WSU x AMPATH || Sprint 3 Retrospective

Sams Ships (11)Hey guys! This sprint retrospective will cover what the WSU Coders Without Borders team has done from the week before spring break and up until this week.

As the project is propelling forward even more than before–due to us having more concrete plans to begin working on the project, it has been an exciting transition. We saw our options from Greg’s wireframes and explanations through his YouTube videos. From there, we created Zeplin accounts so we could visually understand and remember certain parts of the app in progress.

Since it was my first time using Zeplin, I wanted to add a little review of it. As someone who loves to organize things, I found that it is a great tool to have for sorting projects and handing off designs and style-guides to other users. It seems like an effective way to share ideas directly with people.

The overall WSU team now has a GitHub section for dividing up the components and issues we will be working on. So far, my team is going to tackle the search bar and everything else it would entail to create. It was nice being able to collaborate amongst one another to find a component that we agreed to work on (and the fact that a few other components had already been assigned to some teams helped our decision be made faster).

From there, we were figuring out what we need to do and how we can get things done. We discussed some potential ideas with Professor Wurst and from there continued to brainstorm for the search bar. There is nothing that comes to my mind that I would have chose to proceeded differently with if I could go back.

We are continuing our meetings as they have been scheduled and are actively participating in our stand-ups. I like being able to scroll through the log of my team’s answers because it shows our progression throughout the semester as well as serving as a reminder of when we did something specifically. I am happy to say that my team does not seem to have run into any issues or potential miscommunication among one another. It really shows how we are all working to achieve something together and effectively communicate what is happening.

In this sprint retrospective I also wanted to discuss how what we learned may be applied in other situations like in the workforce. We have to make sure we are checking in with teammates to have them understand the project more and be able to express their opinions and concerns when they arise. Similar to the bystander effect in psychology, if there is no direct communication between members when it comes to getting things done, how will there be any progression versus just observing what is happening? All it takes is being comfortable to ask different individuals if they have anything to share or add to the open conversation.

Overall, I am excited to move forward and see what is in store for me and my team during these weeks up until the end of the semester!

Craft Over Art || S.S. 8

Sams Ships (10)As we have a few weeks left in the semester, I wanted to discuss the more creative apprenticeship patterns. This time I’m going to describe Craft Over Art, which is basically when a solution to a client’s problem can be solved with something that could work…or we could take it and go above and beyond. It’s being more innovative than just settling for a solution just to have something.

I found that the pattern is interesting because it emphasized the importance of how the things built for customers can still be beautiful but must always be useful. If it strays away from being useful, then it no longer counts as the craft.

I also found it to be thought-provoking because it brought up how people are truly in charge of how a problem gets solved. No one can force you to code something a certain way if they do not know a way to solve it on their own, which is why your role exists in the first place.

The pattern has caused me to change the way I think about my intended profession because your work can still reflect you in terms of creativity. As a person, I think I am more on the creative side and incorporating more ideas into creating something for people sounds pretty cool. If I had to follow a super rigorous structure, I may feel limited in what I can do to produce work that makes me happier.

The one thing I have to disagree with in the pattern is the part where it mentions that someone is suddenly no longer “part of the craft” if they deviate a little further. Who sets these boundaries? I do not want people to feel like they are not “enough” to be considered a real craftsman or whichever term it is referred it as just because they were being extra.

Overall, I appreciated the action section which encouraged people to reflect on what projects they worked on or situations they may have found themselves in where they chose creativity over usefulness. At the moments where I have personally done so, I had felt more proud of my work, because I knew it was uniquely mine.

Sustainable Motivations || S.S. 7

Sams Ships (9)From recent conversations with friends and professionals I’ve had genuine one-on-one discussions with, a common concern people have is whether they will continue to actually enjoy what they do. Today I’m going to discuss the Sustainable Motivations apprenticeship pattern. This pattern pretty much goes over scenarios people may run into throughout their careers in technology. There will be great days where people may be amazed that they are getting paid to create things and there will be rough days where people may be doubting if it is the right profession for them at all.

