Improvised Coding Dojo

Coding Dojo at AgileOpen 2007In 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.

About Eric Lefevre-Ardant

Independent technical consultant.
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3 Responses to Improvised Coding Dojo

  1. ehsavoie says:

    Coding Dojo are great. We put one in place this summer near Grenoble and I can’t wait to do it again. But I think it will have to wait after the Agile Tour 2008, to busy right now.
    Do you have any shareable resources to help put one in place quickly. ?

  2. Well, in addition to the usual material that you can find on the web, I do have my own presentation that I used a few times to introduce the concepts behind a Coding Dojo.
    Check it out there:

  3. Pingback: Eric Lefevre-Ardant on Java & Agile » Next Talk: TDD Training

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