May 27, 2018

Weeknote 1

Since joining GDS I’ve learned a lot about infrastructure and ways of working like agile and XP. And I’ve contributed a lot back to my team from that. But after 10 months I needed to get some wider context, and see how other teams work. To that end I’m helping a product team deploy its infrastructure for private beta.

I spent last week starting to understand my new team’s culture and mission, investigating the project I’m helping deploy, researching ways of packaging Java/JVM projects for release (e.g., fat JARs), and arranging community things.

Queer Code London need a new venue for their Saturday lunchtime coding events, and I’ve been checking that we’re OK to host it in the GDS office. (We can!)

I went to leaving drinks for Dan and Graham, both of whom were on the PaaS team when I first joined. A bit sad—both were fantastic to work with—and yet lovely to see such experienced people finding new challenges.

I learned from my time on the GOV.UK PaaS team that structured summary notes are incredibly valuable, so I condensed a lot of historical experimentation into some Markdown notes.

I tried to get this project running on the PaaS, my old team’s Cloud Foundry platform, but it didn’t work because the file layout is very odd. There’s a lot of external policy we have to work with, limiting what we can change.

Shortly after that I changed my approach. I’m only helping this team for a few weeks, so I shouldn’t try to Get Things Done or directly make problems disappear. Instead I’ll act like a mentor, boosting the team’s own confidence with infrastructure. This process has a learning curve for me but is less pressure and quite enjoyable!

I got upset this week, having left my familiar team and feeling a bit out of place in the Ops community. I haven’t observed the group dynamics enough to understand why it’s so male, and the last year has taught me to be careful about investing my energy in culture problems.

As ever the small, lunchtime Meditation Club got me through the week. Having people about me for reassurance and wellbeing skills is an utter joy.