Learning is a social endeavor

People always talk about how learning is something that happens in groups. Last week, I got reminded of the point as a task I had previously struggled with alone became trivial in a pair programming episode.

The first time I tried coding “a bowling scoring program” was in 2001. I’ve practices the exercise many times later. In 2004, I tried to write a more challenging version: Write a program that prints the numbers that should be displayed on a score board for a partially played game of bowling. I got bogged down and sidetracked, and didn’t come up with a very good solution at all.

Last week, my company invited Ron Jeffries and Chet Hendrickson to give a short course in pair programming and test-driven development for 15 of our developers/testers. Ron and Chet has coded this particular program a number of times, but never with the score board variation I mentioned.

In the second half of the course, I sat down with two others of our developers who had never worked on this exercise before. We quickly finished the simple game, and then someone proposed the score board. I said “oh, that’s way too hard, we’ll never finish it in time for the course”.

To make a long story short: I was wrong. Together, we solved the problem in no time flat.

Copyright © 2008 Johannes Brodwall. All Rights Reserved.

About Johannes Brodwall

Johannes is Principal Software Engineer in SopraSteria. In his spare time he likes to coach teams and developers on better coding, collaboration, planning and product understanding.
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  • Eivind

    I'm just about to redo that example. Thanks for the tip. I'll keep that in mind.

  • Eivind

    I’m just about to redo that example. Thanks for the tip. I’ll keep that in mind.