Update your team to be more extreme
How can you help your peers to embrace the change?February 26, 2022 - 914 words - 5 mins Found a typo? Edit me
Our software profession is constantly evolving; it demands a non-stop learning process. We must embrace the change in our industry.
We need to create spaces to get out of our comfort zone, so our cognitive brain can train and improve how to adapt to our surroundings, which are constantly transforming.
Why code katas, tech talks or research Fridays?
The goal is to help create an environment that aims for continuous improvement towards looking for learning everywhere, all the time, as the core attitude for the individuals and the group.
Create learnings opportunities
Schedule some time every X weeks for practicing together.
At the end of each iteration, or even 2 or 4 weeks, we celebrate and work on katas in pairs/mob for 2 hours. That space is also an opportunity to create an internal tech-talk presentation to share exciting knowledge with the team non-directly-related to our “regular daily business”.
The goal is to get out of our comfort zone, improving our recognition for change in general while learning other subjects regularly.
What is a code kata?
As a group, software developers don’t practice enough. Most of our learning takes place on the job, so most of our mistakes get made there as well.
The term “kata” comes from the repetitive movements done in karate that help you improve your fighting skills.
Code Katas exists to help developers get the same benefits as practicing in any other profession. There are simple, artificial exercises that let you experiment and learn without the pressure in a production environment.
There are no right or wrong answers in any software kata: the benefit comes from the process, not the result.
- Work on refactoring techniques.
- Work on TDD examples.
- Work on SOLID principles.
- Work on live coding sessions.
- Work on driver-navigator concepts.
- Work on team cohesion.
- Have fun while learning and practicing together.
If you’re interested in my thoughts about TDD and katas, I wrote a post about it not long ago: Test-Driven Development.
What is a tech-talk?
Tech talks allow us to share some knowledge related to our tech industry with our team members.
It can be any FrontEnd, BackEnd, DevOps related. But I encourage also:
- a new programming language that you are learning,
- a summary of one book that you finished,
- a new technology that you are studying or feeling curious about,
- a piece of software that you would like to share and present thoughts about it,
- a new tool that helps you to improve your productivity,
- really: anything related to creating value or knowledge.
How can I present a tech talk?
I wrote this article with some tips about how to improve your tech-talk. Some key questions that might help you to find something on your own:
- What have you learned recently (in the last X months)?
- What knowledge might be interesting to be shared with your peers?
- Which aspect of yourself you’d like to improve professionally and/or personally?
Just one rule: Be curious and “embrace the change.”
Research and learning Fridays
Block the last Friday of the month for research and learning purposes. The whole team will have a dedicated space for growth and experiment.
It’s crucial to build trust with your team, so you all know everyone will use this time as good as possible. Don’t micromanage this time forcing keeping a record in a wikipage with what everyone does in detail.
Although, it would be nice that the team shares what they do during this time, mostly to create transparency among themselves. A verbal announcement to the peers the day before, with their intentions. Even the day after with the learnings key-takeaways.
You can help your team to be more extreme by helping with a dedicated team space for growth and experimentation.
- Provide flexibility to experiment with these ideas as they see fit.
- It is an opportunity for self-growth and learning at the same time.
- It is, ultimately, up to the person and the team.
Do not micromanage this dedicated time. Focus on the outcome. Help your team to grow, and they will enjoy growing with you.
After writing this blog post (originally in Feb, 2022), I was invited to do a tech talk in different conferences about this topic.
- 2022-06-26 | International PHP Conference [Berlin, Germany] (EN)
- 2022-09-16 | Code Talks [Hamburg, Germany] (EN)
- 2022-10-26 | International PHP Conference [Munich, Germany] (EN)
- 2022-12-21 | IES Ginés Pérez Chirinos [Murcia, Spain] (ES)
- 2023-01-19 | devm.io [Remote] (EN)
This is the recording from the Hamburg code.talks Conference (Sept, 2022):