Pinesoft cyber-dojo

I ran a cyber-dojo at the Agile Cambridge conference recently. One of the participants, Alex Graff, decided to run a cyber-dojo at his place of work, Pinesoft in central London. Nine players participated and their comments on the session included: "really good", and "a lot of fun".

Alex ran the session broadly as I did in Cambridge, as a metaphor:
  • the kata on each computer represents a feature for a product, with the product being the sum of all those features
  • the tests for each computer (which are visible to all computers) use a simple traffic light display, green light if all tests pass, red light if some tests are failing, yellow light is the tests can't be run (eg syntax error)
  • if everyone's tests pass all the lights will be green which represents a stable releasable build
  • if any computer's light is not green, the build is broken and can't be released to the client
Periodically Alex called for a release which was the cue for everyone to work towards simultaneous green lights. This took a long time the first time (as it always does) but the players quickly increased their collaboration (the game's prime directive) to work collectively towards a faster release.

Alex cleverly arranged a pair of developers at each computer - except for one. This gave all the participants experience of working in pairs most of the time but also having the occasional period of working alone. During the retrospective he asked how players felt when not in a pair. Responses included "totally different", "isolated", "felt lonely" and "the worst thing was not having someone to discuss with". The single-person laptop was also located some way off to the side, away from the other laptops which usefully served to enhance the difference.

Alex also reports that one of the highlights (and aims) of his session was getting all our developers working together.
Thank you Alex.