Managed Chaos

To Pair, or Not to Pair II

Several months ago, when Naresh shared his experience pairing with his team-members I could easily see why it is a great idea for a technical coach to sit with his team and coach them on various technical practices. However being a non-technical coach I don’t ‘sit’ with my team to do anything. Further I realised that I don’t do activities that brings me closer to the actual product itself (read code). With a wee bit of self-doubt, I decided to plunge into it and figure it out myself. It was fairly a successful experiment with my first team. Eventually when I tried it out with other teams, I could see how I could derive a lot of value doing this exercise. When I wrote the previous blog, I thought about the scenarios that I had been through and then compiled a list which was a good set of pointers to kick start the practice. However, by the time I prepared my presentation, I did modify this list to make it more crisp and lean, which in an ideal world would have been the end of the story. Thankfully in the Agile world, the story din’t end there.

Couple of days ago, I did present this idea at Agile India 2015. Since I have to coin a term, I called it Non- Homogenous pairing. As expected there were few questions from various practitioners during the remaining days of the conference. Definitely I had a great time interacting with these people discussing the options through their eyes. However there was something I did not expect  which is a follow-up blog on the same topic 🙂

After talking to my fellow Agilists, I realised that this list is not enough. Primarily because we all are different and crooked in our own ways. Which is eerily beautiful and painful at the same time. So here I am adding few more items to my existing list, which I think is sufficient at the moment. But I am sure I will revisit this later, when its about time!

Here goes the list,

  • Make a Contract (Admin, Professional & Psychological)
  • Be a ‘Navigator’ – Observe, Make Notes, ASK!
  • Focus on the Big-Picture (Lean, XP, SystemsThinking)
  • Be confident but not over-confident/cocky!
  • Be inclusive, sensitive and non-scary
  • Time Box and talk less
  • Do not REPORT the observations (use them wisely)
  • Be promiscuous (pair with developers. testers, technical writers,architects etc)
  • Be the change

And here is the link for the presentation.

To pair or Not to pair from Karthik Kamal Balasubramaniam

Happy (Non-Homogenous) Pairing!

PS: Do write to me about your experience, I would love to know!


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