I started my journey Sunday night to Chicago where I was welcomed into the Obtiva corporate apartment by Ethan Gunderson. I was impressed by the layout and attention to design. It is a swank little downtown pad that anyone would be happy to have. Ethan is one of Obtiva’s apprentices, working for 6 months at Obtiva where he contributes to the team and sharpens his skills as a developer. I really like this idea and would love to see more companies making good developers great.
Monday reminded me of the things I love about being in a big city. The walk to the office in the wonderful Chicago weather made for a nice wake up. The morning started out much like other good agile shops i’ve been to with a morning stand up meeting. A lot of the Obtiva are on site at clients so the meeting was very short. I noticed that after the company wide standup other teams of people had more focused standups which is a great idea. It let’s the group get to work while details are discussed among the relevant parties.
For my first day I got to pair with Ryan Briones. I know Ryan from my days in Columbus OH, so it was nice to start my week of with a familiar face. We started with a brief discussion about the project, Mad Mimi, which is an email marketing system. Ryan had plans laid out for the days work, but as things go we were able to defeat those plans and work on an entirely different set of problems.
We spent the first part of our day working on a little bit of housekeeping and deployment related issues. It was nice to see the server setup and hosting company choices. I also got to see the response and support from Rails Machine first hand as one of our deployments failed. Within a couple of minutes they were on top of everything before anyone could even ask. This kind of reaction to a problem combined with great support staff which they seem to have make for a great hosting experience.
After a great burger at lunch Ryan and I jumped back into things and were greeted with an interesting problem. A company was trying to start an email campaign with a record breaking amount of emails. Things weren’t going quite to plan and it was up to Ryan and I (with some help from Dave Hoover) to track down and fix the problem. After some debugging and extra logging (it’s like cowbell, you always need more), we were able to make some modifications and get the process moving. There are still a few performance tweaks to make, but history was made.
Once things were moving along nicely we moved into some other bug fixes to round out the day. We got to sit down this time and write some tests that proved our bug (and a couple other bugs that weren’t immediately apparent) and get to work. We were able to end the day by getting the bug squashed and watching the record breaking email campaign start it’s mailings.
The evening brought good food and good company as I went to dinner with Ryan, Ethan, and Ryan’s wife Stephanie. We ate some sushi down by Ryan’s house at a place called Ra. We ended the night with some coffee and good conversation that I hope will continue throughout the rest of the week.