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Agile Dojo

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  • Michael Spayd
    Good evening/afternoon/morning Extremos: I have a query (and perhaps a follow-on inquiry a bit later) that I would like you to consider. A friend of mine,
    Message 1 of 11 , Aug 1, 2007
      Good evening/afternoon/morning Extremos:

      I have a query (and perhaps a follow-on inquiry a bit later) that I would
      like you to consider.

      A friend of mine, we'll call him Alex (because that's his name), mentioned
      over lunch that he works in a kind of Agile Dojo. Being the kind of guy who
      thrives on new metaphors for teaching and implementing Agile--as well an
      on-again/off-again practitioner of Aikido--I was intrigued and delighted
      almost into speechlessness. The term sounded familiar, or maybe I just
      "knew* what he meant, but I asked him anyway. He wasn't sure where he got
      the term from, or if he might even have been involved in a case of parallel
      invention.

      So, I'm asking you: Does anyone know things like the derivation, what folks
      speak this language about what they do or where they work, do any of you
      work in what you consider an Agile Dojo now, or just plain old: what does
      the term bring to your mind?

      For those at the Shu level on this subject, Dojo is a term from Japanese
      (and other?) martial arts for the (rather sacred) space in which people
      practice their martial art. For instance, an Aikido Dojo is where I take
      Aikido lessons.

      I will probably cross-post this, but thought it fitting to start in the XP
      forum. Youse guys are just more martial arts like to me than the others :-).

      Thanks in advance for your thoughtful replies!

      Michael

      --
      Michael K. Spayd
      Cogility Consulting Solutions, LLC
      "Business Mind, Social Heart"
      michael.spayd@...
      720.300.5286

      "Leading Agile Enterprise Transformations"


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Arnaud Bailly
      ... Same to you Michael, ... I do not *work at* an Agile Dojo but I recently started animating and taking part in what is usually called an Agile Dojo: A
      Message 2 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
        "Michael Spayd" <michael.spayd@...> writes:

        > Good evening/afternoon/morning Extremos:
        >

        Same to you Michael,

        >
        > So, I'm asking you: Does anyone know things like the derivation, what folks
        > speak this language about what they do or where they work, do any of you
        > work in what you consider an Agile Dojo now, or just plain old: what does
        > the term bring to your mind?
        >

        I do not *work at* an Agile Dojo but I recently started animating and
        taking part in what is usually called an Agile Dojo: A meeting of
        fellow developers to practice XP (mostly the coding related practices:
        TDD, Pair-programming). There seems to be a consensus about the term
        and the use of Randori and Kata terms to designate two different
        practices: collective working towards resolution of a problem using
        round-robin pair programming, and solo/duo demonstration of a
        "gesture". It seems that the terms where coined by Laurent Bossavit
        but I let him confirm/infirm this.

        See http://www.oqube.com/services/agile/dojo/dojo0.html andd
        http://www.oqube.com/services/agile/dojo/dojo1.html for a summary of
        what happened there (in french).

        Now to what I think about it :) I *really* dislike this term. I am not
        a martial arts practitionner and in general I dislike what is
        associated in my mind with martial arts:
        - master-follower relationship
        - violence (even stylized)
        - tradition and blind respect of discipline
        - worship

        I understand there are a lot of positive things one can associate with
        the term, and I understand that martial arts practitioners do have a
        different point of view. Just to be clear and to prevent
        misinterpretation, this is unrelated to racial/cultural
        prejudices.

        I would rather use some more neutral/informal/less charged terms for
        what we are doing: I had proposed to the group I am part of the use of
        fine arts related terms: 'performance' and 'situation' but there seems
        to be a general agreement to stick to japanese-style.

        The reasons I dislike this importation of martial arts terms in
        programming is that it entails the view that
        programming/coding/developping/whatever-you-are-doing-to-build-software
        is somehow related to warfare. There would be some enemy to fight against
        (even yourself), some progression and achievements (who's the black
        belt of grand-master of programming ?), some masters owning the "One
        true path" to follow... It also sounds really 'mannish', reinforcing
        somewhat the natural tendency of CE/CS to be woman-unfriendly,
        something having to do with "mine is bigger than yours" style games.

        But I am probably over-reacting on this :-)

        > For those at the Shu level on this subject, Dojo is a term from Japanese
        > (and other?) martial arts for the (rather sacred) space in which people
        > practice their martial art. For instance, an Aikido Dojo is where I take
        > Aikido lessons.
        >

        What is Shu level ?

