Project presentation Friday and the joys of team work

It’s Friday. Michael is wearing a shirt. The smell of nervous sweat is wafting across the classroom. It must be project presentation day!

We spent the whole week working on our team projects and now the day had come.

It was nice to see everybody’s presentations and I think each team created a well thought out project. Very impressive, considering most of us have only been doing this whole web dev thing for seven weeks and never before in a team.

I was really happy with our dog dating website. Basically the idea is that a user signs in (through Facebook!) and then sees a map (Googlemaps integration!) with other users in their area (geolocation!). Each user has a profile page and can create profile pages for their dogs. Users can message each other (Mailboxer!) and set up dates for their dogs.

I would have loved to post the link to it here (we were the only team that put their website on the internet so that people can actually start using it!) but I just noticed that there are still a few bugs which I will need to discuss with the others next week as it’s related to their bits of code.

I guess that’s what happens in a team project – sometimes you just have to let it go. There are a lot of compromises to be made and you can’t be too precious about your own opinions and ideas, unless you feel like arguing about it for hours and not getting anything done. I think I’m more of the harmony loving type so I’m happy to agree with whatever sounds vaguely sensible and just get on with it.

Comparing this week to project 1 (Tic Tac Toe XOXO) I feel like I didn’t learn as much, which is a bit disappointing. Of course, it was down to myself, I could have said that I’ll create some crazy functionality in PHP or something and then my learning curve would have been massive but I wanted to play it safe to make sure that we have a finished product by the end of the week.

So while the last weeks were a crazy whirlwind of constantly feeling stretched and learning new things, this week was a bit quieter on that front. I do feel like I got a really good understanding of using Git (the version control and collaboration system) and I learnt how to implement a new Ruby gem that I hadn’t used before (Mailboxer).

But the objective of this week was more about learning to work with others than learning about new technology. To be honest, the most challenging thing for me this week wasn’t the coding but verbalising things that I usually just have in my head when I work on a project alone. It’s not easy trying to explain something (that you might not fully understand in the first place) to others who have a different background from you and different proficiency in the English language.

It was fine in the beginning but got more stressful towards the end when the deadline was approaching and tempers got shorter.

Working in a team also meant changing my way of working which is normally a bit more fluid. I would normally start on a project and change it as I went along – so, for example, if the styling wasn’t quite right, I’d just try a couple of different colours or a different background image. Working in a team meant that we agreed on things up front and then stuck to it. For example, I couldn’t just have gone and changed all the colours because I felt like it. It would have meant explaining it to the others, discussing it, agreeing on it and then maybe implementing it, depending on the outcome of the discussion. A much longer process!

Anyway, I think the hard work paid off and we delivered a really good website. I hope to share the link soon, once we’ve fixed the bugs!