ASKing to win
Giving and accepting feedback at Dev Bootcamp
Being in DBC requires quite a bit of teamwork! By Pair programming, we’re learning how to work with lots of different kinds of people, and learning about how to give and accept feedback in the process. Today I’m going to talk about how pairing and feedback feels for me, and I encourage you to check out my colleagues’ posts to see how they feel about it!
As a reminder, Pairing is the process of two programmers working together on code at the same time. check out the page I made with one of MY previous pairs talking about what pair programming is!
What was it like to pair with others to solve challenges?
If you know me, you know I’m ALL ABOUT TEAMWORK! Working in a pair is great! you get to think about ideas together, test things out, have someone check your work, and you get to share the range of emotions you go through when trying to solve a challenge, from frustration to joy!
Was something particularly fun or rewarding?
Ah-Ha moments are my favorite. When we spend time hitting block upon block and the tensions rise, then finally after slowing down, or stepping back or grilling eachother, we find a solution that pulls us through, that is true victory! I’m even well known by now for laughing in the face of my challenges, just ask my recent pairs!
Was something frustrating and difficult for you?
I find the only frustrating thing in pairing is when you are working with someone that just isnt on the same page with me. We’re all coming to our pair sessions with different things on our minds, or things we’re dealing with externally, so sometimes that can hinder our ability to make things happen in tandem. Being on the same page isn’t about having the same technical capacity as the other person, so much as it’s about both people present and willing to make the same ammount of effort to learn and solve the challenge together.
Feedback is VERY important in DBC. The way we give feedback uses ASK. A stands for Actionable, S stands for Specific, and K stands for Kind. Whenever we complete a pairing session with someone, we have to give them feedback. Below is a summarized listing of feedback that was given to me by my past pairs! THANKS EVERYONE!
How did you feel when you read your feedback?
I was nervous to read it at first. It’s hard to work with a range of skilled peers and wonder if they’re catching what you’re putting out there. After I read my feedback, I felt more confident in my approaches with others, and excited to continue with my work.
Was the feedback you received helpful to your learning?
Some of the feedback was very nice, and I appreciate all the wonderful encouragement for me to keep being the positive, communicative person that I am. What’s helped me with my learning is getting the Actionable feedback that helps me understand where I can be better.
Based on the feedback you’ve received, what are you going to do to improve next time you pair?
My feedback has a lot to do with time; something I know I struggle with. My next pair sessions will be much more structured, I’ve started implementing that already, and I look forward to improving on that even more. Other feedback that I’ve received is about learning more, getting into the research, and getting the hang of what I’m doing. I think as I learn how to better timebox, I’ll have more time to do just that.
How was it to write feedback?
Writing feedback can be difficult, if you want it to meet the high standards of the FEEDBACKINATOR (a DBC platform for our peers to evaluate our submitted feedback, checking if it is Actionable, Specific and Kind enough). DBC asks us to write our feedback ANONYMOUSLY, (meaning, not mentioning the persons name you’re writing the feedback for) and I took that to mean writing feedback in third person. After a while, I noticed most of the feedback people were writing were written as if they were being written to “you”, and since then I’ve shifted how I write my feedback. Additionally, I think It’s hard not to be overly nice in your feedback. There’s a nice balance that needs to be met when writing kind feedback. Kind is more about being constructive, and positive in your feedback, not necesarrily nice. Last, I feel writing constructive criticism is empowering. Always thinking about how others can improve is like contributing to the betterment of your peers, the class as a whole, and the Programming field at large.
What was most difficult for you when writing feedback for your pair?
It’s best to write feedback as you go along. I’ve had many times where I’ve paired with someone on a long challenge, and inbetween our trying to comlpete the challenge, I work on other challenges, or I work with other pairs, so when it comes time to give feedback, I’m trying to recall all the specific moments my pair did something great, or did something they can work better at. In order for it to be more specific and actionable, I’ve got to be more intentional about that.
Overall, what do you think of using pairing and feedback to guide your learning?
Pairing and feedback has been really instrumental in my learning in particular, As mentioned in my previous post about my learning styles, I tend to learn most in group settings, and my thinking style is visual, so having the feedback to refer to as I’ve organized above, helps me compartmentalize what it is I can do to be better. I can’t stress enough how pleasantly surprised I am to see that this is the way I will be working in my future!