Sprint Retrospective – 14 March 2018

This sprint, unfortunately, was cleaved in twain by Father Winter. There were multiple white-out blizzards, which resulted in numerous missed class meetings. This proved to be a serious blow to productivity. In the face of nature’s obstacles, however, my group did manage to get more done than we would have anticipated had we known how little we would have been able to collaborate.

This sprint, we solidified much more of our understanding of PouchDB and the structure of our service. Due to the weather, much of our progress was done separately except for during a single impromptu meeting on Discord, so a gap in our respective grasps of the service has begun to form. However, in some capacity, each of us managed to learn and share with each other something new about PouchDB. As for me, I was concerned with the code itself. Much of my time in the first few days of the sprint was spent tinkering with the exercises we had completed during the previous sprint, in an effort to attain more than a working knowledge of PouchDB’s functionality. To this end, I redid the exercises from memory as best I could, but also framed the app in the context of Ampath’s patient data. The result was a rudimentary form of what the final service may look like – albeit without encryption, decryption, login, etc.

Of course, catastrophe managed to strike. As it happens, there are two versions of PouchDB: a JavaScript version, and a TypeScript version. We had been writing our code in the former, and wished to switch to the latter. In terms of syntax for the programs we’d written, this wasn’t all that major of a change, as we only really needed to change the import statement at the top of the file. Installation, however, was another issue. I spent hours with Fuve and Caleb one day, fighting with install errors that would pop up for one of us but not the other, until eventually Fuverion made some breakthrough that fixed everything. Admittedly, I still have no idea what he did, I’m just thankful that he did it.

Due to the inconsistent meeting times, coupled with the headaches brought about by switching to the TypeScript version of PouchDB, this was about as much as we were able to get done in this sprint. We have in fact discussed this already in an in-class retrospective, and have all agreed to make better use of our channels of communication: Slack, Discord, and a group text message thread between the five of us. In doing so, we hope that future unforeseen bouts of meteorological calamity will have far less power over our capacity for progress.

In this sprint, a very critical lesson was taught (or, perhaps a better word may be “reinforced”) to all of us: Do not assume that anything will go as planned. Do not assume that anything will be smooth, or easy. Because in the event that some blizzard comes along to remove two consecutive meeting periods, it’s far better to have modes of communication available for use and at the ready. In future sprints, I will work to ensure that my communication with my team is upheld in the times where I am, or any of them is, unable to be present.

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