4 Tips to Dojo for Collaborative Programming

When a development team “throws down at the dojo,” the result might not look as exciting as it would at a judo dojo, but it could be just as rewarding. In an article for ITworld, Kristin Burnham explains that a dojo is another form of collaborative programming, where a handful of programmers grab a conference room and take turns spending a few minutes coding. Here are the benefits of dojos and the right ways to conduct them.

Defeat Does Not Exist in This Dojo

To a certain point, having more than one person address the same challenge will ensure a higher level of quality in the final product. At the very least, it minimizes the odds of one person making a silly mistake. But more than that, just the act of people talking through their code with each other is likely to inspire greater creativity. A bit of serendipitous conversation could take code from good to outstanding. Additionally, one more benefit is that dojos (and pair and mob programming) allow knowledge sharing, which is instrumental to building cross-functional teams.

To actually get started with a dojo, Burnham suggests a few steps:

  1. Assess company culture.
  2. Gauge trust.
  3. Try out one dojo.
  4. Find supporters.

Company culture needs to offer enough freedom to teams that they feel comfortable trying a dojo in the first place. Likewise, team members need to trust and respect each other if they are to work side-by-side to complete the same challenge. (A dojo might last a couple hours to meet the selected challenge.) Conduct a trial run dojo to see who really takes to the idea, and to see who is disinterested. Obviously, there need to be more supporters than shoulder-shruggers for it to work:

“Walk around and ask developers what types of things they’re working on in their own time. A lot of developers write code outside of work or might invest in learning a new programming language,” [Jeffrey Hammond, principle analyst at Forrester Research] says. “Those are the motivated ones, and the ones you want to target. Figure out which ones are most likely to engage and give them exciting things to work on.”

Walk the path together and become masters. You can view the original article here:

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