My first 100 days as a member of Base Lab have passed real fast. Over this period I have made detailed notes on what I did and how I felt each day. It has been an interesting experiment that, as it turns out, has provided some good material for a blog post. So that you, dear reader, get a better understanding of how my journey went I need to give you some basic information.
To get to know me a little have a look at my Linkedin profile. You need to know that before coming to Base Lab I was in corporate and I had never worked for small companies, not to mention startups, therefore starting at Base was a big change for me.
What’s more, the technology used at Base was not something that I had worked with on a daily basis. Yet, I got the job. Weird right? Well, we’ll get to that.
Let me also tell you a little about my notes. The purpose of them was to gather data for further analysis. I regularly wrote down how I felt each day on a scale 0-100, how much I learned from a technical standpoint and how much I learned about the product and about how Base works.
This post is divided into two parts. The first one is about my feelings, company culture, and organization. In the second one, I talk about skills and technology and about what I’ve learned.
Chapter 1: There is no chaos, there is harmony – culture and organization
Without further ado, the Frame of Mind chart.
As you can see, the scale spans from 0 to 100. It’s like IMDB movie rating. If it’s 7 or more – a movie is good, 8 means it’s great and if it gets 9 it’s just one of the best movies of all time. Same here. I have also marked seven milestones and below you can find out more about each of them.
1. Day 1, 20 points
My journey at Base Lab starts as expected, considering that I am a classic introvert (INTJ personality type according to Myers-Briggs to be exact). There is a lot that an organization can do to help or to harm an introverted person on their first day. The mere fact that I’m in a new place surrounded by new people is enough to scare the shit out of me. If you add the technical gap between my previous experience and what’s used on a daily basis at Base, you will probably get what I mean. New, new, new, scary, f*ck, “take me home” attitude. But as you can see at the chart, it’s like that just on day one! The very next day gets a score of 70/100. 7/10 would mean a pretty good movie according to IMDB standards.
2. Day 8, 80 points
So we get from 20 to 80 in 6 days. Nice, right?
I get my first automation task using the new framework. Technical part will be the topic of the next post, so here let me just talk a little about the people. It is vital for a new person to have someone who takes care of them at the beginning. They know about it at Base and each newcomer gets a “buddy” – someone who is dedicated to help them with a soft landing in Base reality and with all sorts of stuff. My buddy has done an amazing job. Kudos Tomasz Nowak.
Moreover, in Base, you can feel like you are a part of something big. At the very beginning, you do not yet know why, but you notice that people are really nice and friendly. No grim faces, no fighting between teams. This is where I see the biggest cultural difference between corporations in which I worked before and Base. In Base, WE are the company.
3. Day 10, 60 points
I’m getting more and more familiar with my surroundings and the people. Each new employee attends a series of introductory meetings with representatives of various teams. They are all nice, professional and seem to be really happy that you’ve joined the team. How come all those nice and smart people happen to work in one place?
Yet, stuff that I have tested goes to production with two bugs. I am new, so I couldn’t know that feature X works like that. Still, I don’t feel OK about the fact that I have missed it. This is not the kind of quality I aim for. I have to learn more, learn it all, so it does not happen again.
4. Day 14, 80 points
During the recruitment process, I was asked, if I had any experience with mobile testing. I did not. This was not a problem apparently. It was more important that I had the right attitude.
I have always wanted to test mobiles but I have never had an opportunity to do so. On this day I am introduced to some Android related info and start with my first task. I have already prepared a list of things I need to learn at home to be able to do my job and fill in some missing pieces. This is what I’ve come here for. Love it.
5. Day 53, 85 points
A few weeks have passed. All of the initial positive impressions have only been confirmed. This is really what it’s like in here. And it works. With an amazing team, with great organization and company culture, there is nothing we could not do. If there is something that needs to be done, people meet, discuss an attack plan and just do it. There is no corporate overhead, no pointless meetings with managers, who have no idea what you are talking about. We all know this kind of managers, who are often the part of a problem, not part of a solution. Here we build stuff because it needs to be done and we know or will learn how to do it.
I am developing my mobile testing skills. The setup for mobile automation is working on my machine and I can start coding tests. Boom! More stuff that I’ve always wanted to do but never had a chance. Also, my first mobile release goes to production. Good day.
6. Day 74, 55 points
Base has just got a new customer and we are all working really hard to make it on time with the onboarding. This is going to be one of our biggest customers, so no wonder that we enter a really hot period. I just feel tired at this point. Still, so many people are working hard, fueled by pure willpower. Amazing. No one is complaining, we all know that sometimes you just need to do the job. This is a part of being a professional.
At this point let me explain very briefly how Base is organized internally. We call it Open Organized Meritocracy (we should write a whole new post about it!). There are a few teams responsible for different parts of an application and we all know what we need to do and how to do it. It really works well. Responsibilities are spread among people and we work in self-organized teams.
7. Day 80, 80 points
I am a part of a team that is responsible for the application’s performance. One of the things that need to be tested is the performance of our mobile application. On this day our mobile farm goes live and after many days we can finally see the results of our hard work. Good job team!
One of the things worth mentioning is that we hire people taking into account their future impact on our organization. So it is not pure technical skills, but the willingness to become better each day. At this point, I am working on technologies I’ve never used before, but I’ve always wanted to. As a team, we are enabling Base to grow. Isn’t it what you call impact?
In the second part of this blog post I write about more technical aspects of my first 100 days, things like learning curve, technical challenges and why mindset and attitude are more important than pure technical skills.