Like many people, I have my own working patterns and behaviours. I don’t expect others to operate in the same way. For example, I might send an email or a Slack message early in the morning or late at night, but I don’t expect a response outside ‘office hours’.

Some of these behaviours are due to the pandemic and working entirely from home, some are just my personal idiosyncrasy.

  • I like to take a long lunch break — 90 minutes if I can, rarely less than an hour.
  • 5pm to 8pm is family time: picking my daughters up from nursery…

This was the week of the Big Public Sector Accessibility Deadline. New public sector websites have had to meet WCAG 2.1 AA standard and publish an accessibility statement for the past 2 years (we’ve all been doing this, right?) but now the standard applies to older sites. Sites built by people who probably didn’t prioritise accessibility for one reason or another.

Two teams I work with have been doing some solid work recently to fix accessibility problems on the NHS website.

A year of accessibility

As well as being the year of the ‘rona, 2020 has been the year of accessibility for the…

This was the week I returned to work after a 6-week spell of parental leave looking after my 2 young daughters. Irrational mood swings, endless chattering, screaming tantrums — work was just like I remembered it. Fnar fnar.

I returned fresh and ready to go again for COVID round 2. And acutely aware that most of my colleagues at NHS Digital had not enjoyed a break like I had — they’ve been in the thick of it for 6 months and counting. Just before I left in July I joked on a call that I wouldn’t mind getting coronavirus just…

11 Jan — 1 Feb 2019

As you get closer to the point of actual delivery, I find that a product manager’s role changes.

Early on in the product development cycle it’s about pulling together various strands in order to define and describe the product vision. At the mid-way point it’s about keeping the team focused on the goal — prioritising the steps that will get you there and pushing aside the distractions.

At the end of the cycle it’s about being a cheerleader for your product — reminding people what you’ve done and why you’ve done it and why you should be trusted to work…

2–10 Jan 2019

Since coming back to work on 2 Jan, I have been mostly getting my head around new things: the evidence standards framework for digital health technologies (more on this later in this post) and the NHS long-term plan (more on this next week).

Signposting to urgent care services

The very first thing I did, though, was demonstrate some new concepts to a large group of stakeholders at the 111 Online team’s show and tell. …

James Higgott

Lead product manager at NHS Digital. South London resident.

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