pairing final
The ”Programming with the Stars” final was almost the last event of the whole agile2008 conference, and Michael Feathers and I were up against Lasse Koskela pairing with Noah Jacobson. Our brief from Joshua and Jeff was ”you have 8 minutes on stage. Impress us”. This seemed a little vague to me, but when pressed, all they said was ”you have 8 minutes. Impress us with your skills at Pairing, TDD, Refactoring and IDE expertise.” So there.

Yesterday (Thursday) was very intense, and I am exhausted. Geoff and I presented a 90 minute slot on TextTest first thing in the morning. We get better every time we do it, and this was definitely the best yet. I ended the session with an extended demonstration of KataBankOCR which I had been practicing loads, and went off without a hitch. Then at lunchtime we did ”Programming with the stars” demonstrating JUseCase and TextTest (see my previous post) and directly after lunch Geoff did a 45 minute presentation of xUseCase. The room was packed and lots of people seemed interested. Afterwards Geoff and I spent some time chatting to important people from various agile tools companies.

On top of all that it was the conference banquet yesterday evening. Good company, good food, generally a great evening. Today Michael was running a session first thing, I wanted to go to the keynote, and the upshot was we didn’t manage to get together to plan what to do in the ”Programming with the Stars” final until an hour before it started. For some inexplicable reason the python installation on my Vista machine stopped working and I couldn’t get anything to run, so we decided to use Michael’s machine, (a mac)….

ok ok enough with the excuses. It was a disaster. Eight minutes on stage isn’t long enough to achieve much, especially when you are dog tired, unprepared, and nervous. They had warned us it would happen, but when after 4 minutes Jeff stopped us and asked the judges to give us some interim advice, I totally lost my train of thought. All I remember of the advice was Bob Martin telling us to act ”perky”, so the fatigue must have been showing. When we restarted for the remaining four minutes, the audience began calling out more or less helpful directives. By the end we had written about five lines of code and still had no tests running.

The judges were surprisingly understanding and did give us a few points for our pairing skills (they can’t have been for our coding, let’s face it). Then Lasse and Noah came on stage and did a really slick, thoroughly prepared demonstration including testing with stubs, and a funny video clip. It was well done, and they deserved good marks.

So Michael and I didn’t win ”Programming with the Stars”, but it was good fun, and we got to show off a little along the way. Now I just have to go back to being a normal programmer, pairing with other normal programmers, and Michael, well, I guess he continues to be a star…

final scores