Spotlight on PPIGers

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Johanna Hunt discusses a DoJo

Taking the example of groups elsewhere we have set up a Coding Dojo in Brighton, UK. In the two-hour fortnightly session, up to twelve developers take turns solving a programming problem.

The rules of the Dojo are quite simple. The meeting room has one computer attached to a projector. The ringmaster explains the challenge for the week. Two programmers are selected to address the problem, one acting as the driver and one the navigator.

They must speak continually about how they are solving the problem, so that the entire group follows what is being done. If the group fails to understand then the pair must pause to explain. One half of the pair is swapped out every five minutes. The language to be used and the problem to be solved vary from session to session.

The fortnightly session was directly inspired by Laurent Bossavit and Emmanuel Gaillot, who set up the French Coding Dojo, and also by the offshoot Finnish Coding Dojo in Helsinki. The underlying concept is based on Dave Thomas' Code Kata.

So far the sessions have been very interesting, energetic, and most of all fun. The dojo system appears really very good for encouraging learning and knowledge-transfer across experience levels. Feel free to get in touch if you want to hear more, come and join us, or would like advice about setting one up yourself.