Week 4 — Building Something from Scratch: A to Z
This week was the final week of this phase called “Building Something from Scratch”. And I want to highlight that part. Scratch. From zero. From nothingness to something. And the only way we could have achieved was by teamwork, soft skills, and time management.
In this essay I will elaborate on the most principal learnings I acquired thanks to this real-world scenario of being in a technical project. From A to Z.
Listen more than you speak
If you have told me that listening was the key to succeeding in a project like I would not believe you. I would have thought that we need technical skills. Management skills. And organizing. And yes, you need all of that too. But listening is key.
We practiced listening, but not so much active listening. Meaning that we that really pay attention to the client’s needs. My advice to myself in this final phase is: listen to what people are saying (and not saying). Focus on the message, on the intent, and the perspective. This will not only give you critical information to help you make decisions, especially the technical ones, but it will also help you build relationships (through trust) with your client and your team.
A Black Swan event is an outlier with almost zero predictability.
These events have a huge impact and although these events are prospectively unpredictable, they can be falsely made to look retrospectively predictable. Some examples of past Black Swans are the invention of the wheel, the 9/11 attacks, the Internet, sales of Harry Potter books among others. Or the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gaining and learning from chaos
I am not going to lie. Even we were working with agile, around Wednesday everything became chaos. In terms of technical stuff, the team was more together than ever. But sometimes the universe doesn’t want to work with you, or the cookies.
We had to restructure an important part of the project in just three days. I learned a lot of express sessions, cookies, and token this week that just looking at a real cookie gives me the creeps. Totally joking… or not?
The main lesson here is that everything in the end worked. As cheesy as it sounds. It worked because nobody left anyone behind, we were a team through all the long and sleepy nights.
Tomorrow we have a Hands Off Meeting of the project with the client. This first version. And with that, we say goodbye to this phase. I would see you next week, in the first week of the Open Source Phase.