What a year it’s been. When I look back at my time as a graduate developer with REA Group this year, it definitely hasn’t been a typical experience. So, with that in mind, may I present a typical day in the new world of virtual working as an REA Graduate.
I’ve just made myself a delicious and well needed iced latte and am switching on my laptop in my home office to start my day.
I start my day by scrolling through Slack, catching up on any messages that have come through since I clocked off yesterday. Here at REA group, we love our Slack channels, and we have one for everything. Want to chat about cooking, gin, or even dank memes… we’ve got you covered.
I’ll then check my calendar for the day and plan anything I need for those meetings during this time. Next, I’ll look through my team’s active sprint Trello board to make sure I’m ready to give any updates on what I’ve been working on in our daily stand-up.
If I have any time left before stand-up, I’ll do a bit of work on a presentation I’m currently planning for the next round of grads’ On Week, the formal orientation program for all the newbies. As a grad, we have a commitment to the grad program to help to ensure the program can continue with its best foot forward. That might come in the form of providing feedback, participating in events to promote the program or helping organise things like On Week.
It’s stand-up time! My team gets together on our Zoom channel and walk the wall. We go through each card currently in play and give any updates, talk through any problems, and ask any questions we have. We check our sprint goals and any retro actions we have to make sure we’re on track for our current weekly sprint.
We take turns in running these sessions each week and whoever is owning it for the week is in charge of adding some spice to stand-up. This might be a new Trello background (like our current one below) or a fun Kahoot quiz to get everyone excited for the day.
Time to get to work! We have a strong pairing culture at REA, so I’ll jump on a zoom call with my current pair and continue whichever card we’ve been working on. We pair swap often, so I’ve had a chance to work with each developer in my team on a range of different tasks. It could be anything from working on a new feature, fixing up some bugs, updating some docs and many more.
Someone’s called for a kick-off! In my current team, when you pick up a new card, part of the process is doing a kick-off. They’ve sent a quick slack to the team asking for a kick-off (usually giving at least 10 mins notice) so we jump on the team’s zoom. They give us a brief overview of what the card involves, any risks, and how they plan on testing it. We ask any clarifying questions we have. This ensures everyone is across the work and minimises the chance of mistakes.
It’s lunch time! And a great part of work from home is that I can cook up something delicious. It’s a homemade pizza for me today.
After lunch, I have 30 minutes until my next meeting so I’m going to dedicate some time to self-study. This is a big bonus of the REA grad program! We are encouraged to set aside time each week for self-study. This might be watching a LinkedIn Learning course, working on a side project or even just spending time reading through some docs on a new framework you’re excited to try out.
It’s time to check in with the team. Each day, we have a post-lunch check-in which is essentially another stand up where we do a quick run through the Trello wall. This is something my team introduced for virtual work as a way to keep connecting as a team throughout the day. Of course, I can’t forget to mention, we end this meeting with a very important ritual … a team dab.
Back to work; my pair and I will continue to work on our current card. To mix it up, we might also have the opportunity to review someone else’s work or test a card that has been recently completed.
My team have a bi-weekly ritual called Special Tea Time. This is a session where we get together and spend 30 minutes going through the Sydney Morning Herald Superquiz. If you ask, we’ll tell you we get 100% every time… but in reality, that’s rarely the case and only with many a hint from the quiz master. That being said, it’s a super fun session which is a great way to get to know the team in a virtual world.
To end my day, I have an hour catchup with my mentor. In these sessions we chat all things learning goals, tech topics, or just general chat about how I’m going in my current team. I have these sessions every fortnight, but the frequency is absolutely up to me. Today we spend the time chatting about a tech framework I’ve been wanting to learn more about.
Finished for the day! And with no commute time thanks to virtual work, I have more time at the end of the day, so it’s off to the gym for me… possibly… or maybe just some extra Netflix time.