In practice, algorithm problems do not arise at thebeginning of a large project. Rather, they typically ariseas sub-problems when it suddenly becomes clear that theprogrammer does not know how to proceed or that thecurrent program is inadequate.Steven S. Skiena, The Algorithm Design Manual
For over the past month I have been working as a member of the UpdateGuest team as part of developing for the LibreFoodPantry community. This blog post is a retrospective for the first sprint our team had. During this first sprint our team focused on setting up the UpdateGuest service and beginning the research into the tools we want to use to implement this service.
The issues that I was assigned to work on for this first sprint mostly focused on figuring out what we needed from other teams for the UpdateGuest service to function and what information the UpdateGuest service needs to store and to provide for other services under the VisitModule.
Specifically looking at the work I did this sprint:
The first issue I worked on was determining what data fields UpdateGuest would store, this was relatively simple and we decided that our service would mostly be using the fields the RegisterGuest team was storing since our service pulls guest data from theirs.
The second issue I worked on was a quick one creating a .gitignore file for one of our projects.
The third issue I worked on was determining the endpoints UpdateGuest needed from RegisterGuest to be able to get data from their service, this was solved quickly as the RegisterGuest team posted an issue where they listed all of the endpoints their service would have and this was all we needed.
The last issue I solved was what endpoints UpdateGuest needed to create for other services to use (along with our own), this became a discussion on many things, mostly with our team and the RegisterGuest team, to coordinate the endpoints and data they needed from us and how to format the endpoints and the data we are sending back and forth, but also how our service functions in general.
I think that during this first sprint that our team did well. We successfully completed nearly all of the issues that we initially proposed to work on at the beginning of the sprint and even managed to create a couple of new ones and pull some additional issues from the backlog that were completed. Our pacing and completion of issues was mostly on track with the weighting system we used when creating the issues during sprint planning, although this might need some refining. We had good meetings in class where we all talked about what we were working on and we resolved any issues or questions that were ongoing with our work. We also used GitLab effectively to coordinate all of this work and document the different discussions and work as it was ongoing throughout the sprint.
I think that some things could be improved. I think that we could all try talking and communicating a bit more both in-class during our sprint meetings and outside of class either on issues on GitLab or on Discord. From Dr. Wurst’s suggestion I think we should establish some working policies for the rest of the semester’s sprints, especially about communication, but also when work should be done on the project. I think this is necessary so that others have time to contribute and interact on other group member’s issues and work before class meetings, so we are better prepared to discuss them in-class. I think specifically we need to define a team policy of replying to comments on GitLab or Discord when someone directly mentions an individual or the whole team asking for input that helps to solve or facilitate an issue.
Individually I think that I need to improve on my own communication skills and in helping facilitating team meetings in-class. Most importantly, I think that I need to get better at letting others talk and understanding the points they are making, especially if their opinions or solutions differ from my own, before I comment on them. Additionally, I think I need to get better at articulating my explanations of solutions and trying to not sound condescending while doing this. I also think that I could improve on my response time when directly mentioned on GitLab on issues.
Overall, I am excited to be working on a LibreFoodPantry project again and look forward to the remaining sprints as we continue developing our services this semester.
What we did as group for sprint For this sprint we as a team started our first meeting by putting in place a plan for the whole sprint, we picked the first steps of the architectural design for our API. We decided the roles for each one of us, and then divided the tasks, so … Continue reading Sprint Retrospective 1
Apprenticeship Patterns: Guidance for the Aspiring Software Craftsman by Dave Hoover and Adewale Oshineye is the book assigned to us in my Computer Science Capstone class, it seems like a rather interesting read from the first look I had at it. The book describes different problems and solutions that a lot of software developers struggle with at different times in their careers. It has a rather easygoing approach to those things and is a good read that should be done by every upcoming and experienced developer, in my opinion. I know I will read it.
