March 2, 2019

Learn TDD with Codemanship

Our Blog Has Moved

It finally happened. After limping on with an obsolete blogging platform for 14 years, I've finally decided to put this feed to bed and start a shiny new blog on a better, current platform.

All new Codemanship blog posts will appear at

February 8, 2019

Learn TDD with Codemanship

10 Years of Codemanship

2019 marks the 10th anniversary since I started my training an coaching company for developers, Codemanship.

Since 2009, I've trained more than 3,000 developers on public coourses and client-site workshops, and hundreds of thousands more have downloaded the free tutorials, watched the free screencasts and read the TDD course book online.

I've been lucky enough to work with some great clients, including the BBC, Sage, UBS, Elsevier, John Lewis, Samsung, ASOS, Ordnance Survey and many more great companies, and worked all over the UK, as well as in Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Romania and Poland.

I'm also proud to have started the original Software Craftsmanship conference that inspired many more, to have - with your help - raised tens of thousands of pounds for Bletchley Park, and for maths and coding clubs. I've produced a sell-out West End comedy show, and even collaborated on an album that made it into Amazon's dance top 20!

In this time of rapid change and uncertainty, who knows what the next 10 years of Codemanship may bring. One thing's for sure: it won't be dull!

To celebrate 10 years of Codemanship, I'm offering 10 exclusive 1-day code craft training workshops to be run on client sites.

You can choose from:

  • TDD
  • Software Design Principles
  • Refactoring
  • Unit Testing

And any one of 10 Tuesdays or Thursdays coming up between now and Brexit (if you're in the EU, get 'em while you can!!!)

Just pick your date, and choose your course, whip out the company credit card, and Bob's your uncle. (Payment by invoice is also available.)

Each 1-day workshop costs £1,795 for up to 20 people - that's as little as £90 per person. (Normal price for a 1-day code craft workshop is £3,995.)

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January 9, 2019

Learn TDD with Codemanship

Team Craft - New Codemanship Workshop for 2019

I'm delighted to announce the launch of a new Codemanship workshop for 2019. Team Craft is a one-day workshop for 6-12 people that's stretches your skills in collaborative design and continuous delivery.

It's the product of 10 years running team exercises as part of Codemanship training workshops, as well as at conferences and meet-ups around the world. These experiences have been consolidated and refined into an action-packed day that will turbo-charge the Team Fu of new and established teams alike.

It promotes technical team skills like:

  • Collaborative Design
  • Mob Programming
  • Trunk-based Development
  • Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery

Team Craft is a completely hands-on workshop that reaches the parts other workshops don't.

Over the course of the day, participants will design and deliver a working solution to a realistic real-world problem as a team.

From a standing start, they will:

  • Break down the requirements
  • Assign work to individuals and/or pairs
  • Choose the technology stack
  • Set up version control
  • Set up a CI server to build and test the solution as it takes shape
  • Agree on a high-level design and establish the interfaces and contracts between components/services
  • Test-drive the implementation of the components
  • Demonstrate a working end product to their "customer" (the trainer)

The emphasis is on learning by doing, with a 45-minute introduction with key tips on how to succeed as a team, and ending with a 45-minute retrospective where we will draw out lessons learned in the 5-hour practical exercise.

To find out more, visit

October 12, 2018

Learn TDD with Codemanship

TDD Training - Part I (Classic TDD), London, Sat Dec 1st

My flagship Codemanship TDD training course returns in a series of 3 standalone Saturday workshops aimed at self-funding learners.

It's the exact same highly popular training we've delivered to more than 2,000 developers since 2009, with 100% hands-on learning reinforced by our jam-packed 200-page TDD course book.

Part 1 is on Saturday Dec 1st in central London, and it's amazingly good value at just £99.

Part I goes in-depth on "classic" TDD, the super-important refactoring discipline, and software design principles that you can apply to your code as it grows and evolves to keep it easy to change so you can maintain the pace of development.

  • Why do TDD?

