On 19th March Gordon and I attended a 2 day agile coding retreat in St Austell, Cornwall. Hosted by Kevlin Henney and Jon Jagger the retreat was organised for developers to discuss, practice and improve their software craftsmanship, communication and creativity. Having personally never attended such an event before I was interested to see if there was an opportunity for me to hone my programming skills to ultimately improve my performance as a developer. And I was not disappointed!
Throughout the 2 days all the attendees worked in different pairs or more (mob-pragramming) using the shared learning environment of Cyber-dojo to improve their powers of communication and test-driven development (TDD). Cyber-dojo is an online development environment that provides code puzzle exercises in a choice of different languages with the ability to measure the time and status of unit tests.
The real insight for me in these workshops was to not solve the solution as quickly as possible but to focus on the process of working within the small, iterative learning cycles of PDSA:
Working in a repetitive manner, even on the same puzzle within different pairs, gave everyone chance to exercise these coding habits continuously. After 2 days it became second nature for everyone to work like this. Following each exercise everyone collectively reviewed each pair’s tests and code to see how each other could improve their approaches in the following iteration. Kevlin and Jon’s experience and advice were always offered and appreciated at this point.
So without giving any more away I would definitely recommend this event to any developer wishing to improve their software craftmanship using TDD and the powers of communication.
I would like to thank the following for making this a worthwhile, unique experience which I’m sure will resonate in my every day life as a developer: