Sunday, June 13, 2010

Title: Learn Pair Programming in Prison! Code Retreat at Marion Correctional Institution

A Code Retreat is an opportunity for developers to hone their practices and learn from each other. In a series of timed cycles, we choose up different pairs and solve the same problem over and over again all day. The objective is to see how the solution to the problem evolves based on the nature of the pair that solves it—and, of course, to quickly expand one's capacity for and comfort with pairing and test-driven development.

This particular code retreat, however, will be held in prison: specifically, Marion Correctional Institution just outside Marion, Ohio, on Sunday, June 27th. Those of us from the outside will be pairing with prisoners who are learning Agile software development in Java. The prisoners' facility with Java ranges from the rank-beginner to the junior-developer, but most of them are already pretty comfortable with the concepts of pairing and TDD. I've been holding training classes for the last few months teaching them these concepts and practices in a hands-on way.

I'd like participants to have a decent knowledge of Java, but you don't have to have Agile or pair programming experience to join us. We will have several of us who are very familiar with pair programming, we'll help to teach anyone the principles and practices.

I'd like to hear from volunteers who would like to join me on the 27th. It'll be an adventure. For their part, they'll get to pair with professional developers. For our part, we'll get to eat prison food.

And besides, be honest: which of you—seriously—would not want to be able to brag to his friends that he learned to pair in prison?

If you're interested, please contact me, Dan Wiebe, at I'll give you the details and we'll organize the trip up there. So far I have men and women coming in from Michigan and Ohio. Join us!


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