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19 Nov 2010

by Noel

A Reflection on Working in a Team

Being in the office more frequently has given me more opportunity to work in a team; for better or worse (and mostly worse, in my opinion) the PhD students in my lab tended to work alone. An interesting example of the benefits of team working arose a few days ago. We are in the process of shifting Kahu from its current colo server to a VM. As part of this move we want to benchmark the two servers, to make sure the new VM isn’t going to give us an unexpected performance hit. To do the benchmarking we needed to log more performance statistics, and adding logging to our code was the task Dave and I were working on. I started with a grand plan: we would write three libraries, one for logging, one for bechmarking, and one for logging benchmark data. I remember feeling frustrated as we discussed it as the plan was clear in my mind and I thought I could easily get on and code it alone. However, as we talked more it became apparent the existing tools we had were good enough for most of what we wanted. In the end we wrote a single macro and were done. From three libraries down to four lines of code is a pretty good reduction in effort.

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