I was blown away by the intro of the book, which is chapter 1, and then and chapter 2 made me read it all the way. It was hitting close to home in my professional development. It made me think about all the things I’m going through right now, how my enthusiasm for my job went down and how I do not learn new things as well as I used to. Especially the white belt part makes me read it over and over. I realized that I grew complacent in my current job status and the change that is coming soon does not make me excited about the new possibilities at all, the fact that I’m dreading learning new skills for work is rather laughable since that was the way I got to where I am today.
I can see how this book will be a very useful tool for anybody who works in software development. Just by glancing at the introductions of the other chapters I can see that it will definitely be a very good motivation and inspiration to move things along, either it be my schoolwork or professional work. Simple things like what the book describes, for example chapter 6: Construct Your Curriculum, have been put on hold for me because I thought I didn’t have to do much anymore and I was all set when it comes to my skillset.
I have a very good feeling about this book, and it purpose of inspiring people to grow as developers, it is very thought provoking and makes you think critically about yourself and the problem we all face. I will most likely read this whole book as soon as I can to increase my enthusiasm for the work I do, and knowledge I’m amassing both through school and my profession. It definitely makes me want to be better but at the same time I’m understanding better that I need to learn things slowly, learn to walk before I can run. I have grown lazy when it comes to programming and I want to change that after reading just parts of this book. I will try to read the whole book as soon I can.
The title of this blog post is also the name of the project I will be working on this semester in SC-448 together with my group The BZ PJ’s. It is a rather interesting project that will have us design and create an interface to a food pantry that will allow other to take food with them.
What is really interesting to me is the learning aspect. The learning about agile development and FOSSism, both of which will be a great practice for my future career in the Computer Science field. Especially the Agile Development practice will be something I’m looking forward to as it has become the standard of the industry and the more I and other know about it and are comfortable doing the better.
Like the title says this will be the blog for my final semester of my Computer Science Major at Worcester State University. Let’s hope it will be as fun as the rest of them. This time we will be working in groups on LibreFoodPantry.
After reviewing the various links posted on the main LibreFoodPantry website I think the most interesting item to me was the “What’s New” page. I really like the concept of this page and as someone who has been following the project for the past couple of months primarily through Discord notifications, I think it is extremely useful to have a page on the main website that highlights important changes in plain text versus a bot posting GitLab events through Discord. I am a bit surprised there isn’t more on this page yet, given the many new changes to the organization of projects I saw yesterday in the first CS-448 class. I also wonder how this page is different from the announcements channel in the Discord server.
This week is the beginning of the spring 2020 semester and the last course of the software development concentration, CS-448. I am excited to finally be working as a developer on one of the LibreFoodPantry projects and can’t wait to get started!
For my last apprenticeship pattern blog post, I felt that the pattern Sweep the Floor was appropriate given where I currently am at in my career, given that I hope to be starting in the very near future. This pattern refers to the scenario in which you’re a new apprentice on a project or a new member of a team and you’re not sure what your place is in the team, so you want to contribute and earn the team’s trust. The solution to this is to volunteer for simple, necessary tasks that no one else wants to do and to make sure to do a great job with them. Of course, you want to make sure that you don’t end up only doing menial tasks that no one else wants to do and that you’re given more challenging assignments after proving yourself “worthy”.
As I said earlier, this pattern is probably one of the most applicable to me at the moment, because once I start I can see myself in almost the exact same scenario as described in the pattern. I always figured that most junior level roles start with you being assigned simple tasks like one-liner bug fixes to help you get acquainted with the code base, but I hadn’t considered that it would be a good idea to take on tasks like literally sweeping the floor in order to build confidence as a member of the team. Of course, I don’t entirely agree with consistently taking on tasks that aren’t relevant to what you want to work towards, but there’s merit in doing menial labor when you happen upon it. As long as you make sure to let it be known that you want to be challenged and not just be comfortable standing still working as the team’s gopher.
Overall, I would say that it’s very likely that I’ll end up using this pattern in the very near future, so hopefully I remember to avoid the negative consequences of applying it. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this pattern would be useful for me anytime I happen to enter a new team, not just my first one.