Let’s face it… I’m a creature of habit. And after/during every Salesforce.org Open Source Community Sprint, I like to write a blog post. Sometimes to highlight the accomplishments of my team. Sometimes to benchmark my own learning and growth. Sometimes to document I was there and this is what it was really like. This one is no different!
What will I remember from this sprint? Hopefully it won’t be the two-hour-debugging-session that made me nearly throw my computer out the 11th story window near my office. Because while that was frustrating and slightly humiliating, it was also instructive and humbling and gave me some practice with assertive communication. Like saying, “I’m _still_ stuck!” That’s one of the hardest sentences in my vocabulary… but if I don’t own it, I’ll never grow.
Once, I was at an in-person sprint event in a luxe hotel where there was a team of videographers. They were creating promo videos to highlight the way people who work with Salesforce nonprofit and higher ed products like to collaborate with each other. One of them noticed me give someone a genuinely serious high-five and resolved to get it on film. The result was a staged re-do of the highfive so that they could get it from 17 different angles. By the end, I felt the least exuberant of my normally bubbling-over self – and that’s saying something coming from me!
The original-high-five-moment is what I want to be replicating, but with real wins! This sprint offered that opportunity manyfold.
We had the unparalleled blessing of the same people attending a mini-breakout-room for both days of the sprint, so we got to dig in and do some deep work together. Each person who had the programs downloaded onto their computer had a chance to screenshare and practice writing recipes for the program Snowfakery to create datasets of fake data. This requires SO much courage and so much community support. I’m really proud that we could foster this environment!
Among and between writing snippets of code, reading documentation, and asking curious questions, there were many virtual high fives, shoulder dances, slack emojis, and genuine, audible, laugher. Gentle teasing is a love language, and it was present in heaps.
The laughter is sticking with me more than any individual contribution or accomplishment. It was echoing in my head when I went to sleep last night, and it is still on my mind. True collaboration is goofy, experimental, creative, and risk embracing. If we already knew how to do it already, sprints would be tedious! Pushing the limits of technology with a social justice agenda – at its best – should offer invitations to challenge social norms, hierarchies, and anything that can be alluded to with the phrase that’s just the way it’s always been. Enter, Sprinty the dancing dinosaur. Hearing my team embrace I’m not sure or let’s try it and see what happens makes me incessantly optimistic. How many times in life do you have permission to succeed at low stakes experiments, and share the rewards with hundreds of eager collaborators? And burst out with giggles when something unexpected happens? I wish work, school, writing, volunteering, and home life was more like that sometimes! I’m lucky to attend a Pilates studio where laughter is an animating and connecting force, but many athletic zones feel quite the opposite for many of us!
Maybe I feel so comfortable because I’m a veteran participant, a leader even, with lots of people to catch me if I fall, and a reputation to lean on. I’m sincerely hoping that other participants feel equally supported to be their quirky selves and that the culture we are co-creating continues to reward creative thinking more than racking up accolades. At the end of the day, PRs are meaningless to me if we haven’t been laughing.
I write these posts for a few reasons, some personal some communal.
- For readers who don’t feel called to join an event like this, do you talk about tech problems with your friends? If you do, can you imagine it being FUN?
- For readers who do, did you laugh with your team? Bottle up that joy and leave me a comment!