6 Months of 2021

An Assessment

Posted on May 31, 2021 · 5 mins read

Marking the first day of June, I thought I’d take a few minutes to reflect on the last six months as an engineer. Skipping the day-to-day ticket-based work that is the bread and butter of my job, I'm highlighting the larger projects and learnings. A lot has happened in 2021!

None of this happens in a vacuum, however, and I’ve been able to meet and collaborate with some very smart, professional, and awesome folks in up and down stream service teams, dedicated product managers, architects and managers. The team I work with every day consistently shows up with patience, curiosity, and good humor on pairing sessions, agile ceremonies, and the daily tasks. It’s tremendously motivating to work with these folks and I’m grateful to each of them for their contributions.

Roughly organized and off the top of my head, I’ll go through a brief list of accomplishments and key learnings.

Adobe Integration

Led the integration of the first external service for our primary application with Adobe Experience Platform. Discovery, documentation, authorization and implementation for our particular app, followed by assisting other teams in doing the same for their services. The first communication was sent out in April started with 9.5 million sends and have gone up from there. It's been an exciting project to collaborate with the lead architect, give use case feedback to the Adobe team, and working closely with three other teams. This project has given the multiple teams involved an opportunity to continue to work more in tandem on all parts of the communications suite of tools.

DevOps Development

Started focusing more on the Docker containers, our Jenkins builds, and digging into the CI/CD pipeline. Took a course on Docker and another course on foundational DevOps to boost my comprehension and kickstart my interactions with these crucial steps. Being more involved with these core parts of our applications’ success also contributes to the team’s ability to push code more reliably and efficiently.

Monitoring and Observability

A course in Datadog integration was timed with being added to a Splunk-heavy on-call rotation, pushing monitoring and observability to the frontlines of my day-to-day. Seeing the end-to-end flow of information and services to the final metrics has given me a larger perspective on the total ecosystem. It's also given me a chance to appreciate the layers of observability, from the Node layer tracing middleware, to the queries and dashboards on Splunk.

On-Call Rotation

Being on-call for those middle-of-the-day and night questions has given me a much deeper understanding of the user experience directly from the users of the application, similarly to the closer feedback loop of my previous positions. Always an advocate for UX, I'm adding more to the backlog of improvements to be made in the application to reduce friction points.

Off-boarding is the New Onboarding

After a year on pause, the team that originally built a microsites platform project has been distributed to more pressing projects within Nike, including myself. This has necessitated off-boarding the individual microsites to the teams that have created these experiences and are still using the platform. In the last few months, I’ve documented and onboarded four teams on updating and maintaining their existing microsites, as well as onboarded individual contributors and developers.

Pairing Team Time

Instituted a 30 minute post stand-up developer-only daily opportunity to pair on any blockers or questions. We’ve also used the time to review documentation, go through pull requests with live demos, or just discuss what we did last weekend. The value of this meeting has been tremendous for answering questions on the code base, code quality checks, and team-building as the team has changed through a remote-only working environment.

What's Next?

After moving to a new team, project, tech stack, and management in the last year, it has felt good to be contributing positively, even hitting a personal best of seven pull requests in one sprint. My next goals include continuing with the never-ending learning that is necessary in this career, with an eye to contributing to all parts of the stack. Lastly, I'd like to iterate on the pairing team time to get the most out of those 30 minutes and finalizing all handoffs of the microsites platform.