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featured image Future Day 2024 – Learning about agile software development at Cloudogu
04/30/2024 in Insides

Future Day 2024 – Learning about agile software development at Cloudogu

Maren Süwer
Maren Süwer

Requirements Engineer

Can you program a game in one day? And what exactly is Scrum? These were the questions asked by seven schoolchildren who participated in the nationwide “Future Day” (Zukunftstag) at Cloudogu on April 25, 2024. The “Future Day” is an opportunity for boys and girls to gain an insight into various professions that are still heavily dominated by gender. That’s why, like many other companies, we opened our premises in Braunschweig to girls and boys to show them the world of agile software development.

Playful learning of Scrum and programming concepts

Until the morning break, the children got to know everyday life at Cloudogu. By playing games and trying things out, the seven girls and boys were able to get to know Scrum and programming better.

At Cloudogu, we work according to Scrum – an agile approach whose goal is continuous improvement. Scrum is divided into cycles in which “sprint planning”, execution of the sprint, “review” and “retrospective” are each carried out. To familiarize themselves with these principles, the children quickly became “ball producers”: Following strict rules, the balls had to be touched once by everyone before they got one point for doing so. After each round, there was a brief discussion about how the number of points could be increased. These “mini-retrospectives” helped the participating children to develop a good strategy after four rounds and achieve the highest number of points accordingly.

The children simulate a sprint cycle through passing balls

To get to know software development, the children worked with Scratch – a block-based visual programming language. Although this is not used directly at Cloudogu, it demonstrates the basic concepts of programming in a simple and understandable way. They worked through the concepts by trying them out and testing them directly. After just a few minutes, they had already put together small programs and were able to move a character.

During the subsequent morning break, they were able to talk about school, computer science lessons and previous experience in a relaxed atmosphere over muesli and milk and exchange ideas with colleagues from Cloudogu.

Development of a game in a sprint

After the break, the boys and girls were able to experience everyday life in development at Cloudogu in even more detail by going through a complete sprint cycle themselves. A fictitious customer request was presented: A game of catch in Scratch is desired. The children first discussed the requirements and implementation options in sprint planning. Important questions were clarified: What must be implemented as a minimum for the customer to be satisfied? How much can we achieve in this sprint? What extensions would be possible if there was still time?

The schoolchildren started the sprint with the good feeling of being able to implement all the minimum requirements. As is often the case with Cloudogu, they developed the game using pair programming. In order to give each child the same opportunities, the pairs switched roles in pair programming every 15 minutes: one child sat at the computer and programmed, while another sat next to them, navigating through the next steps whilst contributing their thoughts.

After just two hours, all groups had a working game of catch. They were even able to implement other ideas during this time. Creative backgrounds, exciting additional options and funny effects were programmed for the game. There were also other ideas on how they could improve the game even further.

The children try out Scratch themselves on the laptop

The sprint completion: positive feedback in review and retrospective

After a well-deserved lunch break, during which there was a lively discussion about the games that had been created, the sprint was already over. As in our normal development routine, a public sprint review followed, which was also attended by other interested parties. Like real developers, the boys and girls presented their creative and exciting catch games themselves. In addition to interested questions, there was consistently positive feedback for the participants.

The “Future Day” ended with a retrospective in which the children discussed the day. What did they like? What could have been done better? What did they learn? “I’m surprised how much you can develop in so little time,” was the comment of one participant. Another was: “It’s much easier to work in groups than alone.”

To summarize, we at Cloudogu can draw a positive conclusion. The “Future Day” was an all-round successful day, during which seven girls and boys were able to gain insights into agile software development at Cloudogu and learn about basic programming concepts. We are pleased that we were able to give the children a good insight into our everyday life and show them a possible perspective for their professional future.