Research Dojo: Collaborative Approaches for our Agile Community

Johanna Hunt and Xiaofeng Wang

Academic Workshop


In Coding Dojos developers gather to learn from each other and improve their skills via deliberate practice. For this Research Dojo we encourage attendees of XP2013 to join us to do the same and collaboratively design research.

There are many similarities between software development and conducting research. Both are knowledge intensive: how to come up with a good idea (either a software product or a research question to be answered), how to implement the idea and how to evaluate it. Both development and research are also collaborative processes, involving communicating and cooperating with colleagues and peers.

Agile approaches have yet to be effectively applied in the research world. Even researchers studying agile methods typically do not use such practices purposefully in their daily work. If agile practices are effective for collaborative work in software development teams, then why not use them also for research? How can we conduct research into agile without applying the lessons learned to our own work?

We are particularly interested to explore:

  • parallels and differences between conducting research and developing software
  • approaches to conducting small iterative pieces of research in practice
  • using agile ideas and values (such as increased feedback loops) to improve research practice

The primary objective of this workshop is to explore and demonstrate how to use agile practices to conduct research collaboratively. This is not a standard Academic workshop however. This is a call to come and collaborate, no matter what your background, and help design a short piece of research with us.


Johanna Hunt, Eventyr Limited, has been sharing her general willingness to help out with the UK and international Agile community since 2006. She has presented and facilitated sessions across the US and Europe on subjects ranging from the advantages of agile approaches for mobile application user experience design through to the use of traditional storytelling approaches for retrospectives, and is currently focussed on coaching strategies for ‘large problems’. She has yet to find time to complete her PhD (on the impact of Agile transformation on team and organisational culture) due to her passion for team facilitation and coaching out in the ‘real’ world.


Xiaofeng Wang, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano, is an agile researcher. Her PhD study was focused on understanding agile practices through the perspective of complex adaptive systems. After the completion of PhD she has been actively involved in agile research community and served various XP and Agile conferences. In particular she has run a workshop at XP2009 for both agile researchers and practitioners to review the history of agile research and explore the emerging topics for future research. It is always an intriguing question for her as how to better conduct agile research that is both relevant to practice and of high quality.