In the past three days, I have taught Test-Driven Development to a group of Java developers in Brittany. I thought it was a good idea to arrange an inpromptu Coding Dojo. That contained a moderate risk, as all dojos I knew of were attented by volunteers.
It turned out very well. Though one or two participants managed to check their emails at some point during the session, most were paying attention at all times.
A couple of things to remember for future dojos:
- In the past, I have usually attented dojos were either everyone was in front of a computer (either coding or co-piloting), or a single pair was coding in front of the others. After watching Dave Nicolette and Ryan Hoegg facilitate a dojo where all got to code in front of the public at Agile 2008, I thought this was a good way to get participants to do their best, plus let others to read code with a watchful eye.
- A participant mentionned that the exercice helped him realize that names for test methods were very important. Yay!
- For first-timers, always start with a very, very simple exercice. We did the dictionary kata (given a collection of words, find all words in a String that are not in the collection). We managed to complete it satisfactorily in 2x 30 minutes.
- We did our best to run through the code Test First, writing the tests with as little prior thinking as possible. That said, one participant suggested that pairs should talk a little before doing so, in order to get the pair to bond better. Sounds like a good suggestion, though it would probably require more time than what we had available.
All in all, I am happy with the outcome. We should include it in our course curriculum.