        Regards,
        --
        OQube < software engineering \ génie logiciel >
        Arnaud Bailly, Dr.
        \web> http://www.oqube.com
      • Karl Scotland
        You can look at http://codingdojo.org/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?FrontPage for some more info and links. Karl
        Message 3 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
          You can look at http://codingdojo.org/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?FrontPage for some
          more info and links.

          Karl

          > -----Original Message-----
          > From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
          > [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Michael Spayd
          > Sent: 02 August 2007 03:22
          > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
          > Subject: [XP] Agile Dojo
          >
          > Good evening/afternoon/morning Extremos:
          >
          > I have a query (and perhaps a follow-on inquiry a bit later)
          > that I would like you to consider.
          >
          > A friend of mine, we'll call him Alex (because that's his
          > name), mentioned over lunch that he works in a kind of Agile
          > Dojo. Being the kind of guy who thrives on new metaphors for
          > teaching and implementing Agile--as well an
          > on-again/off-again practitioner of Aikido--I was intrigued
          > and delighted almost into speechlessness. The term sounded
          > familiar, or maybe I just
          > "knew* what he meant, but I asked him anyway. He wasn't sure
          > where he got the term from, or if he might even have been
          > involved in a case of parallel invention.
          >
          > So, I'm asking you: Does anyone know things like the
          > derivation, what folks speak this language about what they do
          > or where they work, do any of you work in what you consider
          > an Agile Dojo now, or just plain old: what does the term
          > bring to your mind?
          >
          > For those at the Shu level on this subject, Dojo is a term
          > from Japanese (and other?) martial arts for the (rather
          > sacred) space in which people practice their martial art. For
          > instance, an Aikido Dojo is where I take Aikido lessons.
          >
          > I will probably cross-post this, but thought it fitting to
          > start in the XP forum. Youse guys are just more martial arts
          > like to me than the others :-).
          >
          > Thanks in advance for your thoughtful replies!
          >
          > Michael
          >
          > --
          > Michael K. Spayd
          > Cogility Consulting Solutions, LLC
          > "Business Mind, Social Heart"
          > michael.spayd@...
          > 720.300.5286
          >
          > "Leading Agile Enterprise Transformations"
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
          >
          > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
          > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
          >
          > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.com
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • Ron Jeffries
          Hello, Arnaud. On Thursday, August 2, 2007, at 3:54:55 AM, you ... It could happen. ;- I am no expert in martial arts, but here is my report. My point isn t
          Message 4 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
            Hello, Arnaud. On Thursday, August 2, 2007, at 3:54:55 AM, you
            wrote:

            > The reasons I dislike this importation of martial arts terms in
            > programming is that it entails the view that
            > programming/coding/developping/whatever-you-are-doing-to-build-software
            > is somehow related to warfare. There would be some enemy to fight against
            > (even yourself), some progression and achievements (who's the black
            > belt of grand-master of programming ?), some masters owning the "One
            > true path" to follow... It also sounds really 'mannish', reinforcing
            > somewhat the natural tendency of CE/CS to be woman-unfriendly,
            > something having to do with "mine is bigger than yours" style games.
            >
            > But I am probably over-reacting on this :-)

            It could happen. ;->

            I am no expert in martial arts, but here is my report. My point
            isn't to change your mind, which I expect not to be possible, but to
            offer a different viewpoint. My martial art is T'ai Chi, that
            slow-moving thing. The class last Monday is not "mannish". It
            included

            Men:
            Ron
            Mark
            Dan
            Women:
            Julie
            Pam
            Barbara
            Pattie
            Sarah
            Kinomi

            The class has a teacher (does it bother you to be in other classes
            with a designated teacher, by the way?), and the strongest
            leader/follower phrasing he usually uses is, when asked a question:
            "I was taught to do it this way ...".

            He is, however, the expert, and he is teaching us to do what he
            does. So last Monday he was watching us and at one point he told me
            "Ron, twist your right arm more". I was personally not deeply
            offended by this.

            If I possessed some skill (a dubious proposition) and came to teach
            it to you, would you be offended if I asked you to do things in the
            ways I think best to teach that skill? Would it offend you to be in
            an exercise class and to have the beautiful redheaded instructor
            tell you to do ten more crunches? I would guess not, because you
            chose to be there. If you chose to be in a T'ai Chi class, or a
            Karate class, I'd think it would be the same. We listen to the
            instructor and do what he asks because that's how we learn: by
            practice.

