus for February was to refine and finish the Goal Setting for Managers workshop that I'll be running for a client next week. It's aimed at (new) managers and is all about how to explore, set and achieve personal development goals with your direct reports. I've previously talked about how to brainstorm goals with people, and this workshop goes a step further explaining all parts of the goal-setting journey. I've loved putting this workshop together and designing the interactive elements. It's going to be fun!
  • I've started using Butter for my workshops, and it's been great exploring what is possible in the app. It's a video meeting tool, like Google Meet or Zoom, but is all about workshops and facilitation. The most useful thing is being able to design a custom agenda with timings and activities, and embed tools like Miro boards, Google Docs, and surveys, all within the agenda. It means that as a facilitator I've got a built-in overview of what's next and what tools I need.
  • I've also been working on the follow-up workshop to the above one which is going to be about coaching skills. I've outlined and designed all the activities and learning outcomes, the next step is to create the slides and start adding the different tools to Butter.
  • I re-designed my "Become A Brilliant Speaker" Workshop series as a 2-day workshop, where attendees get to develop a new talk within the 2 days as well as get hands-on practice and feedback on their talk. It's nice to have two different versions now that teams can choose from: either as 2 full days or 8x 2-hour sessions over 2 months.
  • Next to that, I've worked with several speaker coaching clients this month, focusing on things like CFP writing, finding the right topic to talk about, and outlining a story structure.
  • Finally, I started using Notion to keep track of all my work notes, to-do lists and resources. I was previously using a combination of Notes, Things, Trello, and Google Docs/Sheets, but was constantly switching between apps and losing track of things that needed to belong together. I've now set up Notion in such a way that I've got one main To-Do/task list, but can also look at to-dos and notes for a single focus area (like Workshops, Coaching or Social Media).
Want to find out how to work with me? Or know someone who should work with me? I provide 1:1 coaching sessions and workshops. Reach out to me to do a short intro call to discuss what you're looking for.

Events I've Attended

  • I've been continuing my goal of meeting up each week with at least 2 people I know! It's been so lovely to catch up with various friends and ex-colleagues and hear what they've been up to. A highlight this month was chatting to Nigel Smith who is now doing guided cinema tours across London. If you're interested in learning more about London's cinema history, it's worth checking out!
  • I went to ProductCon at the Barbican for the first time, and it was a great conference! The talks were inspiring and fascinating, with lots of takeaways and things to mull over. I hadn't realised before going just how big of an event it was: I think over 2000 people attended, and they many more (10000?) dialling in to the livestream as well!
  • I also attended my first London CTOs Unconference, which in true unconference form had attendees write on post-it notes what they wanted to talk about and then split out into smaller discussion groups to focus on the topics you're most interested in. I went to two interesting discussions on how to scale & grow your engineering team, and how to look at and measure developer productivity. The next one is planned for the end of May, so I'm hoping I'll be able to attend again!
  • I had a brilliant afternoon last week at the Next Tech Girls Role Models Meetup! The event was to bring together women in tech who were interested in being part of their role model program and getting their thoughts on how some of their future initiatives should look like. It was awesome meeting other women in tech, reflecting on being role models and helping brainstorm the future of what they're doing.
  • Here are a couple of upcoming events I'll be at that I'm excited about:
    • Tuesday March 12th: I'll be going to the CTO Craft Bytes about GenAI models. This looks like it will be an interesting talk with some good discussions.
    • Thursday March 21st: I'll be speaking at Female.js! This sadly got postponed from February when their venue fell through last minute. But they managed to reschedule, so I'll be giving an updated version of my Reflect & Refactor talk about using personal retrospectives for reflection, setting your own goals and building new habits. If you want to come along, you can still signup!

Stories I've Explored

Stories are a huge part of how I approach talks and blog posts, so each month I'll be highlighting the fictional stories I've explored recently. Especially those that play around with some aspect of their storytelling.

  • I only read 2 books this month, since most of my time was taken up by video games (see below). I've got some serious catching up to do if I want to do my usual goal of 100 books this year!
    • The Freelance Bible: Great book for anyone who is interested in going freelance. It's full of useful advice, tips and tricks, and things to think about.
    • Voyage of the Damned: I love fantasy and I love murder mysteries, so seeing these two combined was sure to get my interest. While I thought some of the story was predictable, I loved the unique take on magical abilities and world building.
  • I finished both Mass Effect 1 and 2 (Legendary Edition), cause pretty much most of my free evening time has been going to this. It's been so much fun to revisit these games though, since it's over 10 years ago that I last played them. The story-telling is still what draws me back to these games: exploring the different background stories of the different characters and alien races, as well as having your decisions have actual repercussions on the game.
  • I was at the Barbican twice this month: once for ProductCon (see above), and then also for My Neighbour Totoro! I initially wasn't super convinced I needed to go see this play. I mean, I loved the movie it's based on, but does that really mean we need a stage adaption as well? It's so wonderfully put together though, and the puppets, live music and stage magic all create a properly magical experience. If you enjoyed the movie, chances are you're going to love this adaption!
  • We're halfway through playing Pandemic Legacy Season 0 and it's getting trickier! I love the mechanics that they've introduced to this version. We played Season 1 and 2 before the pandemic, so it's nice to get back to playing the prequel now. If you don't know what a legacy boardgame is: it's a boardgame, where over the course of the sessions that you play the game, the gameplay, characters and rules changes. With Pandemic Legacy, the game takes place over a span of a year, with each session being a different month that you play. As the year goes by, new parts of the story are revealed, changing the game, your objectives and your characters. I love that storytelling aspect of Pandemic Legacy; rather than it just being another boardgame, you want to come back to it each session to find out what's happening next!
  • It's the Oscars next month, so I'm slowly making my way through as much of the nominated movies as I can. Highlights were:
    • Anatomy of a Fall: This was one of those Oscar movies that I likely wouldn't have watched if it hadn't been nominated. It's about a woman on trial for her husband's suspicious death, falling out of a window. I loved the tension of the court room and how you're constantly reflecting on whether or not she's guilty.
    • Dune: The sequel is out this week, so I was due a rewatch of the first one. This was the first movie I saw in a move theatre again after all the pandemic lockdowns. It such an epic and gorgeous piece of cinema.
  • I finally got around to watching season 3 of For All Mankind. While the show started as a slightly-alternate-history-to-ours, it's now full-on gone into a more fantastical sci-fi reality, but I'm totally here for space bases on Mars and capturing asteroids. It's also been nice watching this in parallel to playing Mass Effect (especially since mining iridium is a key activity in both!).
  • I binge watched the new live-action series of Avatar: The Last Airbender. I love how spot on the casting for this was, and how truthful they've stayed to the original story. They have shuffled the order of some parts of the story around and pulled some of the additional characters from later series into earlier episodes, but I can understand the reasons behind it. I'm hoping we get a second and third series, but knowing Netflix, who knows 🤷

And that's a wrap for February!

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Want to find out how to work with me? Or know someone who should work with me? I provide 1:1 coaching sessions and workshops. Reach out to me to do a short intro call to discuss what you're looking for.