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July 16, 2018

  • Week 3 begins

    Team Barcelona Duo (Exercism) [2018] — at July 16, 2018 16:58 UTC

    Week three begins

    We were both a bit tired today after our trip to Brighton, but we did manage to learn quite a bit of important things today.

    We started the day with our daily standup and briefed our coaches on what we managed to accomplish in Brighton. While we weren't able to help with the launch, we did manage to speak with Nicole, Katrina, and Jeremy during our stay and we did come back with a better idea of what our contribution will be. Since all of our coaches could not attend our standup this morning, we drafted a document that outlined what we will be working on in the next couple of weeks.

    We needed to catch up with some admin work for RGSoC and spent some time fixing a few issues with our blog post for the main RGSoC site and we also had our first call with Sophia our supervisor. We spent some time brainstorming what analysis we wanted to do so that we could ask for the data that we needed from the Exercism team.

    In the afternoon we had a quick meeting with our coach Maikha to discuss our proposal and discussed how a retrospective could improve our work processes. We also met with our coach David and discussed additional ways to improve the experience for mentors on the exercism site. We also brainstormed further what data we needed in order to start our analysis.

    We ended the day by checking in with the Exercism team to see how we could access the data we need. Hopefully, we will receive the data in the next couple of days and we can start the analysis.

    Noncoding related, but still fun:
    We sometimes feel that we are progressing very slowly. Our coaches do remind us that we know so much more than we did two weeks ago. Eventually, things will start to click. Brighton was such a great bonding experience. We feel very bonded with our coaches in Barcelona because we have been working very closely with them. The trip to Brighton helped us bond with the Exercism team and with one another. We now feel that as a team, we are working towards a common goal, and we know that no matter what, we will help each other grow. The trip was great for this.

July 13, 2018

  • Day 10

    Team Barcelona Duo (Exercism) [2018] — at July 13, 2018 19:20 UTC

    Final Thoughts on Brighton

    Today our mentors launched the beta version of the new exercism website! It was a tough three days as they worked on eliminating bugs and getting all the different parts working together. We managed to get some time with them and work out all of the details of what is expected of us in the next few months. We have a plan and now we can work on implementing it.

    The most important thing to come from the last four days is the importance of communication, trust and patience. We had many discussions to bring us up -to-date on the research they had done and the work that still needed to be done to improve the mentor training tool that we are going to work on this summer. We have come up with a plan that will enable us to use our existing skills as well as learn more about programming, and project management.


    • Working on understanding the code base
    • Establishing communication channels
    • Defining our goals and expectations for the summer with the team
    • Celebrating the launch of the beta version of exercism

July 12, 2018

  • Day 9

    Team Barcelona Duo (Exercism) [2018] — at July 12, 2018 22:11 UTC

    And the learning continues

    We spent the day watching the intense work that goes into launching a product as the beta of the new version of launches shortly. We had a chance to bond over dinner and get to know each other on a personal level, which is important as we will be working remotely.

    * Realizing that getting into a new code base is a skill that one has to learn.
    * Hearing alternative perspectives to agile methods.
    * Getting encouraging words of advice from our coaches David and Emily (They haven't forgotten us)
    * Remembering git add remote

    Questions that emerged from our time in Brighton
    * Will we ever master pull/add/commit/fetch/merge?

July 11, 2018

  • Day 8

    Team Barcelona Duo (Exercism) [2018] — at July 11, 2018 16:40 UTC

    Meeting the mentors

    Today we flew into Brighton, England for a face-to-face meeting our mentor and a few other members of the Exercism team. As we described before, we had prepared an inception plan with our coaches, the objective being that we would come away with a clearer picture of what our role and responsibilities would be for the next three months. Our process is complicated by the crunch that they are involved in as they are on the cusp of launching the beta version of the platform.

    We got our first chance to practice some of the of the techniques we are learning. It is an interesting experience. So far we have heard many ideas that are quite interesting on a conceptual level, but rather vague on an operational level -- the "how will I know it when I see it?" question that we faced back in the days when were were sociological researchers. But it is still early. While we have more questions than answers at this point we know we will have many conversations ahead of us in the next two days.

    Our daily activities
    * Meeting with the team to gain a better understanding of their pain points.
    * Responding to mentor introductions on the Exercism Mentor Slack channel.
    * Not relevant, but very important, there are vegan donuts in Brighton.