            We used to begin the class with three bows:
            Bow to the tao;
            bow to the masters;
            bow to your fellow practitioners.
            We don't do that any more, in the interest of time I guess, and some
            of us miss it. The old timers generally bow upon entering and
            leaving the room in any case.

            Bowing is not an act of subservience, it is an act of respect and a
            little ritual to focus the mind. In the book "Zen Computer", the
            author suggests that when we sit down to work at our computer, we
            should bow to it.

            In T'ai Chi, we have no belts (though our pants somehow magically do
            not fall down anyway), and while if asked about the application of
            some T'ai Chi move the instructor will explain, we do not as a rule
            address the fighting aspects in the class.

            You might also want to look into Aikido, which is an interesting
            martial art in that it does not include any offense: it is only
            defensive in nature. (Attacking an Aikido expert is not well
            advised, nonetheless. She will graciously aid you in falling on your
            head.)

            Now I don't feel strongly one way or another about the "Dojo"
            designation, which I take to be roughly equivalent to "Gym" (in the
            USA sense anyway), or "Classroom". What I do feel strongly about is
            that there is value to having a place of learning, where we set our
            minds to be open and to experience what is being offered. When I'm
            faced with some culturally foreign situation, I try to drop my
            automatic defenses and let the thing happen. Sometimes I succeed
            with that, and usually everything turns out just fine.

            Regards,

            Ron Jeffries
            www.XProgramming.com
            If another does not intend offense, it is wrong for me to seek it;
            if another does indeed intend offense, it is foolish for me to permit it.
            -- Kelly Easterley
          • Charlie Poole
            Hi Arnaud, Regarding the use of the phrase Agile Dojo, you wrote... ... This is an instance of something I have noticed among several groups, but perhaps more
            Message 5 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
              Hi Arnaud,

              Regarding the use of the phrase Agile Dojo, you wrote...

              > I understand there are a lot of positive things one can
              > associate with the term, and I understand that martial arts
              > practitioners do have a different point of view. Just to be
              > clear and to prevent misinterpretation, this is unrelated to
              > racial/cultural prejudices.

              This is an instance of something I have noticed among several
              groups, but perhaps more prominently among XP practitioners.

              1) Someone has a new insight based on an analogy between our
              work and some other field with which they are familiar.

              2) The insight and analogy is shared with other people who are
              also familiar with both fields

              3) Since it's all working so well, an attempt is made to
              exploit the analogy when talking to others who know little
              about the field from which it is drawn.

              Step three is the failure pattern for analogy. We see it
              when we try to reason about software development based on
              similarities to construction, theater, jazz bands and - yes -
              martial arts.

              So, I don't think this is a particular problem with Agile
              Dojo, just something that happens when we get too carried
              away with analogies.

              Charlie
            • Arnaud Bailly
              ... Thanks for sharing your experience. Sure, I forgot T ai Chi. And Capoeira too. I jumped in because I had arguments over this issue recently and I wanted to
              Message 6 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
                Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> writes:

                >
                > It could happen. ;->
                >
                > I am no expert in martial arts, but here is my report. My point
                > ...
                > defensive in nature. (Attacking an Aikido expert is not well
                > advised, nonetheless. She will graciously aid you in falling on your
                > head.)
                >

                Thanks for sharing your experience. Sure, I forgot T'ai Chi. And
                Capoeira too. I jumped in because I had arguments over this issue
                recently and I wanted to know whether this was something shared or
                not. Apparently it is not (a bit flawed as statistics goes, sure).

                > Now I don't feel strongly one way or another about the "Dojo"
                > designation, which I take to be roughly equivalent to "Gym" (in the
                > USA sense anyway), or "Classroom". What I do feel strongly about is
                > that there is value to having a place of learning, where we set our
                > minds to be open and to experience what is being offered.
                > When I'm faced with some culturally foreign situation, I try to drop my
                > automatic defenses and let the thing happen. Sometimes I succeed
                > with that, and usually everything turns out just fine.
                >

                Yes, I fully agree with that stand. The last "dojo" we had here was
                using PHP as language, and it turned out not too be very succesful as
                a programming experiment: We did not solved the problem, and our
                partial solution is neither elegant, nor satisfying. And I think our tests
                are flawed.

