Unleash Your Enthusiasm

Immediately following the White Belt pattern in Apprenticeship Patterns is the pattern of Unleashing Your Enthusiasm. As the name states, the idea of this pattern is for a developer to forgo the inhibition of his/her enthusiastic tendencies for fear of his/her own inexperience reflecting poorly on him/her within the group. Put more simply: new and inexperienced developers often bring a much-needed drive and passion to a team, which proves to be a vital element of the team’s success. Moreover, the very nature of high enthusiasm contributes greatly to the developer’s personal learning of the technologies at hand. Hoover and Oshineye point out that during this introductory period, there is a rare opportunity to provide a fresh perspective, which allows one to offer useful suggestions for improvement that may otherwise go overlooked.

One of the first relations I could think of to myself was my Fall 2017 semester, when I was taking Robotics. Our group was a 3-person team where each person had a solid foundation in one area, and inexperience in many of the others. We stagnated for about two weeks after receiving the final project – which was tremendously flexible in what we were allowed to construct – because there was a pervasive discomfort felt among each of us when it came to making a decision of what to actually build. When we ultimately agreed on something, and the fear of asking silly questions dissipated, we became staggeringly productive. In many ways, our enthusiasm for the project was the only reason it got done; most notably the final three days before our presentation, where we had to scrap and redesign the entire machine. If it weren’t for the excitement we felt every time we learned something new about the code we were writing, or thought up a more efficient way to construct the robot, we may not have been able to finish in time.

Overall, I can agree with the message of the Unleash Your Enthusiasm pattern. Even sitting here now, I can recall times where my excitement over a project or idea has been contagious, and I can see how that would be a powerful tool on a development team. After all, one tends to put out much higher quality when working voluntarily rather than compulsorily. Going forward, I will be making a greater effort to present my ideas, questions and concerns to people of greater experience, and hope to make strides in my learning through their responses as a result.

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