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Retrospective: The First Coding Dojo

After attending OneDevDay and CodeRetreat, I was gung-ho to get some regular nerdly fun going at my place of business. Accordingly, I pulled together a Wiki site, scheduled a meeting, and "just did it".

It went better than I had hoped it would. I got some great positive feedback from the attendees in our brief retrospective. I got a good vibe from everyone as we were going through the exercise.

I wanted to keep things as informal as possible, but we did follow this minimal schedule:
5:30 - 5:45 Food & Conversation
5:45 - 6:00 Description of Dojo Format. Choose topic & Codebase
6:00 - 7:20 Coding!
7:20 - 7:30 Retrospective

The team came up with the following in our retrospective:

What went well What could have gone better

  • Taking the initiative to do this.

  • Logistics / room / projector.

  • Welcoming atmosphere helped everyone dig in.

  • Small problem domain made it easy to focus on skill.

  • Everyone wrote code - even the managers!

  • More QA people should attend

  • Next time, have someone available to go on a food run.

  • More developers should attend.

  • Promote the event more - many people weren't aware of it.

We also came up with a set of ideas for future topics:

  • Refactoring

  • Selenium

  • Ping-pong pairing

  • Code retreat format

My plan is to tackle the first two over the course of the next few months. I'm not sure about the third, and I want to get in touch with Corey and/or Patrick about using their format. I think they encourage doing retreats, but they don't want the meaning of it to morph into something else, so it may not fit into a 2-hour twice-monthly meeting. If not, I'll just borrow the ideas I think will work & call it something else.
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