Diver's slate in the shower

A few people have asked me about the Diver's Slate - am I worried that without it I will forget the ideas that come to me in the shower? It's partly that yes - but mostly it's something else. It's more that my mind is rubbish at remembering things, so without somewhere to write the ideas down I have to play mental keepy-uppy trying not to drop them. The keepy-uppy effort blocks other ideas from following along and I think the ideas know that! But when they see the Diver's Slate they say to each other "it's ok, the way is clear, follow me". You have to encourage ideas - they can be quite timid creatures.

See also Family Writeboards.

cyber-dojos at accu conference

Here are some photos of the first of three cyber-dojos Olve Maudal and I ran at the accu conference. In a cyber-dojo the developers at each laptop all do the same kata exercise via a web browser. Every so often a small bell rings and each laptop has to then get to green (all tests passing). Only when all laptops get to green does the 'improvement cycle' end (I've decided I'm not going to use the word 'iteration' any more). At the start of each improvement cycle the developers create new groups and move to a new laptop.

I have observed that even when given explicit instructions that the kata is a team exercise and not a competition, once a small group of developers has settled at a laptop a strong "silo" mentality takes hold; N laptops leads to N silos. I've only run a few cyber-dojos but already I have seen examples of players explicitly asking if they are allowed to talk to the other groups! Of players about to ask a question to the other groups and their partners stopping them, etc. Is there anything we could introduce to cyber-dojo to help participants break out of this mentality? To "think team" when at a laptop? I welcome any ideas.

Mike Long (who attended the 2nd accu cyber-dojo and is a thoroughly nice bloke) has written a blog entry on his cyber-dojo experience.