Blog

My Topol journey

So my Topol journey had begun.

In my experience the first day is always totally daunting. It’s the one where you meet the other fellows, convince yourself that you are the least worthy to be there and wonder what you are doing there in the first place. And so it was.

I had a couple of weeks to prepare for the second workshop which would cover agility, stakeholder management and an introduction to design thinking. It didn’t start well.

Enter the ‘Miro’ whiteboard. This is a virtual tool which would ‘help’ us to share ideas, write work, and monitor progress. Each idea was allocated a different coloured virtual ‘post-it’ note and would claim a space on the group whiteboard.

Panic set in. My screen turned totally white and hundreds of different coloured ‘post-it’ notes were flying across in all directions. No amount of clicking on my bruised and battered mouse would make it stop. I screamed out for help and my beleaguered husband came running up the stairs in his dirty blue boiler suit. He was busy grouting our bathroom and thought something terrible had happened. Following a short motivational speech along the lines of, “just get on with it I’m busy,” I calmed myself down and picked up my trusty pen and paper. Worse was yet to come.

Agility and waterfall project management were next up. Once again, the hairs on the back neck were twitching at the mention of these very unfamiliar concepts. What on earth was I doing here; I’m just a nurse!

Time to reflect. Time to drink tea. Refuelled and reinvigorated I was in a better place to learn and quickly picked up that agile working is characterized by the division of tasks into small chunks with the constant reassessment and adaptation of plans. I could do that. I can do that. In fact, I think that already do! I considered the many flu clinics I’ve run, and more recently, the COVID-19 vaccination clinics and the steps I’d taken to make these successful, and yes this accurately reflected the approach I had taken. I took a deep breath and went again.

The next workshop was about impact measurement and the theory of change. This began with the ‘Miro’ whiteboard, and I, falling-out again, but this was a mere spat compared to the previous full-blown argument. Things were improving. Once again, the ‘Post-it’ notes were flying around but this time they were joined by flowcharts detailing the different stages of impact measurement. Deep breath, I can do it, I just needed to put this management speak into normal language. My translation came through as the following:

  • I need to be clear on WHY I’m taking this action (my goals)
  • I need to determine WHO can help me to achieve the goal (stakeholders, individuals?)
  • I should understand HOW they can they help me achieve the goal?
  • I need to consider WHAT I can do to encourage to encourage their involvement.

My heart rate returned to a safe range and I began to think more clearly. The ‘Miro’ whiteboard was not for me, it was supposed to help, but it wasn’t doing, so I decided to revert to old world whiteboard and pens. Uncle Amazon delivered one the next day. I began to record my goals, the activities necessary to achieve them, the people who I needed support from, and I allocated time slots in my week, that I would dedicate to this work. In no time at all I had my very own impact map, and I was on my way to becoming an agile worker! How impressive is that?