in Prose

S02E00: Here’s what you missed

We’re back, and better than ever

Welcome back, sports fans. It’s been a while. Things have happened.

University: I’ve got three modules this term. Principles of Programming I, Fundamentals of Computing, and Information Systems — or PoP, FoC, and IS. PoP is for beginners and teaches Python; I’ve been using it for a little while in my side projects and so I’m reasonably confident. IS deals mostly with Agile, particularly Scrum — another framework I’m confident using. As a consequence I’m focusing most of my time on FoC, which is just as well because it’s blowing my tiny mind.

Pictured: my tiny mind

There’s focus on concepts like infinite sets and 32-bit integers and hungry philosophers, and my brain is getting soggier all the time. Computers, it turns out, are extremely complicated.

This season is going to see a steady increase in workload and complexity, so balancing it is going to be one of the key character arcs that unfold. I take one day a week to study, but my lectures are only in the afternoon. So instead of studying in the mornings I nose around Whitehall and ask friends and former colleagues for coffee and to pick their brains about things. It has been an effective tactic so far.

Work: I’m pulled a million different ways at the moment, and I’m quite enjoying it. I’m taking care of a product and sponsoring a move to IaaS; I’m writing up job descriptions; and I’m planning the long-term technology strategy for the whole organisation. Doing this mostly means taking a punt on where culture is moving and then skating in that direction. Some initial steps are easy and have a great benefit: putting our application into a container has improved how quickly we can get new features and fixes into production.

I’m also trying to learn as much as I can about making remote work work from as many people as I can, including people who think it’s a terrible idea. Finding out what they feel makes it terrible gives me a strong indication of things to avoid.

Oh, and I got business cards!

This is naturally going to form the complementary arc to the university story. Working only four days a week and keeping everything rolling demands I keep a strict handle on what I agree to do. This is hard for two reasons:

  1. Doing cool but ultimately frivolous stuff has to be deprioritised (boo)
  2. Boring but necessary tasks have to take precedence (boo)
  3. Sometimes you think of something at the last minute that has to be included, and you end up going over your self-imposed limits

Off-by-one jokes are the second best thing in the world

Our Fast Streamer’s suggestion that we run stand-ups in our little team has massively helped with this, because it’s surfaced a lot of 2s before they become 3s.

There are going to be enormous challenges ahead. I’ve drawn a lot of useful advice from the rest of the #weeknotes community, and their continued stories have encouraged me to jump back in.

Here’s to a new season.

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