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Notes from the Week #33

22 Oct 2019

weeknotes feedback pairing holiday

A short one this week, because I’m knackered.

Here’s a non-exhaustive summary of what happened last week.

  • I had some really useful feedback from one of my colleagues. They highlighted the things that they enjoyed about working with me, in addition to some very thought-provoking comments about things I could work on. I sometimes struggle with keeping a “poker face” - if I’m really happy or annoyed, it’s quite obvious in my expression. One of my friends from university called it “telegraphing your feelings to the whole room”. This is something I am constantly working on and requires conscious investment of effort.

  • I visited the National Coal Mining Museum for England. I was visiting friends in Sheffield, and we went to the NCMME to visit an old colliery and do a tour of the mine. Turns out, I’m slightly more claustrophobic than I thought - not enough to be debilitating but enough to make me slightly anxious about being 400m underground. I fell back to focusing on my breathing which helped a lot.

  • I attended a pairing workshop. This was going to happen earlier in the year but had been rescheduled. I had the pleasure of pairing on Rock-Paper-Scissors with Pea, a fellow developer. I loved flexing the pairing muscle again on some katas, and deliberately practicing strong-style pairing. Rock-Paper-Scissors was a kata I’ve not done before, and I think I’ll try it a few more times to get the hang of it.

  • I reflected on my stance towards pairing/mobbing: While I’d consider myself very much an advocate of collaborative programming, pairing or mobbing, I strongly believe that it is still a tool that’s not appropriate for every situation. I shared the “Dreyfus-Squared” model of pairing from Dan North’s talk on Patterns of Effective Teams, which re-oriented my own perception of pair dynamics.

  • I had a “random coffee”. Work has a “random coffee” club on Slack. Every other week you can submit yourself to being paired with another volunteer at random. I had my first coffee meetup with John Kennard who used to be on my programme but has since moved. It was really fun! We talked shop for a bit, but it was a well-needed half-hour in the middle of what was a frenetic day full of meetings.