PML#002 - The first full orbit

TL;DR - Getting involved in "real" work, and getting to know my team. Promise of a big announcement next week which will drive a lot of my upcoming content! 🥳

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It's the end of my second week at Postman, but in the weird world of LinkedIn's time calculations, when August 1st rolls around, the site will claim that I've been employed by the company for two months. And honestly, in some ways it feels a bit like I have. There's no denying that I've been busy, for better and worse, which is definitely reflected in my achievements for the week; I'll get into this a bit below.

Last week's goals: 3/4 completed

  1. Join the Testers' Hangout at least once. This should have been the easiest one, right? It's just a link in my bookmarks. I even tried putting time into my calendar on a couple of days this week; yet when the time rolled around, I found that I was either in the middle of something, or - because my family are at home - I wanted to give them the benefit of my downtime. I'll roll this one over, but honestly I think I need to spend less time thinking about it, and more time just doing it.

  2. ☑️ Test something which my team are actively working on. I ticked this one off early, by jumping straight onto testing a time-sensitive issue on Tuesday, and learned a lot about our team, our environments and our processes while doing so. About the only downside is that I'm not fully familiar with the approval process for moving changes up through our environments, which means that despite being efficient with my testing, it's Friday and I'm still waiting to see those changes get to production - they should be happening imminently though.

  3. ☑️ Make active/valuable contributions in sprint planning. I chipped-in with opinions wherever possible, and wasn't afraid to raise questions where I was unfamiliar with the concepts being discussed. Obviously the role that I serve in our weekly planning meetings can only become more valuable as I gain more knowledge of our product and our codebase, so I expect that I'll continue working on this goal in the background.

  4. ☑️ Have an introductory chat (even if just a DM) with everyone in my squad. Helpfully, we began our sprint planning by going around the room with an "everyone introduce themselves to Neil" section, so I feel a bit guilty that I got much of this goal for free! But I've been working more closely with individual developers as I've begun to look at the new features that they're each working upon, and I feel that I'm now getting to know how a few of them tick!

What else has been happening?

Undeniably, and unsurprisingly, one of the biggest challenges that I'm facing is to do with where I live. I'm primarily supporting a team who are based in India, which means that although I'm a habitual early starter (almost always at my desk by 7:30am), many of my team have already done several hours' work by that point. This in itself is a challenge, but when you combine that with my occasional need to participate in calls with people in San Francisco, and that I can't allow that to interrupt my early evening rituals (dinner, bath and bed) with my son, I'm finding that - at least a couple of times a week - I'm going back into the office at 7pm or 8pm to get some more jobs done. I'm well aware that this is unsustainable, and will be trying to find ways to collaborate asynchronously on more of these things.

One of my evening projects is very exciting though, and while it's not super-top-secret, it technically hasn't been announced yet, so I'll do the professional thing of keeping it under my hat for now. Come next week's update, I may well be able to talk more about it. It's slightly outside the scope of my day-job, which does compound some of the problems I mentioned in the previous paragraph; I don't necessarily feel that I can work on it during working hours, as it detracts from what I'm being employed to do, but it's also not like I'm swimming in extra hours outside of work at the moment!

Time is definitely my biggest opponent at the moment. Establishing my routine and my boundaries is going to be the best way to stay on top of this. There are a few things in my peripheral vision which I'm either having to say not to, or ignore completely at the moment, which is personally frustrating. I've had several Postman-themed queries from former work colleagues which I need to respond to urgently, so if any of you are stumbling across this article, please accept my apologies and I'll get to them as soon as possible!

My (hopefully manageable) goals for next week 🥅

Here are the five milestones that I'm going to try to hit before next Friday:

  • Attend the Testers' Hangout. For realsies this time. The only way that it's going to happen is by continuing to declare my intention to do it, until it becomes so ingrained in my routine that it just happens naturally.

  • Update my LinkedIn description to reflect what I'm doing. The actual act of performing this goal is very straightforward. It's just a paragraph, and maybe some bullet points if I'm feeling fancy. But honestly, this goal is more about understanding and quantifying exactly the role that I'm currently playing within the team, to give me the necessary information for that LinkedIn paragraph.

  • Build out my first piece of automation for the team. One of the new features that I'm working on has a number of facets: there are some new API endpoints in support of it, and once they're signed-off, we'll amend the front-end to read and render data which that endpoint returns. I'm not sure whether the entire piece will be completed next week, but as I'm currently performing exploratory testing of the API endpoints, these should soon be stable enough for me to justify writing some repeatable automation to monitor their behaviour.

  • Agree structure for Secret Unannounced Thing. I've got a planning session midweek to verify exactly what's going to occur during the thing that I've not announced. Once that's done, you should find that next week I'll be able to explain what it actually is!

  • Setup environment for Secret Unnanounced Thing. It's really hard to explain specifics when I can't say what it is yet. Nevertheless, as part of this project that I'm doing, I'm going to need to spin-up an application in AWS, and potentially get involved in resolving some domain name issues; both things which should be within my skillset but are something of an unknown to me.

There you have it - hopefully this week's update was a slightly more palatable size; one of the benefits of being short of time, I suppose! And while the "day job" continues to be exciting, I'm really looking forward to sharing more about the Secret Unannounced Thing, hopefully next week. 🎁