  • An introduction to TDD

  • Red, Green, Refactor

  • The Golden Rule

  • Working backwards from assertions

  • Testing your tests

  • One reason to fail

  • Writing self-explanatory tests

  • Speaking the customer's language

  • Triangulating designs

  • The Refactoring discipline

  • Software Design Principles
    • Simple Design

    • Tell, Don’t Ask

    • S.O.L.I.D.

The average price of a public 1-day dev training course, per person, is around £600-800. This is fine if your company is picking up the tab.

But we've learned over the years that many devs get no training paid for by their employer, so we appreciate that many of you are self-funding your professional development. Our Saturday workshops are priced to be accessible to professional developers.

In return, developers who've attended our weekend workshops have recommended us to employers and colleagues, and most of the full-price client-site training and coaching we do comes via these referrals.

Please be advised that we do not allow corporate bookings on our workshops for self-funders. Group bookings are limited to a maximum of 4 people. If you would like TDD training for your team(s), please contact me at to discuss on-site training.

Find out more at the Eventbrite course page

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October 6, 2018

Learn TDD with Codemanship

Be The Code You Want To See In The World

It's no big secret that I'm very much from the "Just Do It" school of thought on how to apply good practices to software development. I meet teams all the time who complain that they've been forbidden to do, say, TDD by their managers. My answer is always "Next time, don't ask".

After 25 years doing this for a living, much of that devoted to mentoring teams in the developer arts , I've learned two important lessons:

1. It's very difficult to change someone's mind once it's made up. I wasted a lot of time "selling" the benefits of technical practices like unit testing and refactoring to people for whom no amount of evidence or logic was ever going to make them try it. It's one of the reasons I don't do much conference speaking these days.

2. The best strategies rely on things within our control. Indeed, strategies that rely on things beyond our control aren't really strategies at all. They're just wishful thinking.

The upshot of all this is an approach to working that has two core tenets:

1. Don't seek permission

2. Do what you can do

Easy to say, right? It does imply that, as a professional, you have control over how you work.

Here's the thing: as a professional, you have control over how you work. It's not so much a matter of getting that control, as recognising that - in reality - because you're the one writing the code, you already have that control. Your boss is very welcome to write the code themselves if they want it done their way

Of course, with great power comes great responsibility. You want control? Take control. But be sure to be acting in the best interests of your customer and other stakeholders, including the other developers on your team. Code is something you inflict on people. Do it with kindness.

And so there you have it. A mini philosophy. Don't rant and rave about how code should be done. Just do it. Be the code you want to see in the world.

Plenty of developers talk a good game, but their software tells a different story. It's often the case that the great and worthy and noble ideas you see presented in books and at conferences bear little resemblence to how their proponents really work. I've been learning, through Codemanship, that it's more effective to show teams what you do. Talk is cheap. That's why my flagship TDD workshop doesn't have any slides. Every idea is illustrated with real code, every practice is demonstrated right in front of you.

And there isn't a single practice in any Codemanship course I haven't applied many times on real software for real businesses. It's all real, and it all really works in the real world.

What typically prevents teams from applying them isn't their practicality, or how difficult they are to learn. (Although don't underestimate the learning curves.) The obstacles are normally whether they have the will to give it a proper try, and tied up in that, whether they're allowed to try it.

My advice is simple: learn to do it under the radar, in the background, under the bedsheets with a torch, and then the decision to apply it on real software in real teams for real customers will be entirely yours.

October 1, 2018

Learn TDD with Codemanship

50% Off Codemanship Training for Start-ups and Charities

One of the most fun aspects of running a dev training company is watching start-ups I helped a few years ago go from strength to strength.

The best part is seeing how some customers are transforming their markets (I don't use the "d" word), and reaping the long-term benefits of being able to better sustain the pace of innovation through good code craft.

I want to do more to help new businesses, so I've decided that - as of today - start-ups less than 5 years old, with less than 50 employees, will be able to buy Codemanship code craft training half-price.

I'm also extending that offer to non-profits. Registered charities will also be able to buy Codemanship training for just 50% of the normal price.

June 10, 2018

Learn TDD with Codemanship

Only This Week - Save Up To 65% On Codemanship Training

For one week only, we’re offering a veritable picnic of on-site code craft training at never-to-be repeated prices.

