Teaching new tricks

10–12th May 2017 at thestudio

A 60 minute Case Study by:

Clare Sudbery


About this Case Study

As part of my job as an agile consultant, I spend a lot of time introducing and reinforcing software development techniques to experienced developers from a wide variety of backgrounds. This means extolling the virtues of TDD and pair programming to people who have never even heard of it, as well as contractors who have worked on several projects that flew the 'agile' banner but left them with the impression that techniques such as TDD are cumbersome and pointless - and people with many levels of experience between the two.

The techniques being introduced or reinforced are many and varied: kanban boards, daily stand-ups, retrospectives, kick-offs, desk checks, continuous integration and deployment, TDD, pairing, and so on.

Many of us have learnt these techniques gradually, both on the job and off. As with any skill, it's easy to forget what it felt like when you were a beginner. It's also easy to get stuck in routines and forget why you decided to use a method in the first place. It's just as easy to find yourself applying something simply because that's what you've been told to do, with no clear evidence that it works.

This session is a description of the challenges involved in helping a team of experienced devs to become a self-organising agile team, with a bunch of new skills and the will to keep things going on their own. It will include several practical suggestions of how to help and convince less agile-experienced colleagues, as well as a discussion of limitations and how to avoid and mitigate the pitfall of exaggerated expectation.

About the Speaker

Clare Sudbery is a senior consultant developer at Thoughtworks, who particularly enjoys the mentoring side of her job. She is a maths graduate with 17 years of software engineering experience, with a few extra years thrown in doing everything from full time novelist to secondary school maths teacher.

Six years ago she returned to IT with a sigh of relief after failing to convince stroppy teenagers that maths is fun. Since then she has embraced all things XP and still has to pinch herself to believe she could earn a living from having fun, solving puzzles and sharing the XP love.

She is on a mission to awaken the inner geek in clever women (and men) everywhere. She blogs about maths, women in tech and other geeky stuff here.


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