Monday, December 8, 2008


Øredev was a fantastic conference! I can't stress that enough! So why haven't I blogged about it? Well, there's so many blogs already about it (google on "øredev" and "blog") so I don't really know how to contribute more content, just repeat what's already been said. That's why.

Instead, I'm going to write a note on one thing that I've taken with me from a talk at Øredev: the Pomodoro Technique. It's essentially a technique that takes agile to the personal productivity level: working in small and timeboxed iterations (25 minutes), with short breaks (3-5 minutes) between each iteration and longer breaks (15-30 minutes) between 4 iterations in a row. Oh, by the way, an iteration is called a pomodoro, italian for tomato. Why tomato? Because the inventor of the Pomodoro Technique, Francesco Cirillo, used an egg timer formed as a tomato during the early phase developing the technique. Further, each day starts with planning and ends with collecting and visualizing the data collected, ready to be analysed and retrospected.

So, the idea is very simple, but of course there a lot more to it. What you should start with is to read Staffan Nöteberg's Pomodoro Technique in 5 minutes. Actually, when the videos from Øredev get published, you should start there: Staffan Nöteberg did an excellent talk on the Pomodoro Technique, sometimes using hats and dolls to illustrate his points.

There's also a quite large pdf by Francesco Cirillo available, but I haven't had time to read that one yet.

I've just tried out the Pomodoro Technique myself for a couple of days now and some days have contained more pomodoros than others. Basically, I bought an egg timer for 25 SEK (around $3) and started with the fixed timebox part of the technique and logged the results. The second day I started to do some naïve estimation for each task. I also started with post-it notes for tasks, my personal pull system.

If you follow and read the links in this post, you'll see that I don't really do that much of the Pomodoro Technique! That's ok with me, I'm aware of that and that's why the title of this post is "PomodoroButtButtButt" (paraphrasing Jeff Sutherland's ScrumButt). I'm just getting used to the habit though, and making the human beings around me used to it as well. No need to be extreme here..

By the way, I'm still recording my workday in TimeSnapper, now TimeSnapper Professional. But that's a future blog post.