I can’t quite believe I’m writing this but I’ve just celebrated my one year anniversary as Creative Director for BBC Weather. The time has absolutely flown.
To mark the occasion, I wanted to conduct a bit of a retrospective on the year gone by to figure out where all that time actually went!
So, what have you done all year!?
How have I actually spent my time as Creative Director? Most of the time, it feels like the days, weeks, months absolutely whizz past, and although I know we are delivering things, I was curious to figure out exactly where my time goes.
Using the Julie Zhuo method, I analysed my work calendar and came to these approximate percentages:
Supporting the design team – 30%
Includes activities like: One to one’s, recruitment, line management, design reviews and team meetings.
This is the biggest chunk of my time and the most structured part of my calendar – this is the stuff where recurring invites help me keep a good drumbeat of this stuff rolling.
I’ve also included recruitment in here, which can take up a really hefty part of the time (reviewing CV’s and portfolios, conducting interviews, assessing the interview afterwards). But this time goes in waves depending on if I am recruiting or not – if I’m recruiting, this percentage of time in that period is likely to increase quite a bit.
Working with stakeholders – 20%
This is the time I spend working with all the various stakeholders on each project.
This can involve presentations, workshops, meetings and reviews (as well as the preparation time for each of these!), with lots of time working towards getting decisions made, fogs being made clearer, compromises achieved. I also spend more time than I would like buried in Keynote presentations, or in very very long meetings.. Something for me to work on for next year is managing the “long meeting” time better.
Sprint process – 20%
Includes activities like: user research, workshops, working with our roster design agencies, idea generation + refinement, stand-ups, 3 amigo sessions, retrospectives etc.
A lot of the work we do is either part of the design sprint process or the development sprint process. Although I’m not as hands-on in this stuff as the other members of my team, I’m still involved at critical points, particularly at kick-offs and decision points. I also try to be involved as I can during design research.
Working with the wider BBC UX+Design team – 15%
Includes activities like: team away days, Creative Leadership meetings, task forces and working groups.
Particularly at the BBC, where we have lots of people working in different teams, it is vital that we make sure we keep design consistency across BBC properties, that we know what is happening in other teams and also that we are working in the most efficient manner. There are lots of structures in place to help us achieve this – meetings and working groups that allow us to share and collaborate across the wider design team.
Unstructured time – 10%
This is the time in my calendar which I didn’t have booked out for something. This is the time I generally take to check emails, do admin tasks and think more about bigger picture stuff.
This also ends up doubling up as “buffer zone” time when meetings get rearranged..
It’s also worth saying that although this is time I have to check emails and do business admin, I didn’t count all time outside the working day which I totally do more of this in.. A challenge for me next year is to think about how I can do this less, or at least more efficiently (has anyone cracked that one!?)
All about me – 5%
Includes things like: training, my development catch ups with my line manager, and travel between BBC offices.
What have you delivered this year?
**Sounds the conspicious absence klaxon!**
I’m gutted that I can’t share more particulars yet of what my team have spent the last year working on. Watch this space in 2017.
What have you learned so far?
- A real highlight of my past year has to be all the amazing design research we get to do at the BBC. I’ve been up and down the country talking to people everywhere about the nation’s favourite conversation, Weather, and learning so much about how Weather is such an important part of our lives. I still should not be your go-to person to ask the Weather forecast, but I have learned loads about how BBC Weather provides a vital service for literally everyone in some shape or form.
- Learning about how such an enormous organisation such as the BBC works and how to get things done in that environment has been a real eye-opener. Thinking about how far my skills like stakeholder management and creative facilitation have come shows how much I use them on a daily basis. I’ve started documenting some of the tools I use at the Beeb for stakeholders here.
- I’m very fortunate to be but one Creative Director at the BBC – each BBC property (Weather, News, Sport, iPlayer etc) has their own Creative Director at the helm. It has been absolutely fantastic to learn from, be inspired and provoked by, such a stellar cast of characters. Having other people as a support has been invaluable – in the past I’ve tended to try and be as ISLAND as possible, and I don’t know if its the thought of Brexit this year or what, but I’ve firmly learned the value of not being an island in this role.
- Coming from more of a UX background, its been absolutely fascinating and exciting to be able to explore more visual design in this role. It’s been a sharp learning curve in some areas but so worth it. I think the more skills and arrows to your bow you can gather throughout your career, the better served you really are.
- Having worked agency-side as a freelancer, it has been super interesting to be *the client* for a change! I’ve worked with a number of agencies at the Beeb now and it’s given me a fresh and different perspective on design agencies to see how they all work in different ways and what can work well and not so well.
- And finally, I think the biggest thing for me that I’ve learned in this role is self-belief and not to succumb to imposter syndrome. It is really easy when you get into a new role to think that you are not worthy, that you can’t do it, that you are going to fail. I think back to that feeling now, a year on, and I can’t believe the journey that I’ve been on. Positive thinking and reinforcement, support from others, determination and never stopping learning has really helped me through.
A bit of inner Beyonce also does not hurt! Roll on next year 🙂