Third MSFTCorpDojo today and MineSweeper and MicroPairing again. We did almost no design this time and started with only end-to-end tests. In my opinion the purest way of executing a kata. We had very good progress in the first hour but started refactoring our tests quite hard, something I've never seen to this extent before in any dojo session I've ever attended. The result was that we did not complete the kata but we ended up with eleven really nice tests with a few nice helper methods. And if we've spent another 20 or 30 minutes we would probably have seen classes (or at least one) emerge from the code all by them selfs, just as I expect it to be. All in all a great session.
I especially like the fact that one of the participants did not do any coding in his daily work and had never tried TDD at all before the session. And he felt he really learned something and that he felt he could contribute and participate as any other person in the room. I guess that proofs how well the dojo format works for all kinds of skill levels.
I only really experienced one big setback today and that was when we did a 10+minute refactoring that involved more than one person to complete. The refactoring was in the test code and created a very general method to generate input and output data for our tests. I'm personally not sure that refactoring really added value in terms of readability. I would personally have sticked with a much less generic and simple way of implementing my tests even though it would have left me with a few more hard coded strings. But I think that is OK in the test code if it increases readability. On the other hand we got a really nice generic method to use in future tests so I guess it's a trade off as usual and you should do what you think is best in each situation.