Our DevDay & how to become a better developer

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Every couple of months we set a full day when we do not work. We eat pizza, discuss new technologies, new ideas and we ask ourselves: What can we do better, starting from tomorrow?

It was our first DevDay in 2020. So this time we started with a summary of 2019, we discussed what worked well, what didn’t and what should we improve as a team to make a noticeable step forward in 2020.

Good Developer vs Better Developer

In 2019 we invested a lot of time in working with Javascript and learning Vue.js. We worked a lot to constantly improve our coding standards. Just like in 2018, we are very happy about the progress we made in 2019 in terms of our development team coding skills.

We consider ourselves as very good developers. But we want to be better. So in 2020, we will focus on learning how to become more creative in solving problems. Software engineers tend to overcomplicate everything and the truth is, that making things simple is a whole separate skill. It is difficult and takes time, but we believe it could be learned by anyone.

Another thing we will try to improve is estimating our work time better. In the software development world it is very common situation when a developer receives a project or task with information on the time given to complete it. It is usually a project manager who would estimate the time, but very often it’s not accurate.

So we decided that our whole team will learn how to estimate our work better. What informations do we need at the very beginning? What should we ask for? Where is the catch? Should we be skeptical or optimistic in our estimations?

It was an exciting discussion and we introduced first changes into our workflow and procedures right the next day.

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Design Sprint

The Design Sprint is a process developed at Google. It was designed to help any team or organization to solve a critical business problem and test new ideas better and faster.

Sounds amazing! So I read the Sprint Book and was fascinated by this approach. Our DevDay was a perfect time to introduce it to our team and to try it on ourselves.

Lightning Decision Jam

I decided to run a Lightning Decision Jam workshop where our challenge was to think about our team work & how we make projects happen.

It was a lot of fun and we were able to discuss a looot of things within just one hour. A wide range of ideas and new solutions were introduced by team members who would normally never be involved in such a process.

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We ended up with two actionable ideas that we started testing in real life right away. So cool!

The workshop was very easy to organise and we just followed these simple steps:

  • Step 1: Things that are working
  • Step 2: Capture all the problems
  • Step 3: Prioritize problems
  • Step 4: Reframe the problems as standardized challenges
  • Step 5: Ideate without discussions
  • Step 6: Prioritise solutions
  • Step 7: Decide what to execute on
  • Step 8: Make solutions actionable

I you would like to try it yourself, full instruction is available here.

What else?

  • We had a presentation about the Serverless framework which we like a lot and we definitely see it as our future framework of choice. Near-future actually.
  • Michał prepared a quick overview of PHP 7.4 which is quite a big update and introduces a lot of new features. It was a piece of nerdy presentation with more source code than funny pictures. ?
  • Adam compared Vue.js and Svelte.js and explained the differences between frameworks. He also shared his own personal opinion about the experience of learning Svelte. Very interesting, but we will stick with Vue.js for now. ?

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