Enterprise Library V2 is starting up, and we’re having problems getting traction. Scott Densmore, Mani, and I are the only holdovers from the original project, and we’ve picked up a new tester, Gokul (I know I spelled this wrong — sorry!) and two new developers, Brad Wilson and Fernando Simonazzi. In short, we’re basically starting over from a team point of view. And I get the sense that we’ve been thrashing the past couple of weeks, because we’re still trying to understand all kinds of different things. We are trying to get a handle on our requirements. We’re trying to bring Brad and Fernando up to speed on the codebase. We’re trying to define the exact feature set that we want to deliver, and we have a very aggressive timeline. Lots of things working against us. And this stress was making me feel bad.
It was making me feel so bad that I sought out Peter Provost, whose opinion I respect trememdously, and I talked to him about it. I was feeling the pain of us not having formed into a team yet. Peter, with his usual wisdom, reminded me that we were still very early in the project, and that the original Enterprise Library team went through growing pains orders of magnitude worse. He advised me to give it time. Not a lot to go on, but I still felt a bit better.
Now, the one thing that we have going for us is that we all want to work together, in the same room, at the same time, as much as humanly possible. We’re doing everything we can to find a war room in which we can work. We have this shared belief and desire to all sit together, developers and programmers, and learn from each other, get to know each other. Events are conspiring against us, as we keep losing rooms to the CRCC (Conference Room Conversion Committee), but we keep fighting. We found a new room to work in this week, and we didn’t pass up the opportunity to squat there. And as the week went on, sure enough, Peter’s advice was right (I hate it when that happens!). As we went from Tuesday when I showed up, to Friday when I left, I felt the beginnings of a team forming. I convinced/nagged Scott to move his laptop into the shared room, Fernando and Brad started getting up to speed and began to feel more comfortable asking for help, and everyone helped me with a sticky design issue I was facing. I monopolized most of the team’s time over the past couple of days, whining about the feature I’m working on. I’m clearly thrashing on it, because I don’t know how to start, where I’m going, or how to get there. But, you know what, because everyone was there in the room, and they had (been forced) listened to all the design conversations I’ve been begging for, a design came out today that everyone is happy with. I could not have done it alone. Period.
Working in this war room brought us together as a team, allowed us to make more progress than we would have individually, and provided me with the support system I so desperately needed.