Table Football

Have you ever played Table Football? I bet you have.

We have those in my current company and I noticed something interesting.

At the beginning there was a big diversity in people’s skills. We had good players and bad players. I mean really bad.

But after few weeks, during which everybody played once per day (more or less). Good players got better, but bad players in most cases managed to catch-up with the rest. Their progress is really interesting. And it happened without any formal training – just by playing.

My take on the reasons:

  • You have immediate feedback on you actions – you either score or not, you loose goal or you don’t
  • You play with better players all the time (we have app which randomizes teams) – it’s painful but you have no choice but to see what better players are doing and how they do it
  • There’s always nice feeling – even the worst player can score by accident and the best can do something funny. So even if you loose – you mostly don’t feel like looser

So why there’s a table football post here? It’s similar to programming. You have a team, but you do lots of work by yourself. But you wait for feedback weeks or months. And you may never have feedback on the way you code (no reviews, high specialization and code owning). There’s almost at least small delay in project, so good feeling are lost too.

This is why Agile methods are getting so popular.

First. It speeds up feedback on many levels.
In pair programming it’s immediate on how you work (BEST). With code review you get it few hours or a day after you code. With the features the feedback is less than one iteration from you (1, 2 weeks?).
The feedback can be painful, but with proper attitude – it’s working. CI gives you “booooo!!” any time you brake the build, so you try not to.

Second. It gives better feeling.
Iterations make it easier to keep up promise. After few of those the team will manage how to work without delays. Every demo will be like a small success (which you should celebrate). If there’s something wrong – you have chance in every sprint to fix it (retro).

Of course it only works when the people are honest and emotionally mature.

BTW: we’re hiring in Katowice.

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