Teaching Agile with Minecraft

A few years ago, I got involved for the first time in the Agile community in Argentina, very rapidly, the feeling of willing to transfer this concepts to everybody started emerging in me.

Two years ago, I started being an assistant teacher at a class called "Methodologies for Team Conduction" in my university, in which my job, aside from grading tests and practices, was to teach my experiences working in Systems Engineering and to create an Agile Methodologies assignment in which students could get a grasp on what being Agile meant for a team, and how could this impact in their day to day work.

This lesson has been doing really well with how we were teaching it, until this semester, when we found that one of the two courses we teach was lacking engagement (not just for the Agile class, it was like that all the time), which really got me into thinking on how could we improve our way of teaching in order to make it the most engaging possible.

Enter Minecraft

Since it's release, I've been an elusive player, but a faithful follower of the game and some of it's most reknowned players. And for all this time, I've noticed that there is a lot of people using the game in so many ways other than it's original "build a house, survive the night" marketing, that it really intrigued me on how I could benefit from knowing all this.

I was totally blank until last week, when I saw a documentary about Game Story Development, in which it's second part it talks about kids using Minecraft in their schools, and that as a result they were getting team-quality approaches to solving problems.

So after a few days of work, I got a prototype map in which 8 teams can work on a blank slate of land, in which we define some goals and we have Scrum-like iterations for the students to make their planning, development and retrospectives.

Last night, I invited the rest of the teachers to help me playtest this concept. And the results were more than great! It was really, really fun to do this activity. It also helped me understand what to improve in order to allow for better interaction with the students, and also taught me that the entry barrier is near to none, as one of the teachers had never played Minecraft before, and was completely into the activity after the first 5 minutes of the playtest.

Next Steps

I still need to finish the map, and have it completely polished before we release it into the university. But our first test was more than successful.

Next we need to try it out in the University, see how the students take it.

I hope this is a great success!




Get involved with your community

Development as a whole is a people job, most of your work involves getting in touch with other people, by getting their opinion, solving some of their needs or reaching out for help.

Also, most of us, love our craft, our tools, our languages. This creates the innate need for people to share their interests, hobbies and experiences.

Therefore, communities were created.

Joining a Community

The first step of getting involved is joining a community. To do this, there are plentyful of ways. Most communities have gatherings, conferences, mailing lists, forums or IRC chats. You can participate by joining to either one or multiple of this communication channels.

Just by joining the community, you already get benefits, you get to know what the community is talking about, what are the main interests, who are the most relevant members and the most interesting projects. This already gives you a great hint in what you can contribute back to the community.

How to contribute

There are multiple ways for contributing to a community, each has their own, be sure to research them. But most notably, the majority of the communities have a list of ongoing projects, job-lists and gatherings in which you can collaborate and contribute to. Also, you can propose your own projects if they fit the culture.

Another great way of contributing is helping people with their doubts. Helping to solve another persons problem is really benefitial when done in a public environment, as it stands for a great documentation source in case something similar happens to raise up again.

Benefits from contributing

A great part from contributing is that, in some way or form, you're always getting something in return.

The first thing you'll get back from contributing is the joy of helping out other people (and many times yourself).

Another great benefit is that you will be participating in whatever is hyped by the community, which will polish your skills in that matter to the maximum possible.

By helping out members, you're most likely getting exposure, your name will start popping up more and more frequently when in need to do something. This is really great, because it gives you a lot of opportunities to keep contributing and also the possibility to get known outside of your community.


As our job is mostly interacting with people, try as much as you can to get involved in every community that you're interested in.

The joy of helping others and getting to know and learn what's trendy is one of the best return on investments you can put on your time and effort.

So my advice is, start reaching out to your community, you'll get a kick out of it.




Why am I coding?

The Beginning

My name is David Litvak Bruno, from Argentina, a simple guy that found huge interest in coding at the early age of 4, when we bought our first computer with my dad, a Packard-Bell 386.

That was back in 1994, when I was telling my mom I wanted to be an "Ingeniero en puputación" ("poputer engineer" in Baby-Spanish). My interest started when watching my first lines of DOS hacking, just installing a bunch of random stuff on that computer.

Many years passed between that and my first actual line of code. It was in 2004, when I was in the second year of my Highschool education. My Technology course teacher started teaching us the basics of Visual Basic. At that time, I thought Visual Basic was THE BOMB, and everything around me could be modeled just by using a couple of If statements in Visual Basic. Oh my, those were great times, I had so much fun!

Some years later, when I entered College, I met Juan Manuel Garcia, who is now one of my best friends. He introduced me to Python.


This was what, if I already was in love with programming, definitely made me dive like a crazy man into code.

I started doing all kinds of tutorials, I was so interested in it's syntax, it's simplicity, it's everything. This got me introduced to PyAr, the Python Argentina Community, which was helding a series of talks in a venue nearby my place.

Stupid simple apps started flowing like crazy. Soon I started getting into bigger and bigger projects.

Then, in 2011, after some jobs doing C# and VB.Net, I got my first job using Python, this was an incredible journey. It got me learning a lot of libraries I'd never heard about, it got me motivated to start writing my own libraries and reaching out to more and more developers.

In 2012, I got my first opportunity to give something back to the community, I had a spot in PyDay Lujan and PyCon 2012, where I was able to show some of the stuff that was amazing me the most at that time (and still do amaze me).


Now, I'm looking forward to what's my next project. I'm working on ideas to continue giving back to the community that took me in so kindly.