July 10, 2018

  • Day 7

    Team Barcelona Duo (Exercism) [2018] — at July 10, 2018 21:20 UTC

    The importance of soft skills

    When we started this journey to becoming software developers we had a simple idea: we would talk to our mentor, develop requirements, learn some new technologies, and build something, Our skills would be measured with lines of code and GitHub commits. Oh how naive we were. We are learning that it is so much more.

    In RGSoC a distinction is made between mentors and coaches and we are so fortunate to have both embodied in our coaches. They gently guide us on our path to becoming developers, modelling a form of communication, training and encouragement. Everyday they patiently explain concepts and gently guide us in Agile methods. Today, for example Maihka helped refine our inception plan and helped us see the how our assumptions about what the project needed was influencing our approach.

    Our favorite non-tech things we learned today:
    * Communication is paramount, with the stakeholders and between team members
    * Listening is more important than implementing our "great" idea.

    Our favorite technical knowledge we learned:
    * Our coach David Ricordel, a certified Kubernetics Administrator, gave us a surprise lesson in Dockers!
    * The bash command history will show the entire history of commands and CMD or CTRL r will allow us to reverse search

    Tomorrow we are going to Brighton, England to meet with our mentors and the rest of the Exercism team. We are so excited and will let you know how our inception goes.

July 09, 2018

  • Day 6

    Team Barcelona Duo (Exercism) [2018] — at July 9, 2018 20:15 UTC

    Advances and a minor setback

    As we continue on our journey we are both amazed at what we have learned so far and a bit intimidated by how much there is to learn. If you recall from last week, we spent a great deal of time working on setting up our development environments as well as learning the finer points of git and GitHub, and agile development, essentials for working on large open source project. Today we spent some time going over what we learned and tried to finish up one of the issues assigned to us. We had a minor setback. One of the issues be thought we had completed turned out to require more steps that were not clear from the description written on GitHub. Tomorrow we will try to to solve the new problem and finally close the issue. Wish us luck!

    Since we will be meeting our mentors face-to-face later this week in Brighton, England, today our focus was to prepare for those meetings. Our coaches Emilly and Jorge gave us a crash course in project inception, a method of clarifying the scope, prioritizing, concrete and actionable actions. We are looking forward to applying these methods .

    Perhaps the best thing to come out of today was a chat we had on our break. As we mentioned earlier we are two of the organizers in the Barcelona chapter of codebar,io, an NGO that provides free coding workshops to groups underrepresented in tech. On our break we talked about some of our upcoming plans for the organization. Midway through the conversation we realized that we were already applying some of the things we have learned so far. In particular we talked about a need for a retrospective and the value of project owners. It's amazing that just after one week how much our perspective has shifted .

July 06, 2018

  • Day 5

    Team Barcelona Duo (Exercism) [2018] — at July 6, 2018 18:28 UTC

    The end of the first week

    • The day started off with our daily stand up. We reviewed the tasks that we finished yesterday, identified pending tasks that we need help with in order to resolve, and we prioritized items from the backlog.
    • Lori was able to install the project's version of ruby in a virtual environment and in the process learned more bash commands in Ubuntu environments. She managed to install the prototype codebase and we had a big celebration!
    • We researched what we need to do to complete the "Check all Prism settings" item by reading through all of the history on the issue and we looked for clues on how we might solve this item by looking at a pull request submitted by the user tushartyagi. We checked with Emily our coach to make sure that we understood the task, and should have it sorted by next week.
    • We had a quick meeting with Nacho who gave us some tips on how we might automate the adding mentor's process and learned more about rake files.
    • We started preparing the material we need for the blog post we need to submit on Monday.

    Overall the week was great. It is hard to believe how quickly it passed. We learned alot this week, met some fantastic people and bonded with our coaches. Next week we will be going to Brighton to meet the Exercism team. We can't wait!

July 05, 2018

  • Day 4

    Team Barcelona Duo (Exercism) [2018] — at July 5, 2018 17:12 UTC

    Learning more everyday

    • We started the day with our daily standup. It was the first stand up attended by our internal and external coaches. During the standup, we had a small lesson on how to facilitate a standup and some of the important points that need to be covered.

    • After the standup, we read about rebasing and figured out what we need to do in order to close up the "merge mentor bios" item.

    • We also had a great short meeting with our coach Javier who helped us size the next issue of "checking the prism settings". He gave us a very useful tutorial on navigating and searching on GitHub and helped us figure out a strategy to solve this problem. We will spend the next day searching through the codebase for hints.

    • We tried to download the prototype codebase on our machines and came very close to installing it. There are some issues with npm that need to solve before some of the dependencies that are required are installed. We parked this issue for a while in order to research the problem.