Save up to 65%, and train your developers in key skills like TDD, refactoring and OO design for as little as £40 per person per day. That’s full, action-packed hands-on days of code craft training.

Book any Codemanship training course before June 17th and save a whopping 50%. Book all four of our courses and save 65%. That’s a massive £12,000.

Find out more by visiting

June 8, 2018

Learn TDD with Codemanship

The Entire Codemanship TDD Course Book - Absolutely Free

Changes are afoot with my code craft training and coaching company, Codemanship, and as part of that, I'm making my 222-page TDD course book available to download as a spiffy full-colour PDF for free.

It covers everything from the basics of Red-Green-Refactor, through software design principles to apply to your growing code, all the way up to advanced topics other TDD books and courses don't reach, like mutation testing, property-based and data-driven testing and Continuous Inspection. Many people who've read the book have commented on how straightforward and to-the-point it is. Shorter than most TDD/code craft books, but covers more, all in practical detail.

Of course, to get the best from the book, you should try the exercises.

Better still, try the exercises with the guy who wrote the book in the room to guide you.

March 9, 2018

Learn TDD with Codemanship

S.O.L.I.D. C# - Online Training Event, Sat Apr 14th

Details of another upcoming 1-day live interactive training workshop for C# developers looking to take their design skills to the next level.

I'll be helping you get to grips with S.O.L.I.D. and much more besides with practical hands-on tutorials and exercises.

Places are limited. You can find out more and grab your place at

January 23, 2018

Learn TDD with Codemanship

Without Improving Code Craft, Your Agile Transformation Will Fail

"You must be really busy!" is what people tend to say when I tell them what I do.

It stands to reason. If software is "eating the world", then code craft skills must be highly in demand, and therefore training and coaching for developers in those skills must be selling like hotcakes.

Well, you'd think so, wouldn't you?

The reality, though, is that code craft is critically undervalued. The skills needed to deliver reliable, maintainable software at a sustainable pace - allowing businesses to maintain the pace of innovation - are not in high demand.

We can see this both in the quality of code being produced by the majority of teams, and in where organisations focus their attentions and where they choose to invest in developing skills and capabilities.

"Agile transformations" are common. Some huge organisations are attempting them on a grand scale, sending their people on high-priced training courses and drafting in hundreds of Agile coaches - mostly Scrum-certified - to assist, at great expense.

Only a small minority invest in code craft at the same time, and typically they invest a fraction of the time, effort and money they budget for Agile training and coaching.

The end result is software that's difficult to change, and an inability to respond to new and changing requirements. Which is kind of the whole point of Agile.

Let me spell it out in bold capital letters:


You can't be responsive to change if your code is expensive to change. It's that simple.

While you build your capability in product management, agile planning and all that scrummy agile goodness, you also need to be addressing the factors that increase the cost of changing code. Skills like unit testing, TDD, refactoring, SOLID, CI/CD are a vital part of agility. They are hard skills to crack. A 3-day Certified Code Crafter course ain't gonna cut the mustard. Developers need ongoing learning and practice, with the guidance of experienced code crafters. I was lucky enough to get that early in my career. Many other developers are not so lucky.

That's why I built Codemanship; to help developers get to grips with the code-facing skills that few other training and coaching companies focus on.

But, I'll level with you: even though I love what I'm doing, commercially it's a struggle. The reason so few others offer this kind of training and coaching is because there's little money it. Decision makers don't have code craft on their radars. There's been many occasions when I've thought "May as well just get Scrum-certified". I'm not going to go down without a fight, but what I really need (apart from them to cancel Brexit) is for a shift in the priorities of business who are currently investing millions on Agile transformations that are all but ignoring this crucial area.

Of course, those are my problems, and I made my choices. I'm very happy doing what I'm doing. But it's indicative of a wider problem that affects us all. Getting from A to B is about more than just map reading and route planning. You need a well-oiled engine to get you there, and to get you wherever you want to go next. Too many Agile transformations end up broken down by the side of the road, unable to go anywhere.