I have had more fun this week than I have had in any other week. Team spirit was high throughout and I think this made our work better. Feeling like you have a sense of ownership over what you are doing and having fun while you are doing it makes the experience of completing a project more rewarding, and I feel more proud of what we have produced than other pieces of project work which might have been technically more sophisticated. One of my jobs in the last two days has been to write a testing library, which I had the pleasure of naming after myself. Or, at least, after spending too long in front of an anagram generator, it was a version of myself called ‘InSepiaParchment’. Given that our product was ‘Noughty News’, the command to run our node server was naturally ‘beNoughty’.
When it came to planning, we frequently found ourselves flying blind. Last week we made Makersbnb using techniques we were all accustomed to, and this made planning a straightforward process, identifying what needed to be done, who could do it, and how long it would take to achieve. This week, a large part of the project involved concepts we were still learning about, such as writing a testing library, manipulating DOM objects, and creating our own JSON file. We would start by splitting topics of research between us based on who was interested in what, after which we would each cobble together an approximation of our respective puzzle pieces and explain them to the rest of the group. This exercise gave me a newfound appreciation for standups, retros and planning sessions. They have frequently felt gratuitous to me in the past, however when steering a project between five people, all of whom know very little about what lies ahead, stand-ups were a fantastic way to combine our knowledge, and construct the next steps we would take. Without good communication, we would not have been able to build the bridge while we walked on it.
One person mentioned in the group retro at the end of the week that they have noticed how accustomed we have become to pairing; so much so that any other method of programming feels odd. I have noticed this too, especially after working as a group of five. Programming in a three leaves an awkward distribution of the ‘navigator’ role between two people, and programming individually feels almost like I am breaking some kind of sacred rule. At one point, we inadvertently ended up ‘mob programming’, a charming phrase introduced to us by Roi, where Nick coded, and four of us bickered behind him about what he should do next. Unsurprisingly, this was not the most productive point in the week. If we were to do this again, we would both plan it in advance, and ensure to follow the principle where the team agrees collectively on what the driver does before the driver writes the code. More teamwork lies ahead for us, as does more methods of experimenting with collaborative programming techniques.