Managed Chaos

To Pair, or Not to Pair

Two areas where most teams fail in their Agile implementation is on the technical practices and the people aspects of Agile. Often this is because they do not invest enough time/energy in this direction. The primary reason is there are no immediate results and they also do not know where to begin.

Especially when it comes to the core technical practices, the cost of change seems to be high and there is lot of resistance to change the status quo. As a coach, the first step in this direction is to pair with the team members on a daily basis. When I say pair, its not necessary that you have to write code/test with them. But just be an observer while the team members perform their day to day job.

While pairing remember to do the following,

1. ¬†Get the team’s consensus on this exercise. If there are concerns listen ‘actively’, try and address their concerns

2. Make sure you don’t rub them on the wrong side, which would be a major set back for any initiative on this direction

3. While you pair with them, ensure that the team members feel comfortable in your presence. Basically be nice, friendly and don’t judge!

4. Don’t forget to treat them as your peer and be open to suggestions

5. Be Patient

Once you take care of the aforementioned items, your pairing exercise will be jolly ride for the team member, as well as for the coach.

The benefits of doing this exercise is end-less and in my experience this has helped me immensely to know the real problems in the current practices. It has also helped me to observe the patterns and decide on the next set of activities in this direction.

After all coding and testing is the bread and butter for any software organisation. Why not do something to improve these practices. Remember this step is crucial not just for the current organisation/team but for the community of software practitioners we breed. Maybe for a better and brighter future!

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