Weeknote 6

A more practical week this time! One when nothing was finished, but quite a few things have been started. 

Contents: 

The 12in23 is spreading!

Outside work, I continue on my #12in23 challenge – completing the first two languages. But that aside, it was great to see that quite a few colleagues joined in on the fun (and learning) after talking to them about it the week before. We are now sharing profiles on Exercism.org and learning together. Where will this lead?

Practising mob programming

Talking about learning, on Friday, I led a small workshop in mob programming with three data engineers using cyber-dojo.org. It went well, and I think we all learnt something. More importantly, we might have addressed some negative feedback from the last half a year of pairing in our data engineering. Drivers were reporting how stressful driving in a pairing session can be. But focusing on the need to share an idea before it is encoded, the fact that it is the navigator who comes up with ideas and the driver just codes it in, solved that problem, I think. 

It was the first such workshop I ran in the department, and it won’t be the last. It’s a natural continuation of discussions about software engineering with my coding colleagues who are not in software engineering professions. 

Applying Team Topologies

But that’s not the limit of last week’s experiments. After some convincing and some negotiating, we have started a very small-scale experiment in Team Topologies in Civil Service applications. We have set up a very small enabling team which will work to support three stream-aligned service and delivery teams.

The team is forming very fast, and I’m really looking forward to what we can do. But the fact that we were able to start is already exciting. Despite all the Government Digital Services talk about modern ways of working in Digital Data and Technology in Civil Service over the last decade, the governance structures don’t support anything but a service team well. 

So we are dipping our toes into something new, and I really want to see where it takes us over the next few months. 

Explaining programming

Talking about things new. I have spent some time in my career explaining software engineering to others. How to explain it to somebody brand new to the subject so they understand? It is not easy. It requires patience and tactfulness. The more you know, the harder it gets, as there are layers upon layers of abstractions and “assumed” understanding you have that a beginner has not. 

I’m starting a new personal challenge next week. My wife, who hasn’t written a line of code before, is thinking of changing her career. What to? That’s to be decided! But she wants to give programming a go to see if that digital thing I’ve been doing for years is something she would enjoy. 

So, here I am at a professional and personal challenge for 2023. How do you explain programming and maintain a personal relationship with somebody new to programming? Wish me luck! And any suggestions will be very much appreciated! 

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