The trickiest part of going back to blogging, a few months ago, was probably to decide on an editorial line. I’m still tinkering with it, but one thing is certain: I want this blog to be upbeat, and not over-sharing. In part because of the image I want to project, in part because, as my mother used to say, “Small sorrows speak; great ones are silent”, but mostly because I believe that we should try to uplift the public discourse, and not add to the constant stream of negativity online.
However, this may turn out to be a bit delicate as I write down my experience participating in the Rails Hackathon last week.
For the whole month, I had been waiting for this hackathon like a kid waits for Christmas. My previous and only experience participating in a Hackathon was in 2016, for the last Ruby Rampage, and it was great – we even ended up third! Needless to say, I was very confident for this one.
I enlisted 2 great devs I had worked with previously, and we came up with a great idea. We had a plan, we felt ready, I couldn’t wait for the hackathon to start – even if, unfortunately, the kick-off was at 2am here on the GMT +1 time zone. And yet, in the end we didn’t even submit our entry, because in spite of our efforts, it wasn’t ready. In fact, it was in the sorriest state a project can be, with all features started but none finished.
My disappointment after throwing the towel was proportional to my excitement starting the project, and to be honest I felt depressed for a few days – to the point that I haven’t looked at the other entries, nor the winners, yet. And the more disturbing thing is that, no matter how I try to post-mortem this experience, I cannot escape the conclusion that I’m responsible for this forfeiting.
We faced difficulties managing the project (our goal was not as clear as we thought, the dispatching of the tasks was probably not optimal), and we lost a lot of time on the design, but these are normal hiccups in any project, and I don’t think that they are the root cause. And, obviously, none of my teammate is to blame for their effort or work – they both are really good developers and they did a great job.
However, in retrospect, I believe that our team lacked cohesion. It is a leadership failure, and I was the one acting as a leader. Which was doubly a mistake: first, I did a poor job of kind-of leading the team, but more importantly, I shouldn’t have taken this role in the first place! In my excitement, I failed to see that instead of nurturing everyone’s interest, involvement, and initiatives, I occupied all the space in our conversations, and certainly took the wind from my teammate’s sails.
Considering my experience and the responsibilities I aspire to, this is very embarrassing. I’ll keep this lesson in mind and, hopefully, will do better next year!