This was what I would call a good week, despite having severe disagreements with one of my wisdom teeth about what constitutes “reasonable levels of pain” - I really feel like I’ve started mucking in and
doing damage contributing to the team.
In particular, I rediscovered my love for pairing on non-infrastructure code which eluded me during the last year, mostly due to extra responsibilities.
But first, some thinkings.
The privilege of being open
Thus far, I have been relatively isolated from consequences of anything I’ve written, although on reflection this is possibly due to my weeknotes tending to have a either a positive spin or when it is negative, that negativity is about myself or my experiences like a period of exacerbated mental health issues.
Would this be the same if I published something more negative or critical? Quite possibly not. In general I won’t be able to write about everything, but I have a responsibility to not abuse the section of this space that I’m lucky to have.
It leads me to wonder about whether my weeknotes are as authentic as I want them to be, or whether I’m subconsciously treating it like an instagram-but-in-text and only showing my highlight reel. Some more reflection needed here, I think.
She also made a very astute observation about underrepresented groups in the weeknotes community and while I agree, I do not think I possess the necessary toolset (yet) to improve this, something I’ll be aiming to correct.
UCL’s Doing Democracy Better report
I really enjoyed the format of the evening - a presentation of the report, followed by small-table discussions where the authors would float around and join different chats through the evening.
There’s enough reckons in my head to warrant a future dedicated post, but I met some great people with interesting opinions on how our democratic machinery behaves now vs how it should behave.
Getting stuck in
I spent a decent part of the latter half of the week pairing with Benjamin, a fellow developer on my team. I’d spiked out the beginning of a change set for a series of stories on Wednesday, mostly to get a feel for the codebase.
I cannot over-emphasise the discoverability that a decent development environment (IntelliJ is bae) can provide. As a new-comer to this particular codebase I feel my understanding of where everything fits together is amplified by the tooling.
And can I just highlight how much pairing is one of my favourite things? It has its downsides (more tiring, not good for everything/everyone), but I love combining the coding with the social.
Until the beginning of this week, I had been feeling a bit anxious about not being an effective team member, which was partially alleviated when I did an initial spike on my first story.
I got my first pull-request merged this week, in partnership with Benjamin, and a lot of that anxiety just … melted away.
Sarah from my team at Unruly used to talk about how formative “first contact” events are, like:
- First meeting
- First conflict
- First triumph
- First failure
The way these first events are handled, by the person and the team, set the tone for all future events of that kind.
I feel #grateful that my first triumph was such a satisfying one and I was able to do it in my “happy place” of ping-pong TDD in Java.
Things that I learned
- Don’t trust your build tools - as a rule, I always run clean before I try to do anything with a build tool like Maven because I fundamentally do not trust the tooling to discover when I’ve made a change. I’d hoped this would be different in Gradle. How WroNG i WaS
- Improving my
gitskillz - I’m used to committing straight to trunk, so I’m fairly confident in my single-branch git commands but less so with my “moving things around between branches” ones. I learned a fair bit from Benjamin this week when we shuffled some hunks around between branches and pull requests.
- The Slack app is actually really good for remote pairing: I did my first proper work-from-home day on Friday! We were finishing off some of the work we’d started on Thursday, and I was genuinely shocked that Slack provided screen-sharing but also control-sharing. Switching between my laptop and my pairing-partner’s to allow us to “drive” was close to seamless too.
- I need to invest in my home-desk setup: I moved home at the beginning of the year and haven’t got my external monitor/desk setup done yet, need to get a move on with this.
(Some of) what I’m listening to
I’m on a bit of a prog-rock kick this week
- Fylingdale Flyer - Jethro Tull: I love a nice bit of prog-rock - the whole A album holds a lot of fond memories for me and reminds me of my friends back home.
- F.E.A.R (Fuck Everyone and Run) - Marillion: This whole album speaks a lot to the political zeitgeist, El Dorado in particular, and how we deal with large changes.
- Because the Internet - Childish Gambino: This came up in one of my Spotify daily mixes, I’ve been looping 3005 in particular.