The Pomodoro Technique

Organizers: Matteo Vaccari, Federico Gobbo


Objectives:

To learn about the Pomodoro timeboxing technique

Contents:

The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management technique that can be used by individuals, or teams. It is valuable in helping people to focus, to handle interruptions, to track time spent doing tasks, and to sort out where the difference between "ideal engineering time" and "calendar time" comes from.

We work in small, tightly focused time boxes of 25 minutes, followed by a 5 minutes pause.  Each of these time boxes is called a "pomodoro", (Italian for "tomato") because we use a tomato-shaped kitchen timer to mark the time.  Whenever we start working we turn off email, instant messaging, phone and we load the timer to 25 minutes.  Then we just work, and do nothing else.  When the timer rings, we push the keyboard away, get up, breathe, and perhaps reflect on the work we just did.  Was it effective?  We mark a tick on the story card, or personal journal, and rest for a few minutes.  At the beginning of the day we plan how we'll use our pomodori.  At the end of the day we record all the pomodori spent on each activity.  Right now, my timer reads 12 min., so I still have time to keep editing my session proposal :)

Topics we'll cover:

  • why is it useful?  why does it work?
  • how to apply to individual work
  • how to protect your pomodoro
  • applying the pomodoro in teams
  • planning and tracking in pomodori


The technique was invented by Francesco Cirillo, and is widely applied among Italian XPers. Many people apply it even outside software development. There is a paper where the technique is explained.


Process & Timetable:

Matteo and Federico will illustrate the use of the technique via dialogue and pantomime.  We'll show how the technique is used, and play a few sketches such as, "how you deal with someone who keeps interrupting your pomodori."

1 pomodoro (25min): motivation, how to use it individually.

5 min. pause

1 pomodoro (25min): how to use it in teams: tracking and estimating in pomodori.


Intended Audience:

any -- the technique is easy to learn and widely applicable

Benefits of participating:

To learn a very useful technique. Once you're pomodoro-infected you'll start using it all the time.