The greatest teacher, failure is.

There is a line in the most recent Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, from Yoda.
The greatest teacher, failure is.
This line resonated with me in relation to software development. Recently at work we've been having some discussions about challenging our preconceptions about how we do things. Now consider the line from the movie, sometimes we do things a certain way because we know that it's the best way to do things and probably we're right. How do we know? Is it just some innate thing that everyone knows? Or is it because someone told us that this is the way things are?

Lets look at some things about software development that we know to be true.
  • TDD is good and makes more maintainable code.
  • Global variables lead to un-maintainable code.
  • The language that you don't like is bad.
  • The language that you do like is good.
Now when did you last time that you challenged these ideas? When was the last time that you were able to, knowing that you would probably fail?

This is where the idea of Coderetreat comes in. As the page says. 
Start with a simple programming problem: Conway's Game of Life
Work with different partners to discuss and solve the problem
Add restrictions to force you to consider different approaches
After each round, throw out your code and repeat!
Adding restrictions and working with different partners is a great way to force yourself to fail and to challenge your ideas. Throwing the code out after each round is a great way to remove the pain from failure. Doing it in a group is a great way to bond as a community and share the fun of learning through trying to fail.


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