Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Code Retreat Tour 2010


I spent 2009 traveling around, pair-programming in exchange for room and board with a great opportunity to learn and share from a host of different people. Along the way, I met some fantastic people with fantastic ideas, capturing many of these thoughts in videos that I posted on my blog. At the beginning of the year, at the Codemash conference, Patrick Welsh and Nayan Hajratwala approached me with an idea for having a day-long event focused on practicing the fundamentals of software development. That is, get away from the day-to-day stresses associated with deadlines and trying to get things done. Over the course of several conversations, the concept of the code retreat crystallized. Through the year, the code retreat idea blossomed and spread around the world, from Romania to Iceland and, yes, even one in Canada. From the very first one in Ann Arbor, MI, in January, to the one in December in Cleveland, OH, I attended, hosted and facilitated many retreats. While the code retreat formula is still evolving and different facilitators have slightly different focuses, certain patterns and practices have emerged into an effective form of practice. Based on my experiences over 2009, I truly believe that code retreat is an important part of the software craftsmanship movement's focus on software developer development. :) So.....

I am announcing the coreyhaines code retreat tour 2010! For 2010, I have set the goal of facilitating 10 code retreats around the country and the world. I already have planned the first few, ranging from Seattle, WA, to Bucharest, Romania. I'll be in London for QCon and Sweden for Nordic Ruby Conference; I'm planning on working with the local companies there to host and facilitate code retreats there, as well.

There are two main goals for this tour. First, I want to spread the idea of code retreat and focused practice that has been established; Attendees to past code retreats have overwhelmingly been positive in their feedback. Second, I want to show and teach others how to facilitate a successful event. By spreading the techniques, the practical aspects of code retreat as a day-long practice session can really come to fruition.

One of the core code retreats of the tour is the one in April in Floyd, VA. Entryway Software is hosting a code retreat for the entire weekend. They have made a whole site dedicated to it, and it is something you won't want to miss. I've been to Floyd, and it is absolutely gorgeous! The weekend will be filled with practice sessions (standard code retreat style), plus some other activities, both social and technical. This is an event that you won't want to miss; go to the site and register now! Did I mention that it is free? Yup, free!

Speaking of free, code retreats are sponsor-driven. The location and the food at each event are provided by sponsors. A site sponsorship is generally a few hundred dollars, depending on how much catering costs in the city. However, we are also looking for tour-level sponsors, who will contribute money to support my travel, lodging, etc. What do you get for either of the sponsorships? Well, visibility in the community of developers who are passionate about their craft. If you are interested in sponsoring, please contact me.

A very special thanks to the efforts of Gustin Prudner and Katie Roberts from Entryway Software; their work has resulted in a fantastic tour website, where people can find out more information and keep abreast of any news. And, of course, my blog will be updated with more details.

Although I'll be attending and facilitating many code retreats this year, many more will be happening around the world. Perhaps there is one coming up in your neck of the woods. There is a ning site that is the central place for listing, registering and finding more information about all the other code retreats that are happening. If you don't see one coming up in your area, feel free to contact me, and I'll help you set one up.

And, of course, we have a twitter account that you can follow to find out information as it happens! Follow @coderetreat. If you are tweeting about, please use the hashtag #coderetreat.

Coming up in the next day, or so, will be another announcement related to code retreats that has the potential to see this idea get even larger.