    • We also forked the summer-of-code repo and tried to install Jekyll in order to upload our blog. We ran into some problems with the version of Ruby that we had installed. We didn't makage to install Jekyll, but did learn about Ruby environments.

    • In the afternoon we had a lesson on rebasing with our coach David that helped us further understand the issue with the conflict on the mentor's bios. The lesson was very fun and included a white board session, poetry, and lots of post its.

    • We had an impromptu invitation by our coach Klaus to present ourselves to the ThoughtWorks team. :)

    • Finally we ended the day catching up with Jorge another one of our coaches. We managed to solve the issue we had earlier with an old version of npm, and managed to install the exercism prototype codebase on our local machines. We exchanged a very enthusiastic high five to celebrate.

    Our favorite learnings for the day:

    • How to navigate through a large repo on GitHub is a key learning that will help us throughout our career.

    • Non coding related but still important, the generosity of our coaches and our hosting company ThoughtWorks is beyond anything we expected. We were just happy with a workspace, but ended up with access to training that is invaluable.

July 04, 2018

  • Day 3

    Team Barcelona Duo (Exercism) [2018] — at July 4, 2018 18:34 UTC

    The Importance of Grooming

    This week we are dividing our time between administrative tasks (learning agile methods) and working on the project. They are related. Getting our board setup and establishing our work routines will make this summer more productive, but it's not easy. Perhaps the most important thing we learned today was "grooming the backlog". It seems simple: look at the backlog and reassessing our priorities based on new knowledge. David, one of our external coaches, came in and walked us through our board to help us reassess our board, break it down into a clearer more functional tasks that will help us immensely in the coming weeks.

    We left working yesterday feeling the pride of having made some commits to the exercism GitHub account. We had actually contributed to an open source project! But true learning comes when you run into problems. We had some merge conflicts and we (thought) we had identified the source. We were wrong. Our mentor kindly explained the source of our misunderstanding and suggested we "rebase". Good thing we have all of tomorrow to learn about rebasing. We are hopeful that we will be able to complete our task and close one of the issues that we have been assigned. We know being comfortable with GitHub will be critical in the months ahead.

    The hardest thing about today was knowing when it was time to leave the office. We both know that rest and pace is important, but it remains one of our biggest challenges. How do you shut down shop and go home when there are so many cool things to learn and do?

    Looking forward to tomorrow when we have a 9 am stand-up with our coaches. Three days ago we would have thought this was a comedy routine, now we know better.

    The favorite things we learned today:
    * Backlog grooming(refinement (
    * Another acronym DSL (
    * ThoughtWorks has vegan ice cream (not relevant to programming, but demonstrates their inclusive culture)

July 03, 2018

  • Day 2

    Team Barcelona Duo (Exercism) [2018] — at July 3, 2018 14:54 UTC

    The Adventure Continues

    In general we had a productive day. We started working intensely on exercismThe most interesting thing I learned today

    • On Sunday I didn't know how to check for valid JSON or what CI meant, but thanks to the help of our wonderful coach Nacho today I how to check valid JSON. I learned about the Travis, which was used in this exercise for CI.

    • I also learned how to merge pull requests and how to navigate through the different sections of GitHub. While this is a small win, I feel proud of what I learned today.

    • How Maikha explained feedback sessions was really important in understanding how ThoughtWorks, our hosting company creates an environment where people can be vulnerable, open and not afraid of making mistakes. I think this will make me, not only collaborate better with my teammate, but it has taught me a great life lesson that I will take with me beyond Rails Girls.


    • I learned two very important things today. One is Agile vocabulary (Stand up, retrospective, etc.). Maikha, one of coaches showed us how we can apply certain methods to improving our communication and therefore our workflow.
    • I started learning Ruby.

July 02, 2018

  • Day 1

    Team Barcelona Duo (Exercism) [2018] — at July 2, 2018 19:05 UTC

    Amazing Day

    We survived. It was a long but beautiful day. We have already learned a lot. The day started off with getting set up at ThoughtWorks, our hosting company. We toured the office and met many of the wonderful people who work here. We then had a kick-off call and got to meet some of the other RGSoC teams around the world. Lori and I established ways we will be working together and organized different communication channels. Later we had a call with Katrina and Jeremy our project mentors to outline some of the tasks ahead. We finished the day with an amazing team meeting, where we got to know our coaches, discussed the project goals and some of our learning objectives, and finally, we concluded with developing some stories that we will be tackling in the next few days.

    We are looking forward to getting started on tackling some of the issues that have been assigned to us in the backlog. We REALLY can't wait for tomorrow to begin.