Need For Speed

My old boss once told me that I have two speeds, 0mph and 100mph. And if I'm not going 100mph, I'm not happy. That’s the truest thing anyone’s every said about me.

I love going full speed. And now I can’t. Because as a new programmer, I have to be slow and I have to be deliberate.

I paid a lot of attention to how long something takes compared to how long I think it should take -- already a flawed premise since I don’t have the experience to estimate how long a feature should take in the first place. But of course that doesn’t stop me.

I often hear myself saying awesome things like, “Yea, we can knock out this feature in, what -- a few days, right?” Stephanie’s learned to ignore these statements, and meet them with a very tactful, “Hm ... that’s pretty ambitious. We’ll see.”

Which is clearly a challenge. That I have yet to win.

But as of late, I’ve decided that paying attention to a velocity isn’t as productive as paying attention to the factors that affect it. And I think about that a lot.

I think about the work I did that day, and I reflect on how I could've been faster, more efficient, more productive. And usually there are concrete answers - I should've played with the gem a bit more before using it. I should’ve asked for help sooner. I should've taken a moment to plan and think through the process before diving into the code. Or just the opposite --- I planned too much, overthought it and didn't see how simple it was until I started coding.

And when the same issue comes up again, it prompts a conversation between me and my programming partner. We pair a lot, and we reflect often. The last time we tried this, I remember this being a huge bottleneck. Let’s try it this way instead. I feel like this has been a common theme. We need to look for a better, long-term solution. It’s less straight up coding, and more about process. There’s a lot more process than I thought -- stemming from the tiny decisions that don’t even feel like decisions we end up making while building this app from scratch. And there are a lot of decisions.

But it’s painful when those issues show up more than twice. That’s when I feel stagnant. You’ve been here before. Haven’t you learned? I trust that speed comes from experience, and experience comes with time. But anything I can do to get there a bit sooner, I’ll do. Can’t wait to get back to my 100mph.