AgileWorks Romania

Coding Dojo – Strong-style pair programming

Traditional pair programming might have some drawbacks: the pairing partner can't keep up, they get bored and disengaged, the driver is hogging the keyboard, etc. An alternative style of pair programming can fix all these problems. We'll try this alternative during this coding dojo meetup: the strong-style pair programming.

The golden rule for this style of pairing is:
"For an idea to go from your head into the computer it MUST go through someone else's hands"

Instead of "I have an idea, give me the keyboard", we'll try to do things the other way around: "I have an idea, please take the keyboard"

Many thanks to Llewellyn Falco for proposing the alternative of strong-style pair programming! Read more about it on his blog:

See you at the meetup!


A Coding Dojo is a team practice format that accelerates knowledge transfer and sharing skills between team members. With an experienced facilitator, it is also a way of learning by applying various techniques.


The following skills are typical candidates for improvement during a dojo:

• Refactoring
• Simple design
• Clean code
• Improving pair programming technique
• How to safely modify code you don't understand (usually legacy code)
• Learning a new programming language
• Unit testing
• Test driven development

In addition, coding dojo can be used by a team as a collective and structured way of solving difficult or risky problems related to production, like fixing a bug or redesigning parts of the application.

How it works?

The basic format of a coding dojo:

• All developers and the facilitator gather in a room.
• The facilitator introduces the purpose and the format of the coding dojo.
• One laptop with a functional development environment is connected to a projector.
• Two developers pair program on the laptop. The others are in the room, watching the code changes.
• Every 7 minutes, one developer leaves the laptop and the next one from the room takes his place.
• After a specified period of time (usually around two hours), the dojo ends with a retrospective.

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