                But I and probably others too learned a lot, as we could
                see how the lack of familiarity with a particular tool hindered our
                effort to apply directly skills and practices gained with other
                tools. We also gained some hands-on experiment with the right
                granularity and starting steps of TDD. And I was really interested to
                try "forgotting" my Java mechanisms and adapt to PHP.

                That's why I am a strong proponent of collective programming practice,
                somewhat outside of what we do day-to-day at work. But words are not
                innocent as newborn babies, they induce mental state and particular
                relationships rooted in their experience between all those
                participating in their usages.

                > Regards,
                >
                > Ron Jeffries
                > www.XProgramming.com
                > If another does not intend offense, it is wrong for me to seek it;
                > if another does indeed intend offense, it is foolish for me to permit it.

                They are definitely not random...

                Regards
                --
                OQube < software engineering \ génie logiciel >
                Arnaud Bailly, Dr.
                \web> http://www.oqube.com
              • Robert Biddle
                ... I read Ron s message and have a similar story to report. My marital art was called Salsa , and we practiced in a place called a Studio . We met the same
                Message 7 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
                  Ron Jeffries wrote:

                  > I am no expert in martial arts, but here is my report. My point
                  > isn't to change your mind, which I expect not to be possible, but to
                  > offer a different viewpoint. My martial art is T'ai Chi,
                  > ...

                  I read Ron's message and have a similar story to report. My marital
                  art was called "Salsa", and we practiced in a place called a
                  "Studio". We met the same time every week, and our teacher helped us
                  learn new skills and practice them. We also began with a ritual,
                  whereby we all admired each others clothes and fitness.

                  The teacher worked with us to find which techniques we wanted to
                  learn, and then would organise them into smaller stories which we
                  would practice with each other until they were acceptable, and then
                  next week we would negotiate new stories, I mean moves.

                  As is particularly relevant to the analogy with learning agile
                  development, we used pairing as a way to learn, mentor and be
                  mentored, and prepare for using the techniques in public. We even
                  practiced promiscuous pairing. It was really great to be in a trusting
                  environment where we were encouraged to look closely at other people
                  as they practiced their techniques. I especially learned a lot from
                  the people who were most different to me, because they moved in
                  unexpected and exciting ways.

                  So I agree with Ron that this was an excellent way to learn. Many of
                  us met at organisations were we were encouraged to practice our
                  techniques. Some later established partnerships based on this marital
                  art. A friend of mine even became a coach and opened her own dojo, I
                  mean studio. She gave it a cool Latin name: Mutatis-Mutandis.

                  :-)
                  Cheers
                  Robt
                • Arnaud Bailly
                  ... Mine is called Tango and the location name in use is a Practice . :-) ... ^^^^^^^ Interesting semantic collision ;-) So according to your/our examples,
                  Message 8 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
                    Robert Biddle <Robert_Biddle@...> writes:

                    > Ron Jeffries wrote:
                    >
                    > > I am no expert in martial arts, but here is my report. My point
                    > > isn't to change your mind, which I expect not to be possible, but to
                    > > offer a different viewpoint. My martial art is T'ai Chi,
                    > > ...
                    >
                    > I read Ron's message and have a similar story to report. My marital
                    > art was called "Salsa", and we practiced in a place called a
                    > "Studio". We met the same time every week, and our teacher helped us
                    > learn new skills and practice them. We also began with a ritual,
                    > whereby we all admired each others clothes and fitness.
                    >

                    Mine is called "Tango" and the location name in use is a "Practice". :-)

                    >
                    > So I agree with Ron that this was an excellent way to learn. Many of
                    > us met at organisations were we were encouraged to practice our
                    > techniques. Some later established partnerships based on this marital
                    ^^^^^^^
                    Interesting semantic collision ;-)

                    So according to your/our examples, here is what defines a dojo:
                    1. a teacher, someone that can teach me new skills, correct me if I'm
                    wrong
                    2. a place, where I can practice those newly taught skills and
                    congregate with ...
                    3. people, like me, from which I can also learn and with which I can
                    interact, with ...
                    4. good will and respect.

                    Regards,
                    --
                    OQube < software engineering \ génie logiciel >
                    Arnaud Bailly, Dr.
                    \web> http://www.oqube.com
                  • Chris Wheeler
                    ... .... techniques. Some later established partnerships based on this marital ... Then it truly was a marital art, no? ... Chris. [Non-text portions of this
                    Message 9 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
                      On 8/2/07, Robert Biddle <Robert_Biddle@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > I read Ron's message and have a similar story to report. My marital
                      > art was called "Salsa", and we practiced in a place called a

                      ....

                      techniques. Some later established partnerships based on this marital
                      > art. A friend of mine even became a coach and opened her own dojo, I


                      Then it truly was a 'marital' art, no?

