Feed Your Team – How Calories Correlate to Technical Excellence


pizzaIn theory, an Agile Dev team should be self organising and self motivated to continuously improve their development environment. Keeping up the motivation and learning needs dedication; here at thetrainline.com we’ve tried various formats with varying degrees of success but as a development manager I feel that the approach with the greatest success can be correlated to… calories.

We have QA developer community sessions, BA community sessions, etc. but the most popular is the software engineering technical excellence community sessions… and these are the only sessions that include food. The sessions used to consist of a meeting of a dozen Tech Leads and the preferred refreshment was burritos – hence the name the Burrito Club.  A welcome desire for increased attendance led Burrito Club to become open invite and it now attracts over 30 attendees to each session, where we share ideas (and around 6-8 pizzas between us!).

Burrito Club at thetrainline.com

So, how much does thetrainline.com care about technical excellence?

Burrito started in June 2011 with 12 tech leads, and we switched to an open session format in April 2012. So, as of August 2012:

  • A burrito has 700 calories: 700 calories * 10 months * 4 weeks * 12 people = 336000 calories
  • A pizza has 270 calories per slice and 8 slices per pizza (and we order at least 6). So: 5 months * 4 weeks * 6 pizzas * 270 calories per slice * 8 slices = 259200 calories

In total that is over 500,000 calories.

In summary: feed your team.  It’s no co-incidence that a quick Google search of ‘software development pizza’ returns over 6 million results but ‘software development bran flakes’ returns only 152,000. 🙂

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