Over halfway through February and I’m not quite sure how we got here! Much more time on a client site and the associated travel and time away from home has probably been a factor. Time for a double edition of week notes then…

I’ve spent some time with colleagues devising and kicking off a series of refresher training sessions. The aim is to help all levels of engineers talk the same language and follow a few common fundamental principles once they join a client delivery together. Not everyone has had the privilege in past jobs to work well in pairs or follow a test driven development approach whether they are entry level or senior. Learning together creates bonds that help people thrive within and across deliveries. After only one out the five sessions delivered, I’m humbled to find that many more engineers agree with me and want to take part than expected. There’s a waiting list and expectations of a re-run and additional new sessions in the future. Not bad for a toe-in-the-water experiment! I would not have been able to spin this up so easily alongside delivery commitments without access to the amazing collection of learning hours made available by Emily Bache and the other coaches involved in Samman Technical Coaching. Finding my own confidence to step up and address these issues has also been a big benefit of working with Emily and Clare Sudbery late last year.

This is just one of the parallel streams going on in my life and career just now and keeping them straight, with the right time invested, is another trick I’m learning to get better at. Alongside the training experiment, engineering on a delivery team, leading and coordinating an out of hours support team, hiring, and supporting direct reports, as well as photography, writing and home related projects: this week being more actively on site is putting me in touch with more people and work streams, ongoing and future. It’s tough but invigorating.

The downside is I’m talking to so many individuals about so many more things, I’m having to remember more actively what I have told and to whom. There’s the obvious things I shouldn’t say to some folks until the timing is right or news is ready, and there’s the usual confidential conversations, those are easy; it’s more discussing long weekend plans with my friend and then forgetting I haven’t told my husband!

Better notes are really helping with this, avoiding back to back meetings so I can take the space to brain dump before context switching. Adding known dates into a shared diary also saves my bacon!

One of the key privileges of my situation as an experienced senior is getting to know, and working with some of our academy graduates and associate developers. They are so interesting in their variety: backgrounds, starting points, previous careers and experiences, expectations and aspirations. Some have a very clear idea about the tech they want to be involved in, others are curious to dive in anywhere and see where it takes them. It reminds me that I am part of a wider diverse world, that I am not best placed to help everyone but there are some I can help; I am reassured that I work with some awesome colleagues I trust to support those they can help too.

After almost three years in my current role, it’s a great time to look towards the future with renewed positivity. 

Quote of the week (Double edition)

In relation to a humble colleague of mine, walking into a new client context:

“You don’t walk in as if you own the place, you just walk in comfortable: as if you’ve been here before and know where everything is”

In relation to the journey of a curious mind into a fascinating research area:

“So what you’re saying is, you went down a rabbit hole and then found it had broken through into a badger set? Awesome!”