This past Saturday it was the Global Day of Coderetreat. Coderetreat is a day-long event focused on practising the fundamentals of software development and design. The day is split into four 40min sessions where participants pair-up and work on Conway’s Game of Life. What makes the event so fun and rewarding however, are the constraints imposed on each session.
The 4 constraints vary and are only limited by the imagination of those involved. The ones that were imposed during the day were the following:
In our day to day work we make decisions of all kinds. Some are big, many if not most are small. Whenever a big problem needs to be solved, a discussion ensues between the people that will work on it and once is decided what the approach would be, the coding begins. Many of the keystrokes that are happening during that phase are kind of automatic. Every person has a certain set of guidelines that he/she uses to tackle a specific problem. “I have the concept of a Person so I need a class” is an example. The code produced will reflect and satisfy that guideline.
It’s hard to imagine not doing any of the four things above in our daily work and that’s understandable. The purpose of a Coderetreat is not to impose certain rules on the developer’s workflow but rather show what insights can be retrieved by exploring the extremes of code and communication. It is often said that creativity lies in the most unusual places and those are the places that one visits when attending a Coderetreat. It reminds me of this TED talk and the power that comes with the ability to embrace limitations. It also blends well with the philosophy of Kaizen.
Below are some photos from the event: