The idea behind the session is to simulate the life of a start-up software company. In the early rounds of the tournament, the priority for each team is to get a robot, any robot, out there an playing matches. As the tournament progresses, quality becomes more important as you need to adapt your robot to make it a better competitor.
This ability to adapt your approach to the work to the context you’re doing it in is, I think, really important for the true craftsperson to grasp. If you’ve been reading Kent Beck’s posts about start-ups and design, you’ll be familiar with this subject. It’s wonderful to be able to patiently produce a beautifully-worked piece of furniture, but what if the building is burning down and you just need a ladder to escape, right now? Can you rip up some floorboards and knock something together from the materials to hand and save your family?
There’s a great skill in understanding and working to the appropriate level of quality for the context you’re currently in, and I hope this session gives people a little insight into that.