Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Utilizing designer toys as an extreme feedback device

extreme feedback deviceIn response to Nick Halstead's Programming Tips Competition I dug a bit in my blog's idea queue for something related. The idea I picked includes some thoughts on how to gently prod the implementation of developer testing/specifying as an everyday team practice, assuming a head-nod/good-to-go from management. So today you won't see any code, as this is more related to the area of team building and process adoption. Instead of starting with the 'dictatorial' hammer and thereby possibly discouraging T2 developers or scaring away T3 developers, it would be wisely to use a fun and far more important attention creating approach. As this idea popped up on my mind I found a really suitable designer toy called Totem Doppelganger from Anton Ginzburg, consisting of three stackable look-a-like ghosts. I guess an excellent match to disenchant the initial 'mystics' of developer testing/specifying. As them are separable they can be used to accompany and indicate the ranged skill-development of each involved developer/team and thereby act as an extreme feedback device for both parties.

An example scenario could be:

At the beginning of process adoption every developer/team without or less previous knowledge might get two feedback devices(ghosts), which will be reduced to one on the path to the expected knowledge. One device might remain to signal the willingness to spread the gained knowledge to other struggling with adoption the practices or new team members, this tends to the direction of building a Developer Testing Master. In the case of not practicing pair-programming they can even act as a reminder to apply developer testing/specifying until it becomes a flesh-and-blood habit.

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