Obtiva Craftsman Swap Day 5

Today turned out to be little coding and quite a bit of retrospective. I was able to pair with Nate Jackson for a little bit on the iPhone application that he’s working on.

I also tested a Webrat patch on a brand new Rails application via a cucumber test to wrap that up. Over some excellent Greek food, we had an informal retrospective. Here are a few notes from the discussion:

  1. The duration of the swap seems just about right. As Dave said, the law of diminishing returns likely kicks in after a few days or a week, and the cost of another week would likely outweigh the benefits.

  2. Kevin Taylor brought up the idea of more planning in response to my admission that I was a bit nervous Monday morning. The source of my nervousness was really due to not knowing exactly what to expect. I think that the lack of planning was actually extremely beneficial to the flow of the week. I was able to pair with many different people, and the flow between pairs was very organic and natural. Having a plan to follow probably would have changed this dynamic for the worse.

  3. The feeling that the swap was successful was unanimous. We all felt that we benefitted from my being onsite for the past week. I knew that I was learning a ton and having a great experience, but I was extremely happy to hear similar feelings vocalized by the Obtivians.

This was an absolutely fantastic experience. It gave me a chance to step away from client work for an entire week and explore new technologies, techniques and ideas, work with different people, and learn a lot.

I believe that both 8th Light and Obtiva have compared this time away from client work to spending a week at a conference. From my experience this past week, this was better than any conference I’ve attended.

Listening to speakers talk about new ideas is one thing; actually pairing with great developers and learning hands-on is in a different league.

Jim Suchy, Director of Software Services

Jim Suchy is a developer, a zymologist, and a co-organizer of the Chicago Software Craftsmanship and Software Craftsmanship McHenry County user groups.