Apprenticeship Patterns: Sweep The Floor

This week, I wanted to discuss the “Sweep the Floor” pattern. This pattern pertains to being a new member on a project, and being unaware of your position on the team. Likewise, the team may also be skeptical of the apprentice. The overall goal of the apprentice is to successfully contribute, gain the team’s trust, and evolve along the software craftsmen journey.

The author makes a good point to remain humble throughout all this, but the best way to secure your position and prove yourself, is to tackle any and all objectives. By volunteering for simple yet necessary tasks, you are displaying that you are willing to contribute high-quality work, no matter how basic the problem is. It’s important to note that the most essential features of programs are the ones that are not glamorous, so focusing on them is crucial. The book defines Paul’s story as an apprentice who began sweeping literal floors, and the n was given more responsibility. From building computers and installing software on them, to gradually being allowed to write code for technical projects, he started at the bottom and gradually progressed. This is the epitome of the software craftsmanship journey. While not everyone will be sleeping on the floor like Paul, “the tasks you volunteer for will matter just as much to the ongoing health of the team.”

I think the most important aspect of this pattern is to work hard to gain experience, display your skills to your team, and gain their trust. In most situations, having a college degree does not guarantee that you should earn anyone’s trust. Trust is earned in time by being able to exhibit your catalog of programming skills. If you can present effective programming solutions that benefit your team, you will be rewarded and respected.  Therefore, by taking the long road and getting the most out of your apprenticeship, you will understand that you are a beginner; and there will always be an abundance to learn on this journey.

This pattern has taught me some good tips for sweeping the floor and taking the initiative to prove my abilities. Even for situations when I’m doing an unfavorable task, I will attempt to enjoy it and be ambitious, to deliver a creative solution. In addition, this pattern was relevant to me for the Capstone project, for I have not worked with any of my teammates prior to this opportunity. With this project, and future work projects, I will never shy away from a task and I will deliver solutions to the best of my ability.


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