International Craftsman Swap Day 2

Before I get into some of the details of day #2 at eLabs, let me dispell a few myths about Sweden that my American readers may still believe.

Swedes buy all their furniture at IKEA

CJ on his way to work

This is of course a silly idea, caused by the prominence of the IKEA brand in the United States. In fact IKEA accounts for a mere 83% of the furniture market here in Sweden, with the rest of the furniture being bought at independent specialty stores such as Wal-Mart.

Ski jumping is the primary form of transportation

Swedes have a wide variety of commuting options available to them. By far the most popular is to bike to work at speeds of upwards of 300 miles an hour, using the bodies of pedestrians to slow your bike down when you arrive at your office.

The speed is necessary to outrun the second most popular form of transportation, the electric trams. The trams take a convenient route to your office, assuming they don’t fly off the tracks. Which they do, often.

Ski jumping is naturally third, keeping the commuter safely above the trams and bikes, until they crash down on the brick sidewalks. Finally I believe two gentleman own cars, but they rarely drive them because they are afraid.

The Swedish Chef is President

Don’t be an idiot. Sweden has a Prime Minister, not a President.

With that out of the way, we can properly concentrate on my time at eLabs. I promised yesterday I’d document stand-ups the eLabs way, and I’m glad I did because today I got to see first-hand day 2. Standups at eLabs go something like this—everybody stands up from all projects.

There’s about 8 employees, so it’s sizeable but not gigantic. On Mondays everybody gives an update for the project they are on.

The rest of the week everybody just pipes up if they have a problem. What I find interesting is there is no customer involvement—these stand ups are for team members to team members—and the multiple project nature of the meetings doesn’t seem to slow them down at all.

From there they retire to pairing stations and it’s a lot quieter than the 8th Light office—especially since I’m not at the 8th Light office making noise. They have offices where the pairs work, which I find both good and bad.

At 8th Light on Fridays we have frequent problems where one pair is on a conference call and another is animatedly discussing a problem, so that would be helpful, on the other hand there’s definitely an energy to everybody in the same room that isn’t there when offices have doors.

It’s an interesting hybrid approach, and I could get used to it.

On a personal level I wasn’t 100% today. I woke up at 4:45, apparently Jet Lagged, and learned that Gothenburg doesn’t have early morning coffee shops for iPhone hacking. After walking around the rather cold town for over an hour I finally found one at 7:30, and thought I was fine.

At two I crashed, and was completely losing concentration, practically falling asleep in my chair.

Fortunately they have ping pong and after a couple quick games I was back to my normal self, and really wrote some code.

I really want to get better at JQuery and ScrewUnit, because right now I’m still coding too much Javascript by luck.

Afterwards Jonas was kind enough to join me for dinner and we had a lively conversation about mocks and when (or when to not) use them, as well as the way eLabs does their Rails testing.

I’m too tired to properly write my thoughts now, but it’s definitely gonna be a blog post tomorrow. It was a very nice dinner and I’m glad Jonas joined me. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to dodge the death trams on my way back to Andres Apartment.

Eric Smith, Software Craftsman

Eric Smith has been programming since he started a web design company in college.