The word dojo means “the place of the way.” Originally, dojos were learning halls attached to temples. At Verizon, we’ve created engineering dojos to accelerate our learnings around real challenges in our organization. Through a combination of coaching, doing, and evaluating, dojo participants transform knowledge into wisdom.
One of the main things we do as coaches is to establish shared understanding of the desired outcome by using a technique called story mapping. We’ll show teams how having a visual map helps in all aspects of the delivery lifecycle including development, testing, and operations. Next, we’ll focus on testability first and dive into what kinds of tests we need to create to maximize our coverage around the desired outcome. Finally, we’ll dive right into the code with developers and help teams on things like code redesign, CI pipelines, branching, and AWS.
The structure of a Dojo engagement is usually 6 weeks with 2 and ½ day Sprints. We keep our sprints short on purpose, mainly for coaches and participants to focus coaching needs, and to surface any issues quickly. The short sprints also help in evaluating whether a given technical approach is working and whether we need to pull in other coaches for advice.
The lessons we learned at Verizon are relevant to anyone attempting to undergo a transformation as they reflect our attempts to address the cultural and communications ingredients that are vital in DevOps. In this talk, I’ll share what we learned about starting and running a learning Dojo, why we feel the Dojo model works, and how we are addressing some common DevOps challenges going forward.