Global Day of Coderetreat in Umeå, Sweden

Posted by Mattias Sällström on Dec 8, 2011
12 people signed to the event in Umeå and 10 showed up, which is a 40% increase comparing to our first coderetreat. We had two women participating, which I think is really good for an event like this with it's geeky spirit. Even more amazing was the two guys from Skellefteå (130km north of Umeå and 90 minutes by car) that showed up at 8 am for breakfast and a days coding. Java, C# and C++ was the languages used during the day.
In the first session the only constraint we had was that everyone should TDD and use paring. It went really smooth, though I didn't see a lot of keyboard switching. But some of them switch after a certain amount of time. Part of the group felt a little bit uncomfortable when they were told to delete the code
For session two the group was told to use Ping-Pong to make them pass the keyboard and try both writing test and making them green.
In session three they were told not to use naked primitive, conditional statements or the mouse. This was the session where most of the swearing occurred due to the no mouse limitation.
The first session after lunch the restriction was to not use new, in order to impose loose coupling through dependency injection. One learning from this session was that it's good to know about design patterns.
The fifth session, mute and evil coder, was a blessing for me as the facilitator. One person would write the test and the other deliberately misinterpreting the test and halfway through the session they switched roles. The following retro was the one with the most talking. A conclusion the group came to were when taking the role as the evil coder the code somehow still ended up doing the right thing. And all agreed on that it's hard to communicate  through code. 
After the fifth session the group was told not to delete the code but to keep the same pairs but switch workplace for the last session. Although a big part of the code was in place only one group came near of finishing up. It's hard taking over someone else's code.
My fellow host/facilitator had to take care of his sick children which left me with taking both the host and facilitator roles which affected the facilitating part in a bad way. I got assisted by one of the group member who was involved in the planing of the event to some extent and that was a big help. As this was my first proper facilitation I reckon somethings comes with experience but I really felt that I hadn't read up on some of the more technical things like missing tool and no new's. For the next code retreat I am thinking of skipping the "getting TDD and paring" sessions if the group has tried TDD prior the retreat. I'm really curious about "TDD as if you meant it" and verb-based design and would like to try them in a retreat.
During the day we was connected to the gdcr2011_1 hangout which I thought worked really good. The main purpose for us was to get the global feeling.
I'm a little bit disappointed that there wasn't more people signing up for the event, but I hope that those who participated help spread the word about coderetreats and how much fun they are.
All in all we had a great but exhausting day. Thank you all for making this happen!