Chris Roos by Chris Roos

Week 393

G’day folks,

There’s been a distinct lack of week notes for the past 10 weeks or so (since week 383). We managed to miss a few weeks and then found that it became harder to motivate ourselves to write any at all. I’d like to think we’ll fill in the gaps (some of them have already been written) but in the meantime I’m going to try to write about week 393 while it’s fresh(ish) in my mind.

Smart Answers


James and I finished working on Smart Answers on Thursday. Or finished working on Smart Answers at Aviation House, at least. There are a couple of small things we want to finish but we’ll do those remotely over the coming week. It’s possible we’ll be back to help out in future but we haven’t agreed to anything yet.


We spent most of our time either preparing for or taking part in a number of handover meetings with various people in the team. These meetings took quite a lot of time away from normal development so I really hope that were useful! This was a slightly different style of handover to what we’ve done in the past but it felt like a pragmatic approach. Particularly given the amount we wanted to discuss, the number of people involved and the relatively short time in which we had to do it.


We did manage to fit a little bit of development in amongst the various handover meetings. James managed to tidy up a spike of some work that should help the Content Designers work with, and edit the content of, Smart Answers. There was a positive response after demoing it last week so James was keen to finish it so that people could start using it. James also updated our regression test task so that it renders question pages as text instead of html. The content tools development team has recently been joined by a front end designer, Anika. Making this change should hopefully make Anika’s life easier as she improves the neglected front end of Smart Answers.


I spent some time pairing with Pablo to finish some refactoring work we’d started on overseas-passports. We’d started the work a week or so ago so it was really good to get it finished before James and I left.


Monthly drinks

We headed to the Seven Stars for our GFR monthly drinks on Wednesday. It was my first of 2016 (having returned from my travels on the 1st July) and we had an enjoyable evening stood outside in the warm (albeit occasionally a little damp) weather.


I met with Andrew Pavord at FilmFixer on Friday morning (we originally met back in week 336 and have kept in touch since). It was good to catch up and hear how they’ve been getting on with their software development. It’s always interesting talking to Andrew and learning more about the fascinating world of the film industry.

Annual accounts

I spent some time talking to our accountant, Paul, on Friday afternoon. We’re still trying to get our annual accounts submitted and I’d been tasked with checking the accounts that had been produced. I couldn’t quite understand where some of the figures had come from and Paul very patiently answered all my questions and explained how various numbers had been calculated. Paul was particularly good at communicating over the phone: making it easy for me to ensure we were both looking at the same data. This process reminded me of remote pairing in that you need to be much more explicit about what you’re doing than when you’re sitting next to someone.

I think that’s about all for now. Let’s see whether this helps unblocks our weeknote backlog!

– Chris

If you have any feedback on this article, please get in touch!

Historical comments can be found here.