Monday, February 2, 2015

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho, it's off to work I go

Back in Vancouver after a great 10-day visit to family and friends. Work is steadily picking up.

We have a co-op that started on the 5th. Co-ops are a really neat program. For the engineering majors up here, you are typically required to have a co-op before you can graduate. Unlike an internship, they usually last 8 months and you take time off from school to work full time with the company. This allows you to get more involved in long-term, real projects that the company is running. Plus, the universities help place students, forming relationships with local companies to send constant streams of co-op students to. We're currently conducting interviews to find another co-op to start in May, with the long-term goal of having a program of two co-ops at a time, on alternating schedules so there will always be overlap.

I got to present a Lunch and Learn. Before the winter holidays a few of us had started looking into using database triggers (the Wikipedia site here is actually quite good) to solve a couple of issues we were having. I implemented two triggers for a smaller ticket I was working on as a proof of concept, then presented the code to the team for approval. Tracy asked me to put together a Lunch and Learn summary of database triggers and a recommendation on a set of guidelines under which the company would use them. Lots of research and several slides later, I had a presentation! It went over really well and I got lots of great feedback from the rest of the team.

The service team is doing really well. We've been meeting our weekly velocity goals and often exceeding them. There's been discussion about the growing pains our overall team is facing. We typically have a sprint planning meeting every Tuesday where we discuss all of the tickets that have been pulled into the queue. Now that we've formally split into two teams to deal with the two queues, it doesn't make as much sense for the service team members to listen to an hour and a half of in-depth discussion about the product queue tickets, and vice versa. As a result we've split into two meetings at separate times for each team to evaluate its own tickets, then presenting a very high overview to the entire team on Tuesday. 

We've made another hire who will start later in January. We had to sit down as a team and have a serious conversation regarding our expectations of future hires. Initially the management team wanted to make two "intermediate or senior" hires. Folks had differing opinions of what qualified someone as such, which was causing friction in our interviews before the holidays. I think that the hiring process will have to change. Right now Tracy conducts upwards of six hours of interviews with a candidate before they sit for another one to two hours with the entire dev team. When Mike and I were hired, that was only eight people, including Tracy. As the size of the team increases, it will be more difficult for the entire team to agree on a candidate. A general meeting to make sure no one will want to punch anyone might still be a good idea, but some of the concerns people were walking away with were pretty minuscule. 

The management team has described all of the quarterly and annual goals that were developed during a planning trip to Seattle last December. There are some large, exciting projects ahead. 2015 will be an interesting year for one45.

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