The points brought up remind me of a recent article from the New York Times titled Wealthy, Successful, and Miserable. What happens when the new-ness of what started as an exciting role to join in a company wears off and you are left off with unsettled feelings? It is up to individuals to keep going until they find what they love again or shift what they are doing a little to stimulate something new.

I like how the pattern encourages people to come up with a list of things that motivate them. It then tells them to reflect on what those things means or if there is a noticeable pattern from the things they have chosen. Having a list like this around to remind people of what they are working for is a reassuring way to keep them going. It reminds me of a post on LinkedIn I saw where someone kept a sticky note on their monitor screen that just had a number like “-$237.25” because it was to remind them of how much they had in their bank account when they started their job.

The pattern has caused me to think about the way I intend to work as someone who constantly likes to change things up or is not afraid of change. I do not disagree with anything in the patterns as it tells us to keep pushing and persevering by thinking about The Long Road, which is another apprenticeship pattern.

Overall, I think people interested in this pattern should read the NYT article I linked as well because it gives insight on the difference it makes when people do something that makes their work feel more meaningful.

Breakable Toys || S.S. 6

Sams Ships (7)Recently, I have been seeing plenty of messages along the lines of “We learn from failure, not from success.” As someone who used to regularly watch all of Casey Neistat’s vlogs from the beginning days, it is something that has been ingrained in me to take risks and know that if I fail, then at least I did not give up and allowed myself to try.

When I saw the Breakable Toys apprenticeship pattern, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss trying things! This pattern is basically trying to explain to us that you need a safe space to learn something even if you work in an environment that may not allow for failure. It encourages us to seek our own way to sharpen our skills and take initiative, which would increase our confidence.

I found that this pattern is thought-provoking because where would you be if you did not take all the risks or new experiences beforehand to get to where you are today? I used to study biology and chemistry until I gave computer science a real chance. It was a little daunting at first to catch up but I made it (so far). If I did not take on leadership opportunities when given the chance, would I have the observation skills I have today when it comes to being involved on a team? Probably not!

If you do not allow yourself to try something out or practice something, I think you would feel a lot more pressure. It was reassuring to hear that someone like Steve Baker also experienced something like that, which makes it a lot more normalized.

As kids, we started learning how to interact with the world by playing with toys and developing our own sense of physics. Through that, we took risks like throwing things, sliding things down places, and etc., until we figured things like “oh, maybe I should not have accidentally thrown that ball too high and it went to the neighbors yard!” But at the same time, you’re a little proud that you’ve gotten better at throwing the ball harder.

That’s the same thing with developing yourself in your professional career. I will allow myself some time and space to learn something without that pressure and it may surprise me, once again, how far I may go.

WSU x AMPATH || Sprint 1 Retrospective

Sams Ships (5).pngFor my first sprint retrospective, I wanted to start off by introducing what kind of project my team is working on and what we are hoping to do with it before I move onto the description of what is happening.

The project I will be working on for the rest of the semester has to do with AMPATH (Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare); if you have not yet heard of it, it is a healthcare partnership based in Kenya made up of different organizations. Part of my sprint was getting more familiar with who they are and what we could potentially do to help them. It looks like they are mostly trying to ease or log more operations technology-wise to help people.

Our main tasks for this sprint were of course getting to know my team (classroom-wise) and getting our set-up tasks sorted. It is my first time using Trello for something and as a visual learner or visual person in general, I found it very convenient being able to see our “Product Backlog | Sprint Backlog | In Progress | Done” lined up. We decided to start by organizing because of course that is usually how projects are best done and kept on track. Along with setup tasks, we began by cloning the project and then installed Karma and Protractor.

So far, I cannot say anything failed (and hope I will not have to report that anytime this semester for the sake of us progressing) but I hope we will have more concrete plans for what is coming up next for Sprint 2. I think it also has to do with me as a person being so used to always working moving forward or on with the “next thing” and it’s just different not having that yet. That way there will be things to continuously progress on and track more efficiently.

However, if I were to proceed any differently; I would have gone back and gotten a little more background knowledge because I feel like we tend to tell ourselves “I’ll just go back later and review” but of course that doesn’t always happen. It’s just a fact when you’re a highly involved student who works on the side; but when you plan or set some time for yourself you will be able to do what you need to.