                      :)

                      Chris.


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Charlie Poole
                      Hi Ron, ... Nicely put. I have that goal for myself as well, and sometimes I even achieve it. OTOH, if I m trying to communicate and my choice of language
                      Message 10 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
                        Hi Ron,

                        > Now I don't feel strongly one way or another about the "Dojo"
                        > designation, which I take to be roughly equivalent to "Gym"
                        > (in the USA sense anyway), or "Classroom". What I do feel
                        > strongly about is that there is value to having a place of
                        > learning, where we set our minds to be open and to experience
                        > what is being offered. When I'm faced with some culturally
                        > foreign situation, I try to drop my automatic defenses and
                        > let the thing happen. Sometimes I succeed with that, and
                        > usually everything turns out just fine.

                        Nicely put. I have that goal for myself as well, and sometimes
                        I even achieve it. OTOH, if I'm trying to communicate and my
                        choice of language fails to connect with other folks, I find
                        it's usually more useful for me to adapt my language rather
                        than trying to stretch their level of acceptance. Of course,
                        the latter would be more convenient for me... if it worked...

                        I think it's good for programs and people to be generous in the
                        variations of input they will accept while putting fewer demands
                        on the generosity of those who must process their output.

                        Charlie

                        Charlie

                        > Regards,
                        >
                        > Ron Jeffries
                        > www.XProgramming.com
                        > If another does not intend offense, it is wrong for me to
                        > seek it; if another does indeed intend offense, it is foolish
                        > for me to permit it.
                        > -- Kelly Easterley
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
                        >
                        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                        > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
                        >
                        > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.com
                        > Yahoo! Groups Links
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                      • Michael Spayd
                        Hi All, Hey, this has become a really cool chain :-). Thanks so much for all your answers. I have only had time to thoroughly read the first few, then skimmed
                        Message 11 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
                          Hi All,

                          Hey, this has become a really cool chain :-). Thanks so much for all your
                          answers. I have only had time to thoroughly read the first few, then skimmed
                          the rest (sorry for being a bad thread host).

                          This is very valuable to me and I will comb it for more juice later. For
                          now, I am grateful for your help.

                          I will have further questions or kudos when I get a change to digest it
                          (probably next week)

                          Bonne Weekende, toute le monde,

                          Michael


                          On 8/2/07, Arnaud Bailly <abailly@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Robert Biddle <Robert_Biddle@... <Robert_Biddle%40Carleton.Ca>>
                          > writes:
                          >
                          > > Ron Jeffries wrote:
                          > >
                          > > > I am no expert in martial arts, but here is my report. My point
                          > > > isn't to change your mind, which I expect not to be possible, but to
                          > > > offer a different viewpoint. My martial art is T'ai Chi,
                          > > > ...
                          > >
                          > > I read Ron's message and have a similar story to report. My marital
                          > > art was called "Salsa", and we practiced in a place called a
                          > > "Studio". We met the same time every week, and our teacher helped us
                          > > learn new skills and practice them. We also began with a ritual,
                          > > whereby we all admired each others clothes and fitness.
                          > >
                          >
                          > Mine is called "Tango" and the location name in use is a "Practice". :-)
                          >
                          > >
                          > > So I agree with Ron that this was an excellent way to learn. Many of
                          > > us met at organisations were we were encouraged to practice our
                          > > techniques. Some later established partnerships based on this marital
                          > ^^^^^^^
                          > Interesting semantic collision ;-)
                          >
                          > So according to your/our examples, here is what defines a dojo:
                          > 1. a teacher, someone that can teach me new skills, correct me if I'm
                          > wrong
                          > 2. a place, where I can practice those newly taught skills and
                          > congregate with ...
                          > 3. people, like me, from which I can also learn and with which I can
                          > interact, with ...
                          > 4. good will and respect.
                          >
                          > Regards,
                          > --
                          > OQube < software engineering \ génie logiciel >
                          > Arnaud Bailly, Dr.
                          > \web> http://www.oqube.com
                          >
                          >
                          >



                          --
                          Michael K. Spayd
                          Cogility Consulting Solutions, LLC
                          "Business Mind, Social Heart"
                          michael.spayd@...
                          720.300.5286

                          "Leading Agile Enterprise Transformations"


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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