Double Agent Profile: Justin Schoen

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Double Agent Profile: Justin Schoen


Name: Justin Schoen
Designation: Agent 00103
Double Agent Role: Senior Software Consultant
Special Skills: Test Driven Development, Agile, Extreme Programming
Aliases: LinkedIn
Location: Cleveland, OH
Favorite Emoji:

What are you proudest of doing in the past year at work?

A team I worked on was able to drop our cycle time from 8 days to 4 days. It was fun and challenging to iterate on different strategies for lowering our cycle time. We tried limiting our work in progress, doing code reviews synchronously as soon as they were ready for review, open Slack calls for increased collaboration, rotating pair partners, and whole team mobbing on the first card of a new project. We ended up lowering our cycle time, but more importantly we delivered higher quality work, grew our relationships with each other, became a favorite team for product owners to work with, and became somewhat of a model for other teams at our organization.

Looking ahead, what has you most excited for the next year at work?

I’m passionate about helping the teams I work on become more agile. The principles and values of agility can be manifested in a number of ways and I enjoy discovering new ways for teams to get there.

What is your favorite thing about being a Double Agent at Test Double?

I like having a Support Agent. It’s nice to have someone that is there when I need to vent or when I need some guidance on how to approach a problem with a client. It’s slightly different from the role of a manager, but I think it’s sometimes better because I feel like I can be more transparent.

What do you think makes Test Double unique?

The hive mind of smart people that are willing to help at all times. We have a number of different Slack channels related to different topics/technical areas such as Ruby, Javascript, Elixir, testing, agile, etc. If you have a question about something and post in one of those channels, there is always someone willing to help. It’s kind of like an in-house higher level Stack Overflow on steroids. This is powerful because the client gets the double agents that are deployed plus the support from the rest of Test Double when the double agents need more expertise.

What have you been thinking about a lot lately in software development, and why?

I’m thinking about serverless architecture and devops because I’m working on a couple of side projects which are forcing me to learn and understand how to deploy code in a production environment. It’s something that I take for granted because it’s always been taken care of at each company I’ve worked for. One of my apps is run on AWS Lambda deployed by the AWS Serverless Architecture Model and the other is managed through AWS Elastic Container Service. I had no prior experience with either, so it’s been fun and challenging to work with these new to me technologies.

I’m also thinking about a hot topic in software delivery: slow pull requests. Many little things can cause pull requests to take a long time to resolve. It’s not only delivery speed that is affected by slow pull requests, it also bleeds into quality and job satisfaction. The most common “fixes” I’ve seen are to bug the team to review code more often or set aside time throughout their day to commit to reviewing code. These “fixes” have trade-offs, such as context switching, and sometimes yield short term gains. But eventually, reviews start piling up and slowing down again. I put “fixes” in quotes because slow reviews aren’t a problem that can be solved by simply making them faster. Slow pull requests aren’t actually even the problem at all, but rather a side effect of more deeply rooted issues in the team’s culture around building software.

Tell me about something memorable that happened to you last year.

It feels lame saying it out loud (rather, typing it) but I’m proud of it. I shot a 76 at Pinehurst No. 2. It’s a championship golf course in North Carolina that’s hosted several US Opens. I birdied 5 of my first 8 holes and played the round of my life.

What has you most excited this year outside of work?

A couple of my close friends from college are getting married and I’m in the bridal party. I enjoy indulging in some liquid courage and hitting the dance floor with my wife, as long as the DJ knows how to get the people going.

What book/podcast/movie/TV show have you been thinking about a lot lately, and why?

I started to read a bit more in the past year and I recently finished the IQ series by Joe Ide. It’s a bit of a mystery/thriller so you may like it if you’re into that. I’m also a golf nerd so I listen to a couple of different podcasts that interview various players on the PGA Tour and talk about who to bet on for the given week. My favorite is probably Golf’s Subpar, but Fairway Rollin’ is a close second. As for TV, my wife and I cannot get enough of The Great British Baking Show.

What are you looking forward to most post-pandemic?

Not having to think about it anymore. It’s become this never ending mental dance when I’m trying to make plans or visit friends and family. I don’t want to think about who someone else has been in contact with or who I’m going to see in the next 2 weeks.

What’s something interesting about you that’s not on your resume or LinkedIn?

I played golf for the University of Mount Union, and in October of 2014, myself and two of my teammates made and recorded a trick shot. A few days later ESPN tweeted that they were looking for submissions for their top Neighborhood (non-professional, user submitted) plays of the month so we tweeted back our YouTube video of the shot and they responded by asking if they could use it on their platforms. We obviously said “of course”. Two days later they showed the Neighborhood top plays of the months and we were the #1 play. It was incredibly awesome and I can never deny the opportunity to tell that story. This actually used to be on my resume under the “Achievements” section.

Oh, and my last name is pronounced as Shane.



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