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Team Programming @TOA2015

Last week has been very exciting: It was time for the Tech Open Air Berlin. The unconference was held on Wednesday and Thursday. Starting Thursday evening the Satellite events began. Yes, that’s right: The conference included events being held in companies that wanted to share stories about their interdisciplinary work. As a technologist, I hadn’t yet been too much into start-up mentality and entrepreneurship. But since it is always important to broaden your own horizont I looked forward to joining the conference. And it did deliver!

It all started in the old carpet factory on the nice peninsula of Stralau

You could literally smell history in this place which was a great contrast to the motto of imagining the world in five to ten years.

Alte Teppichfabrik StralauWhat I really liked was the style that the talks were given. All talks were ignite talks and thus lasted 30 minutes max. Also you could feel that the speakers giving these talks were used to bringing their points across quickly and coherently. I could vividly imagine them doing an elevator pitch which gave them a lot of credibility.

Thank you to all speakers!

The topics were manyfold. There were talks about new business models. There were talks about growing companies from tens of employees to hundreds of employees. And finally thematically there were talks on non-business topics like mindfulness and burnout. The importance of such topics for all of us and also the community can be derived from the timing: the first one started right after the initial key note.

I thoroughly enjoyed each and every talk. Though I would not follow each and every way of living, they all offered insights that I will use in coaching situations.

And than there was this Satellite event

We at Leanovate had decided to host an event – but who should give a talk, and what about the topic? Since my personal passion is with teams becoming homogeneous and more productive, I have this very special relationship with something that achieves both at the same time. I call it „Collaborative Test Driven Development“ (CTDD) or „Team Programming“. And I like talking about it. So we decided that our talk would be on Team Programming. We capped the event at 20 tickets due to our room situation. Nearly half of the attendees appears. Considering who we were competing with I take that as a success.

But what is this Team Programming about?

Well, we teased it like this:

Do you have a completely new team? Do you have a team that is very incoherent in abilities? Is your team lacking responsibility for its product? Learn about one technique that might help your team discover new roles and boundaries!

I am even more convinced of these advantages now than before the talk. Why? Because Team Programming creates a very unique situation. It is a revolutionary change that allows individuals to reconsider their role within a team. How’s that? The technique combines three methods from XP:

  • Customer Tests: If you’re building a product the most you should care about is the needs of your customers. For software that means the essential customers needs should be tested automatically at best with every commit
  • Test Driven Development: Each and every line of code serves a purpose that is documented and maintained by tests. Everything that is not tested does not serve a purpose and can thus be deleted
  • Pair Programming: Having two people to agree on one piece of code at the time it is written highly increases the chances that the code is well written. It increases the chances that units, modules and even applications are well designed. It removes the hassle of a code review that is either too late and thus very costly or the bad feeling if it is not done wholeheartedly.
Thank you very much to all who have been here!

After the talk, we had a very productive feedback loop – and the feedback we got from the attendees was very positive. There were some listeners in the audience that wanted to try out Team Programming in their organizations. Others got fresh ideas for solving different problems they have. We also got good feedback on what was missing in the presentation.

Given the topic and the feedback I am very happy with the talk. Comparing this to the standards the unconference had set I consider it worthy to have been part of the program.

And what’s next?

Well, having taken all the feedback I’ll improve the presentation and likely hold it again since I’m now even more positive that Team Programming should be part of every company’s way of working.

If you’re interested in this topic just contact me!

Twitter: @c_meise
Email: christoph.meise@leanovate.de

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