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Re: [XP] Agile Dojo

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  • 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 1 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
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      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 2 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
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        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 3 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
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          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 4 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
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            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 5 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
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              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 6 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
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                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 7 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
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                  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
                  >
                  >
                  >
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                • 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 8 of 11 , Aug 2, 2007
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                    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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