Call and response

. 1 min read

I was enjoying dinner in a Kyoto yakitori bar, watching hundreds of skewers being carefully grilled. Amazingly, amongst the madness, the kitchen did not drop a single order.

They had a basic ordering system - the waiters simply shouted new orders to the chef, who then repeated the order back to the waiter.

Call and response is a crucial ingredient of software development too. Demonstrate understanding by repeating the spec in your own words. It sounds so simple that it’s often overlooked.

When I was working in Berlin, I was the only native English speaker on the engineering team. We could not assume that a person had written a ticket spec perfectly, nor assume that it would be interpreted correctly.

We solved this problem simply. During the sprint planning meeting, each developer had to explain their tickets in their own words.

Call and response saves so much dev time, misunderstanding, and unhappiness.

Photo by Danny Gallegos on Unsplash.