Getting Out of a Rut

A couple weeks ago, Patrick and I got ourselves into a mental rut. For a few days, Patrick was slaving away on server configurations. I was trying to figure out how we were going to charge credit cards on a monthly basis without storing customers’ credit card information. I started to get in trouble when attempting to merge two unaccepted patches for the Active Merchant Ruby library into something workable. Patrick and I like just about nothing worse than configuring servers and trying to fix unacceptable code. It was eating away at our morale; we could feel it; and it was slowing us down.

One night I wrote an email to Patrick explaining my despair and suggested we work together for a few days. Within minutes Patrick replied admitting that he was just about to write the exact same email.

The following day we pair-programmed our way through the Authorize.Net Automated Recurring Billing patch for Active Merchant. Not only did we see a task drop off our to-do list, we got the morale boost we needed to go back to individual work.

Although I largely agree with developer isolation as described by Fog Creek Software and 37signals, you just need to work together sometimes.

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4 thoughts on “Getting Out of a Rut

  1. Ian Lotinsky Post author

    You’re very welcome! Once Patrick and I started working on it, it felt rewarding. We also learned some good coding practices and Ruby techniques reading the existing trunk code.

    Thanks for making credit card charging in Ruby friendly!

    Reply
  2. Sam Purtill

    Glad to hear things are going well. When I run into a wall I just take a day off, that always helps to clear the mind. Then when you go back and look at the problem you realize you were just overworked and under slept, so the problem becomes really easy after that :D

    Keep me updated on things, good stuff.

    Reply

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