Friday, June 25, 2010

Two posts in one

Training sessions are always exhausting, but yesterday's in particular was mentally draining. We kicked off the morning with the Lego game, which I'd played before as a part of the interview process for ThoughtWorks. I'd enjoyed it then, so I came into the game with a pretty laid back attitude, confident that our team would do well because we had another TWUer who'd played before as well. Our first iteration went smoothly - we had been appropriately conservative with our sign-ups and were the only team that had all our stories approved by our "client" - and at that point, I was arbitrarily (RPS) assigned the role of Project Manager within our team in addition to being the only BA.

Shit metaphorically hit the fan during the second iteration. We signed up for a lot of stories. In retrospect, it was still feasible, but we didn't address the issue of how we would compile it all together in the last minute and I became very nervous. The second round began, and suddenly, questions were being solely at me instead of to the client - questions about decisions that we should've all been making together or asking the client. It didn't help that we were all trying to attach our individual pieces onto the Lego "torso" and that our creation kept falling apart while all this was happening. In fact, I think that's what elevated my panic the most - that in the midst of trying to meet the demands and answer the questions of my frenzied teammates, the very thing we were creating was literally disassembling before our eyes and at our fingertips.

After a pretty demoralizing retrospective, we started on round 3. We set some rules, like the fact that only one pair of hands was allowed on the creation at any point, and that we needed to engage the client and ask her questions/put pressure on her to make some of the decisions instead of guessing by ourselves/making me decide. We pulled through in the end and met all our stories, but I was pretty surprised and a little disappointed in myself for having basically freaked out when things didn't go right and in turn, freaking others on my team out as well. I received some very helpful feedback and definitely walked away from that session with a lot of new insight, though, which I suppose is the moral of the story here - you don't know how well you work under pressure and stress with others until you're attaching the sixth Lego leg of your creation with 8 seconds left on the clock...

I definitely needed a drink after all that, so that evening we headed out to Barbecue Nation, a relatively well-known buffet-style restaurant chain that features live grilling right at each table. Check out this video of us crossing Old Airport Road, this is how we get around town and it's always terribly exciting/frightening:

And some pictures a Barbecue Nation:

Overall, the restaurant was great. My Pina Colada was a little too heavy/frothy to go well with all the meats, which was a shame, but the delicious mud pie dessert more than made up for it. Remember that scene in Matilda where the misbehaved boy has to eat an entire delicious gooey chocolate cake? I started to feel a bit like him about halfway through this cake, it was that intense, man.

So yeah, that was all yesterday's adventuring. I spent tonight at the office eating chicken biryani and catching up on pre-course work with a few fellow TWUers. It's weird/awesome, you'd think we'd all get sick of each other from training, but we all manage to congregate at night and continue to enjoy each other's company.

The outside (sort of) part of our Bangalore office, where we enjoyed our meal.

This came in an aluminum foil-esque bag and weighed approximately three pounds. I got through maybe two cups of it before my stomach could take no more...but it was thoroughly delicious.

Duda (from Brazil) and Toby (from England...I call him "To-bay!") working on assembling a Ruby discussion for tomorrow's open space.

There's a Saturday trip out to Mysore coming up, and part of me wants to go, but another part of me just wants to stay in and sleep and do laundry and write e-mails and get over this nasty cough. Hope you enjoyed this XXL entry!

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