This is late, very very late. I am afraid the primarily self imposed workload of lightning lab is making extra-curricular activities such as this blog, very difficult to maintain.
Week 6 was a voyage of discovery with internal tensions in our MTech Group rising as we realised that our communications were breaking down. Our weekly planning meetings were not driving sufficient progress, and our morning meetings were becoming overly long without creating clarification. When we started Lightning lab we set up a Trello board to contain (and constrain) our tasks. It is now a very large board with many tasks, multicoloured labelling for task types, deadlines, embedded information and documents. Tasks are being added more quickly than we can complete them and this has led to a confusion of priorities.
By the end of week 6 we were forced to meet with Charlie and Geoff to get an outside perspective on our priorities in our last 6 weeks of Lightning Lab. As always the advice was good, and Charlie agreed to sit in our next planning meeting to help us sort out our current priorities, and see if there was a better way to manage our tasks in the future.
What we learned was that we were not alone. Lightning Lab groups will be subjected to pressures of time and resources that will challenge any group or organisational system. We have re-prioritised our tasks by working backwards. We know what we need on Demo Day. From there we work backward through our tasks to now. If a task is not on that trajectory somewhere then we put it into a list called “deferred” on our Trello board. Even then we rank that list from top to bottom in case we get extra resource or time.
As it happens, one of our Lab Techs here, Kate, has been of enormous help in doing research that we might not have otherwise got to. One of the fortunate principles of Lightning Lab Chch is that lab techs are paid in gold stars.Learn More