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Do you dojo? 5 tips for getting started with collaborative programming

Kristin Burnham | Nov. 13, 2015
E-commerce site Etsy held its first dojo with a small group of engineers to solve a coding question it posed to job candidates.

3. Try a hackathon or dojo. Hackathons and dojos are good gauges for whether or not your team would work well with pair or mob programming methods, Puryear and Hammond agree, and could help to change the workplace culture to support it.

“Hackathons are focused on solving a specific problem, which can help people focus less on whether or not they’re getting their share of work done compared to someone else,” Puryear says. Hackathons and dojos might also help you identify team members who are enthusiastic about this type of work, or conversely, those who aren’t.

4. Find supporters. Enthusiasts might reveal themselves during dojos or hackathons, but finding them among your team can be as easy as just talking to them, Hammond says.

“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,” he 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.”

5. Start small. Finding those supporters is essential to begin, Puryear says. “Find a couple of people who are not just willing to pair program, but they’re excited about it,” he says. “They should already be believers that this is the right thing to do because they need to work through that initial phase where they get used to working as a pair and are convinced that they’ll get to the other side where they will be productive and working together.”


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