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The Collab Lab

Cohort 3 Recap

Andrew Hedges
Pro web dev since 1998. Veteran of startups, universities, non-profits, Digg, Disney, and Apple. Engineering Manager @ Zapier. Founder @ The Collab Lab.
・2 min read

Something we’re quickly learning at The Collab Lab is that every cohort we run is different. It makes sense! Each is a unique collection of participants and mentors with different strengths and weaknesses. The other thing we’re quickly learning is that every cohort is amazing in their own way!

TCL-3 got off to a somewhat rocky start. We had 2 participants drop out after the first week and had to scramble to fill the spots. Luckily, we found 2 amazing people to make the group complete again!

This cohort ended up composed of the following lovely people: Amber Jiles, Mike Ramirez, Monica Johnson, and Nikema Prophet. The mentors were Lars Brekken, Stacie Taylor-Cima, & Steve Gardner.

TCL-3 on our weekly sync call

What made this cohort stand apart was their tenacity.

The Collab Lab is structured such that the 4 developers pair off each week to take on 1 story from the backlog over the course of the 8 weeks. A couple of weeks in, we fell behind on keeping that pace. We talked as a group about the situation and decided not to extend the project, but rather chose what scope was highest priority and focused on getting that done within the original 8-week plan.

The group decided to mob program the last week, assigning leads for the 2 tasks they wanted to accomplish. Monica and Nikema stepped up into those leadership roles and did great jobs at it!

Other examples of overcoming adversity and going above and beyond from this group include the following:

  • Monica working from a shared laptop (not even sure how she managed that!)
  • Nikema blogging consistently throughout the project about what she was learning
  • Mike sharing his experience as a tech recruiter with Nikema and others
  • Hitting the Firebase query limit (which, to be fair, has happened to every cohort so far!)
  • Nikema and others proactively finding bugs in the app and filing issues
  • Nikema, in particular, submitting refactor PRs a couple of times during the course of the project
  • Working around a fair bit of travel from the group; Mike went to Germany over the Christmas holiday; Steve, Stacie, and Andrew all had a work retreat smack in the middle of it all
  • At least 1 participant and 1 of the mentors were almost brand new to React, so they had to learn doubly fast!

One of the things I love on our weekly calls is when our kids “disrupt” the call. Several of us in this group are parents, which occasionally leads to adorable moments like the following (skip ahead to the 11 minute mark)…

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