Weeknotes #17

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There’s a been an awful lot of context switching this week, so it’s difficult to tell whether it’s been effective or not. I think on the whole, it has been.

Monday was go-live day for the project I worked on at the start of my Clearleft tenure, but due to a late confirmation and a lot content updates, the actual launch was pushed till Thursday and I spent a lot of Monday evening & Tuesday morning adding copy. There were also a number of meetings in preparation for Tuesday’s work.

Six of us jumped in a large taxi and headed to Surrey for a new project kickoff. I haven’t been in a non-dev kickoff here, so it was fascinating to watch the other disciplines spring into action and begin gathering project scope. It’s also a real privilege to see the inner workings and opinions of another company, observing their strengths and pain-points, and having the opportunity to put forward solutions. We had a very dicey journey back with a slightly lost taxi driver, so other than feeling a bit travel sick, the day went without a hitch.

I was back up in Birmingham on Wednesday to work on my primary project. I was working solo for the first few weeks, but now a number of their team have joined me on the project. It means answering more questions, code reviewing more and being in more meetings, but it’s really beneficial to the project as a whole. We held and impromptu Design -> API dissection workshop. Armed with highlighters and a printed design file, we interrogated each section, confirming where the data lived and how we’ll access it. It was a helpful exercise to shed light on the assumptions within the data.

It once again proved how dangerous tacit knowledge can be in a project. When you arrive late to a project, you often feel like a bit of a prune asking all the basic questions, but it’s amazing how many shadows get enlightened when you do so. The process of onboarding is a great litmus test of the codebase complexity.

Thursday involved a lot of meetings, getting the aforementioned website live, sitting in on an interview, and squash. It was the first game in two weeks and I really didn’t eat enough food beforehand. Fainting was on the cards but thankfully avoided.

Friday morning is a combo of stand-up, playback and retro rituals. Even the most concise ceremonies take up the morning, so I didn’t get a great deal done. After that followed code reviews and a stakeholder interview. It’s the first one I’ve sat in on, and was pretty fascinating.

Clearleft ran the annual mini-conference and client social on Friday afternoon. I wasn’t able to get to the conference, but a bunch of us geeked out for a few hours, which was rather pleasant.

There was an hour between the interview and the party - prime time for coding. It was wonderful. I got two stories completed and ended the week on a real high after days of context switching, meetings and code reviews.

Photos of the week

Fields of corn in Newick. A Victoria line tube train arriving at London Euston. Early sunrise light bursting through the trees.

Posted on in Web