Shut the door and listen from outside

At a certain point, you start to finish each other’s statements. Teams that have been together for a while can breed a sort of shorthand in their communication. This has a lot of upsides, but it can also cause, for example, predictable retrospectives. Retrospectives should trigger learning and improvement. When they become predictable I feel I’m missing out on something important. Is the forced recurrence a trigger for sameness, should we be doing retrospectives whenever we have an opportunity for learning? Or maybe it’s me, am I causing the predictability? Should I…

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The behavioural economics of bugs in robots

All contending teams, without exception, experience a moment at which all members are standing around the table, looking at the robot; this is not what’s supposed to happen. Shouldn’t be a surprise, we told them in advance there would be bugs. Unfamiliar with the codebase and the hardware, it is now their job to find the bugs and fix them. They do know what the robot should do: ‘it should follow the black line, once you press the start button’.

We have been doing these robot challenge workshops for a while now. They’re great fun, for creating a shared understanding between business and IT, or experiencing an acceptance test-driven approach to software development. The mBot robots bring a highly visible aspect to the software’s behaviour.

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