Monday, April 17, 2006

Harry Potter Style and TDD Coaching

I recently delivered my motivational presentation on Test Driven Development to a small agile team. From the presenter perspective it went OK: I got my points across, gave some food for thought, and sparked a little conversation at the end. But I was not sure what the team had taken home.

A couple of days later I spoke to another developer. He just started a new project and wanted to try Test Driven Development. We went out for lunch and he told me what his project was, how he was trying to approach it and where he encountered problems. As we talked about his particular problems and how TDD can help, I naturally made almost all the pitches from my TDD presentation, still hot in my mind. This time I knew they were well digested.

How come the little talk overpowered the full blown presentation? The objective was the same - to encourage and motivate Test Driven Development. The material was the same - everything I know about TDD :) The power toys I had at my command over lunch were way less impressive: in fact we didn't even have a pen to scratch on napkins. Yet it was clearly more effective. Why?

The answer came in form of a hilarious "Harry Potter and the Trainer of Dire" by John Salt. Salt claims it is a true story, and he backs it up with the use of Lego. For those who are not sure if they got the point right, he followed up with comments and explanations here and here.

Next time I talk about Test Driven Development, I should be less of Snape and more of Harry Potter. Go on, enjoy the articles; you'll see what I mean.

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