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First Event Recap - Code Review & Pairing

We had our first Code Review & Pairing event this past Tuesday, June 12 and I think it was a great success! We had 34 people join us at DevMynd to meet with a Mentee or a Mentor and discuss code review feedback and have a short pairing session.

We received a lot of great feedback both during and after the event. I want to share what we’ve learned and what we’ll be improving for our next event on Tuesday, July 10.

We started with some announcements as well as a micro talk about pair programming, the driver/navigator pair model, and basic pairing etiquette. We will continue to include micro talks to kick off our events but will limit all talks/presentations to the first 15 minutes of the event.

A slide from our micro introduction to pairing stressing the importance of communication
A slide from our micro introduction to pairing stressing the importance of communication

After reading out the Mentor and Mentee pairs as an easy way for people to find each other, we realized that space was a little bit limited. We had more people than I originally anticipated for the event so we had pairs break off and use DevMynd’s conference rooms for their session. This worked great as the noise factor of having so many simultaneous pairing sessions in one room hadn’t occurred to me. While there isn’t much we can do about a noisy space, it did make me realize that having pairs separate is not a bad thing and will help to expand the locations able to host our events.

The pairing sessions were lively and I received a lot of great feedback from the Mentees about how much they learned and how excited they are for future events. From the conversations that were shared with me, topics covered included the importance of version control, code smells, state management, managing 3rd party dependencies, debugging, and more.

“I’ve only gotten to interact with one mentor so far, but he was just the profile I was hoping for: super experienced in the framework, really passionate about helping, made us feel comfortable, challenged us to prioritize, etc. I would say overall the event well exceeded my expectations.”

“The code mentoring was phenomenal! I felt like a kid in a candy shop! My mentor, Doug Bell, was fantastic! A total Javascript pro!”

One of our pairs working on the Mentee's game
One of our pairs working on the Mentee's game

I did receive feedback from some Mentors that the purpose of the pairing session and how it related to the code review was confusing. We’ve updated our website copy and event descriptions to be more clear about what to expect and have provided an agenda for future events.

Overall, I couldn’t be happier with how our first event went and how enthusiastic our attendees were. We couldn’t have a community without our Mentors and Mentees and I’m overjoyed to have so many amazing people join us.

Changes we’re implementing for July 10

Special thanks to Andy Lester, Keanan Koppenhaver, and Dan Rumney for having a postmortem discussion with me that helped drive this blog post

The group getting ready to get started
The group getting ready to get started
Audrey pairing with her Mentor
Audrey pairing with her Mentor
Matt and his two Mentees looking at code on the TV screen
Matt and his two Mentees looking at code on the TV screen
David and Peter pairing together
David and Peter pairing together
Gabi pairing with her Mentee
Gabi pairing with her Mentee