PML#003 - Developing a routine

TL;DR - Learning that it's not a "9 to 5". The importance of asynchronous communication. And the secret is still a secret 🤫

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I guess by now I'm into the "business as usual" stage at Postman: although I'm still very much a new starter, I've been around for long enough to witness most of the regular company ceremonies, and better understand their current way of working. More of that to follow, but firstly, let's see how I did with my personal objectives for the week.

Last week's goals: 3/5 completed ⚠️

  • Attend the Testers' Hangout. Failed this one twice in a row. Unless I just do it before I hit publish. I almost managed it on Thursday lunchtime; Beth Marshall tweeted that she was heading over to the hangout, but I was doing the highly unusual activity of watching a lunchtime film with my wife, so the stars didn't align.

  • ☑️ Update my LinkedIn description to reflect what I'm doing. That's on there now, with a handful of bullet points. They're relatively broad, but accurately reflect a combination of both what I've been hired to do, and what I've actually been doing thus far.

My LinkedIn job description, three weeks in.
  • ☑️ Build out my first piece of automation for the team. Following exploratory testing of some new API endpoints, I've now created some repeatable automation to demonstrate their functionality, and to catch future regressions in their behaviour. One of the benefits of working for Postman is that we're able to use our own tooling to test our own API endpoints, and this dogfooding allows us to highlight potential areas of improvement in our own tooling.

  • ☑️ Agree structure for Secret Unannounced Thing. I promised that I would be able to announce it by today, but although it's definitely happening, it's not been published publically by Postman yet. Regardless, I had a very useful session which has allowed me to get on with the work that I need to do for it.

  • Setup environment for Secret Unnanounced Thing. There was a bit of back-and-forth about the supporting resources for The Thing, which has led to a possible pivot where we'll be using some different supporting resources. Those resources, however, are still under construction by somebody else, and are now due to be completed on Monday. (This paragraph is basically nonsense without being able to give any background yet!)

The week in a nutshell 🥜

I feel like this could be a copy and paste of last week's update, insofar as the things that are important to me (and the things that I'm noticing most) are still at the forefront. Primarily, I'm still trying to find the rhythm of a working day. Starting early is convenient for me (and fits well with my team's geopresence) but it's counteracted by having the occasional need to meet with people on American timezones. In my first week, I tried to set out the idea of what a "typical day" might look like for me, but the reality thus far has been very different. There was one day where I started at 7am, had my final meeting finish at 8.45pm, but I also took a three-hour lunch and had two hours with my family in the early evening.

I'm still finding this lack of rhythm very hard to adapt to, and I'm acutely aware of the number of times that I've had to tell my wife about an early-evening meeting, on one occasion even having to miss my son's dinner and bedtime. These aren't sacrifices that I'm willing to make, but I still need to maintain flexibility and the ability to support my team. (I'll be calling this out in one of my objectives for this week).

I also need to have some internal conversations about how my squad communicates as a team. While I've published my own communications readme which expresses my own likes and habits, there are subtleties in my squadmates that I've not yet adapted to. For instance, personally I manage my Slack presence indicator very carefully: if it's green, I'm available. If it says I'm away, I'm away. But I have some teammates who seem to set themselves permanently as away; or, at the very least, it's no indication of whether they're actually contactable or not. This gets harder when it's late in the day for me (and even later for my colleagues in India) because the idea of pinging someone at 10pm/11pm their local time is appalling to me; yet because of flexible hours, that's actually the hours that some people are working. I need to help find easy ways in which our team can remove some of this burden and confusion.

Saying that, I'm having an awesome time. Outside of my team's specific remit, I'm spending a lot of time working on some unreleased (and unannounced) features which are going to blow people's minds when they launch. Plus as you may have already seen, we're delivering some long-standing feature requests (WSDL support!) and releasing others in early beta mode (support for WebSocket and Socket.IO connections!) which are helping us to continue having close conversations with users and building upon their feedback. We also have some great internal feedback channels that I've become very active in.

What do I hope to get done next week?

  • Attend the Testers' Hangout. Look, it's ludicrous that I'm rolling this over again, but I need to keep making myself look foolish in order for it to happen.

  • Collect my son from nursery on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. This doesn't feel like a work goal, but it speaks to my need to set the expectations of my working hours, as I need them to be flexible enough to allow me to support my family. So, success at this goal would mean that I've been successful at keeping a key area free in my calendar.

  • Complete 50% of the first draft of Secret Unannounced Thing. There's no guarantee that it'll be announced this week, but suffice to say, I need to create a bunch of content for something. This week I was able to outline the structure of that content, and now I need to create it. I've got almost a fortnight before the full first draft is due to be presented, so I want to get at least the first half completed by the end of next week.

  • Have a rational discussion about team communication. The last thing that I want to do is rock the boat at this early stage, but as stated above, there are certain things that I don't think are working within the team at the moment. I would like to raise these concerns in an adult, no-blame fashion, with the acknowledgement that I myself may be part of the problem.

Four goals of the week, all of which should be eminently achievable, and yet I bet it's the Tester's Hangout goal which gets missed again 🙈