Who’s run a guided code kata for more than three people?
Need a definition for a guided code kata? Start here, then add the idea of one person either displaying steps to follow and/or performing the steps on a large screen in front of several people. Guided katas are commonly performed at user groups, lunch learnings, or at a local coding dojo meetup.
Back to my original question: who’s run a guided kata for more than three people?
Still reading? Then you probably relate to the problem. The problem is: how can you tell when a reasonable percentage (or 100%) of the room is ready for the next step?
In my case, I was leading a guided kata for a room of around thirty people. Even with about half the room doing the exercise in pairs, I was spending a lot of time asking, “Who needs more time?”.
The Solution (hint: it’s kata cups)
Cut a notch in two sides of some paper cups, and ask people to put them on their laptop screens when they finish the current step of the kata. When a significant agreed upon group of folks are ready, call out “Cups down!” and move on to the next step.
When you don’t have any cups handy, try having everyone fix a sticky note to the top of their laptop. Post-its work in a pinch, but the cups are more reliable– and fun.
The use of kata cups has spread throughout the office at work. It’s fun to see something so simple aid in the success of a lean-agile culture. So many things we do are about visibility and collaboration and finding the right solution just-in-time. Kata cups are no exception.
Well, well, well. Look what the samurai dragged in. An updated version of my Legacy Dependency Kata. I’ll have to update the Coding Kata Resources page.
I’m not proud to admit that there even was a v1.0 at the moment. Let me explain.
Just over two years ago, I was experimenting with writing katas, presenting at code conventions, and running a coding dojo. It turns out. I wasn’t super fantastic at any of these things. Nevertheless, I wrote a kata, ran it a few times with the kind folks in my dojo, and proceeded to share it with the delightful folks at Utah Code Camp 2014. Reviews were mixed, but overall I felt good about it.
Fast forward to the present. While planning the lunchtime learning schedule for our recent SAFe Program Increment, there was an opening, and I, ever so graciously, decided to run my Legacy Dependency Kata for folks who may not have had the chance to see it before. Upon thoroughly embarrassing myself with some of the crappiest kata slides in existence (slides even I couldn’t completely fathom), I recognized that my life would be forfeit if folks were forced to do the kata again with the same slides the following day.
I dashed to revise the slides and spent many hours on the task. When I presented the kata on the second day, it was a much more successful attempt. I’d go so far as to call it a version 1.7. I spent some more time and enlisted the advice of the ever-gracious and capable Kaleb Pedersen in finalizing v2.0. The source code is still the same. Legacy code problems from 2 years ago are still very similar to what they are today.
I think the new slides do their job. Could this kata still be better? Without a doubt. Please submit your recommendations in the comments or feel free to yell at me on Twitter. I’m sure I deserve it for something.
Without further adieu, I give you Legacy Dependency Kata Version Two.
Seed code is still on GitHub: