Day18 & Day19 - Apprenticeship - one month in

05/02/20192 Min Read — In Retrospective

It's the beginning of May which also means that my first month as an apprentice came to an end. It's crazy how time flies, really, and this post explains how I reviewed my first weeks.


On Tuesday I filled out the self-assessment questionnaire which I already filled out on my second day. The self-assessment helps you to assess your skills in specific topics of the six apprenticeship categories which are testing, software design, communication, agile methods, learning, and tools. When you fill out this questionnaire another time (so as I did today), the most interesting part, of course, is to see the changes. So as soon as I filled out the questionnaire, I compared it with my first self-assessment and then I started wondering. The comparison of both self-assessment states that there is only a single topic in which I improved my skills. In most topics, I made the same assessment as I did four weeks ago. And then there are also a few topics in which my abilities allegedly got worse. Uh? 😲

An Attempt to Explain

I can think of two possible reasons for this phenomenon. One could be that I just ranked myself too high at the first self-assessment. This sounds quite obvious to me, as I have been introduced to many new topics and approaches in recent weeks. This makes you realize how much you actually don't know. Another possible reason for this is that the self-assessment is not based on hard facts or numbers, but more on your personal opinion and feelings which may also change on a daily basis.


Today I had a retrospective with my mentors and my PM about my first month as an apprentice. I used this session for two special purposes, both of which are very important to me.

In the first point, I introduced how I felt so far, what I've done over the last four weeks (learning Elixir, doing Katas and some self-organization topics), what I thought I'd actually do (much more in the area of TDD) and how I could roughly imagine my next weeks. That was the way I communicated my views to others.

But the second point was more exciting for me: an interactive session I planned before. My aim for this second point was a bit the other way around than the first point, namely to receive feedback from my colleagues. Therefore I have created an online board which my colleagues could edit in live mode. This board consists of three columns and I pleased my colleagues to create notes and stick them to the corresponding columns. The board was organized as follows:

  • The first column is the "Start / do more in ..." column. The notes in this column tell me which topics or questions the others consider particularly relevant to me. These must be topics which are worthwhile for me to learn or deepen knowledge or also to answer certain questions myself.

  • The second column is the "Stop/do less in ..." column. Notes in this column signal to me which things it might not be worthwhile to pursue further or at least not in the current manner.

  • The third and last column is the "Continue/stick with ..." column. This column tells me which points are still important for me and must have gone properly as they would have landed in the second column otherwise.

To put it in a nutshell, this 3-column method was a good way for me to get feedback since it is more about getting suggestions than just opinions.

See you tomorrow with a shorter blog post :-)