Reflections on four years in the Civil Service

by @edent | # # | 1 comment | Read ~231 times.
Terence Eden standing outside Number 10 Downing Street.

Four years ago today, I turned up in Holborn for my first day at GDS – Government Digital Service. I’ve now experienced two Prime Ministers (Primes Minister?), two departments, and one pandemic. So I thought I’d take a look back at some highlights and lowlights. I’ve worked for half-a-dozen brilliant managers, helped create a new…

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All the jobs I failed to get

by @edent | # # # # # | 30 comments | Read ~18,121 times.
Terence Eden standing outside Number 10 Downing Street.

A few years ago, Johannes Haushofer published a CV of failures. In it, he lists all the grants he wasn’t awarded, positions he didn’t get, papers rejected. I think that people need to be more open about failure. None of us are perfect – despite what our social media presence says – and all of…

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Where Everybody Knows Your Name (and other metadata)

by @edent | # # # # | 4 comments | Read ~190 times.
A group of people in a video call waving at their cameras. Each has a name under their video.

I’ve made no secret of rather enjoying this enforced period of remote work. Sure, it has had its challenges – but there have been so many fringe benefits. Less commuting! No crappy-canteen lunches! More time to sleep in! And, today, I was reminded of another benefit. I am terrible at remembering names. Many a time…

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All Good Things

by @edent | # # # # | 14 comments | Read ~1,155 times.
Paul Mcgann as Doctor Who.

Well, that was a whirlwind! After 18-months at NHSX, my 6-month temporary secondment has reached its end. It’s always hard when a job finishes. The secondment was twice extended, and that let me carry on defining open technology standards for the NHS. Now it is over and I’m a bit sad. The pandemic seems to…

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New T-Shirt Idea

by @edent | # # | 1 comment | Read ~182 times.
A t-shirt which says Dunning and Kruger and Gell and Mann.

Some days, I want everyone on the Internet to wear this t-shirt: Designed using Guillaume Chabot’s tool after the original 2K by Gingham – which has been parodied many times. Explaining the joke The Dunning–Kruger effect is – simply put – when people of low ability are over-confident in their ability. The Gell-Mann Amnesia effect…

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A holiday is a great way to prevent a messiah complex

by @edent | # # | 3 comments | Read ~181 times.

Last Monday was a Bank Holiday in the UK. The Tuesday was a “Privilege Day” – a day off for Civil Servants for the Queen’s birthday. Thursday was my wife’s birthday – which I had booked off ages ago. So I decided to cash in my TOIL and take Wednesday and Friday as holidays as…

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You’ve got to show up to make a difference

by @edent | # | 2 comments | Read ~127 times.

Eleven years ago, the BBC announced plans to encrypt all of its free-to-air digital TV channels. The technology world was aghast! I saw thousands of Tweets from hundreds of people, angry blog posts, mailing lists erupting with fury. There may even have been a petition. The regulator, Ofcom, announced an enquiry and solicited for feedback.…

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When part of your job is *not* caring

by @edent | # # # | 7 comments | Read ~766 times.

Many years ago, when I worked at Vodafone, we had a senior network engineer give us a talk about keeping the network stable in the hours after the 7/7 bombings. He was completely dispassionate. He spoke about analysing network traffic, predicting demand spikes, routing around damage, physically securing sites, supporting the emergency services – and…

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Week Notes – COVID19

by @edent | # # # # | 2 comments | Read ~128 times.
Teamwork makes the dream work. A shoal of fish have formed into the shape of a large shark.

What started as a fairly ordinary week, quickly transformed into something extraordinary. Large swathes of NHSX were suddenly told to de-prioritise their day-to-day work and focus on COVID19 response. I probably can’t talk specifically on what I’ve been working on, but it has been one of the most intense working weeks of my life. As…

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Why I make my work calendar public

by @edent | # # # | 11 comments | Read ~398 times.
A weekly calendar showing lots of overlapping meetings.

If you’d like to set up a meeting or call with me, chances are, I’ve sent you a link to my calendar. It’s a public website where you can see when I’m available. One important note, before we go any further, this public calendar only shows my free/busy status. It doesn’t show the names of…

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