When a team works together long enough they start to develop a set of quirks and idiosyncrasies that help them through their working life.

What odd little habits and processes has your team developed over the years?

Here’s some examples from our weird little world.

Super food Tuesdays

We use agile development techniques to build ode. An integral part is that every other Tuesday we get together and have a retrospective over the previous two weeks. As part of that I buy a load of super foods for everyone to munch on.

This helps keep energy levels up, provides a start of meeting talking point and makes for good conversation on Flickr. Plus it’s better for the brain than cheap coffee and biscuits. Recently, as a one off, we even decided to cook our own food.

Adding “-inator” to any little product we build

SCORM-inator, META-nator, CREDIT-inator. To build ode we need a whole raft of back end tools that we’ve had to build for ourselves. For want of any better naming system we just add “-inator” to their task description. Yeah, it’s not very amusing but it’s become an unstoppable office in joke.

Lateness league

We have a 15 minute stand up meet every morning at 9:45am. As you can imagine there’s really no room to roll in late so we invented a lateness league to punish offenders who come in last post- cigarette/coffee machine/memory lapse three times over a two week period. The punishment has ranged from buying the whole team drinks to singing a song in front of everyone.

Strangely enough it works.

Whiteboard styles

When whiteboard sketching we’ve noticed that everyone has a style. James does tree structures, Dik does tubes and boxes, Ed does timelines, I do numbered lists. I have no idea what this means psychologically.

Theming our Learning Matrix

In each fortnightly retrospective we do a learning matrix.

  1. Top left = Things we’ve done that we want to continue doing (good, yay!)
  2. Top right = Things we’ve done poorly that we need to improve (evil, boo!)
  3. Bottom left = Ideas (lightbulb)
  4. Bottom right = Kudos (those folks who have contributed above and beyond)

Somehow this translated as smiley face, sad face, lightbulb and a bunch of flowers. This then turned into themes. I present the 3 most embarrassing below (from left: Doctor Who, Artistic and Star Wars):

Yes, I know what this looks like.

“He/She knows what time it is”

This is the highest compliment we can pay to any inspirational people we meet in the course of building ode.

Planning poker

When our development team sit down together to estimate how long (in points) each piece of functionality will take to build they use an old set of Flashcards from a Spanish course by RM called “Sonica Spanish” upon which we have scrawled numbers.

Each coder is given an identical set of cards and they “play” a card that represents how many points they think each story will take to do. Then on turning over the cards they can wrangle between them how many points they agree it will take. It’s just more fun than shouting a number. Plus our coders have mean poker faces.

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