A majority of what was done during this current sprint consisted of trying to understand and introduce ourselves to Karma; which is a test runner for JavaScript.

If someone else were to follow these steps; I would recommend going in this order: Getting to know your teammates, making sure the team has a solid enough understanding of what project we will be contributing to this semester, beginning setup tasks, and then setting goals for when you should check certain things out.

Overall, I enjoyed this first Sprint as I did not feel too much pressure in terms of what needs to happen yet so we can ease into producing software that will help benefit AMPATH.

 

Do You Hate Your Computer Too?

Sams Ships (3)Apparently doctors hate their computers, according to an article titled Why Doctors Hate Their Computers by Atul Gawande. Gawande started out the article by mentioning Epic, a company a lot of people know of because it is a leading provider of software for the healthcare industry. It’s funny because just the other day, a classmate who will not be named groaned when he heard Epic being mentioned by someone, as he works in a healthcare center.

I found the reading was interesting because I have no intentions of becoming a medical doctor one day but was able to hear about how it is being one while interacting with technology that exists today.

It seems like the tension of logging everything caused the system to make doctors’ lives harder instead of easier; this was noticeable when Sadoughi was talking about how she had to look over all notes from different doctors including herself per patient. Instead of being able to just see what is going on right away; it would take up time to gather all information and even then it was not always helpful because some notes were different than others and became dated. And then work-life balance had to be thrown off a little because people had to spend extra time, up to hours after-hours to catch up with the system and review things from the day.

The real customer for the system seemed to be patients because they have some benefits from using the system like logging when to take medications or see how they are doing. Doctors are also able to monitor how they are doing and communicate with them by being pinged.

The lessons from this system do not only apply to Electronic Medical Record systems; they also apply to working in life because burnout can happen to anyone in the workforce. I thought it was interesting how one of the ways doctors were trying to save time and prevent burnout from technology was by hiring in-hospital scribes or even virtual scribes when necessary.

The reading has caused me to changing the way I think I will work based on if I ever end up creating software that affects people’s healthcare by considering how much time it takes to interact with it, no matter how “cool” or “innovative” it may be. In terms of the topic itself, the reading has caused me to think more about software that has altered people’s professions as a whole; which I thought of before but never this deeply.

I do not disagree with anything in the reading for now as I do not personally know what it is like to work in a profession that is not traditionally non-technical and then gets transformed into something that relies on it.

 

The Deep End || Sam’s Ships S.S.3

Sams Ships (2)On today’s installment of the individual apprenticeship patterns series, we’re going to discuss The Deep End. The main takeaway of The Deep End is that you should throw yourself into an opportunity even if you are hesitating or unsure. Of course, it is not necessarily telling you to be reckless, it also emphasizes how it is your responsibility to offset the risks of your approach.

I found that this pattern was interesting because as a person, I continuously try to say yes to trying new things or taking on new roles when the opportunity arises. The Deep End is basically the pattern that represents that mindset and reinforces how important trying something you might think is “risky” turns into being one of the best choices you ever made.

The pattern has caused me to change the way I think about software development/engineering based on the “action” it tells us to consider; which is learning to see what choices are affecting where our career is heading and eventually learn how to make choices based on it. I will try to focus on not only reflecting and reviewing what has happened but I will also move forward by actively making decisions based on experiences.

I do not disagree with something in this pattern so far as the “risks” I have taken so far have always turned out bettering me as a person or helped me achieve something greater. Things like taking on new roles within Enactus when I was unsure about how much time it would take on top of my already busy schedule to how to actually do things were part of my worries. In the end, it turned out alright because I was able to work things around my schedule and people who knew what the role(s) consisted of were there for me as a resource or form of support.

Overall, I am pretty content with the things I have jumped into because like Enrique from the Jumping in With Both Feet story, I eventually felt “like a fish in water.” I liked being able to read about someone’s success story of an instance where they went after something and thought “hey, the worst thing that could happen is I don’t like it and I fly back.”