Cymen Vig

Software Craftsman

Pairing tour: Colin Jones

I spent Tuesday and Wednesday with Colin Jones at the 8th Light Libertyville office. The first day was spent on a lot of smaller tasks and the second on somewhat bigger stories. It was interesting to see how Colin interacted with the client team. He has a long history with the client and the team has a lot of internal tools and processes that are not used at 8th Light. My fears about vim configurations were unfounded: I think Doug has one of the more complex setups and when I used it most we were using his laptop screen instead of an external monitor (at 8th Light when pairing one typically uses a large 1920x1200 resolution Apple or Dell monitor and two sets of keyboard and mouse).

It was also interesting to feel the velocity of a project that has been running for a long time with a somewhat unwieldy code base size. The mixture of size and meta-programming seemed to increase the complexity of working on the project by quite a bit. I’ll stop at this point as I don’t want to go into too much detail.

Working with Colin was a pleasure. It was particularly interesting to see his personal workflow and how careful he is in wording his communication with others (we were working remotely) to ensure clarity. Once or twice he apologized for this but I actually thought it was inspiring. The adage about apologizing for the length of a letter because one didn’t have the time to make it shorter definitely applied: concise yet clear communication is difficult to achieve yet certainly worth aspiring to.