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Re: [XP] Presenting Pair Programming

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  • Dossy
    ... The statement because I drove hints at the fact that you weren t pairing quite properly. If you said because I drove more than he did that would be
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 16, 2001
      On 2001.01.16, Roger Lipscombe <rlipscombe@...> wrote:
      > I tried pairing with one of the new guys a
      > while back, and it didn't work out too well. This would appear to be
      > because I drove, and he felt a little stifled.

      The statement "because I drove" hints at the fact that you weren't
      pairing quite properly. If you said "because I drove more than he
      did" that would be slightly different. During a pairing, you should
      be switching off on who is driving frequently enough that neither person
      gets that "stifled" feeling.

      Just because the books says you switch by the non-driver saying
      "let me drive" doesn't mean that the driver can't say "here, you
      drive." Sometimes that's what it takes to let the other person
      know that they ought to be driving ...

      A big temptation because I'm the senior developer is for whoever
      I pair with to say "here, sit, you drive" and I politely refuse
      and try to make them drive first, even if they don't get anywhere
      and in the end I end up driving for a few minutes to get them
      going. This tactic has been working very well -- the junior
      developer gets to drive, and in later pairing sessions, has no
      problems by starting out driving.

      I simply worry about the day that will probably come when they
      won't want to give up the driver's seat ... then, I'll have to
      figure out something. Anyone have suggestions? Hopefully,
      being mindful of this case, I can avoid it before it ever
      becomes a problem ...

      > We've just had two new people start, and we need to get them up to speed on
      > the existing code base as quickly as possible. On top of this, there's a
      > lot of the code that only one or two people know anything about. As you can
      > imagine, this can lead to bottlenecks when something needs to get done --
      > we're not maudlin enough to worry about Truck Number :-)

      Actually, this sounds like a GREAT opportunity to do lots of PP.
      It'll get all those people who don't know into the process of
      starting to know, while producing business value at the same time.
      I'd encourage that the person in the pair "who knows" not drive
      as much as reasonably possible.

      > I'm going to try to encourage it that the _least_ experienced person on a
      > particular component signs up for it,

      Don't impose artificial external influences on your developers. Let
      people sign up for tasks they're _most interested_ in. They'll be
      more likely to actually learn something from the pairing experience.
      What good would it be for someone to sign up for something they're
      not interested in, then just pair with an experienced person and let
      them complete the task just to get it "out of the way"?

      > and then they pair with the person who
      > wrote it in the first place.

      This may be good. Maybe having two people who don't know pair trying
      to learn "in a vacuum" might be useful -- if they get stuck or have
      questions, they can always stop and ask someone who knows, even if
      they're not paired with that person. Try it out, see how it works.
      Try both approaches and take measurements, see which people feel
      helped them learn faster/better ...

      > Couple of other things that occurred to me...
      > We're looking at PP to help us with the following:
      > - Knowledge transference.
      > - Code Quality
      > What else do people find that it helps with? What tasks do they find it
      > doesn't work with?

      Another thing PP really helped us do around here is "team building."
      I approached one of our developers who I really had no interaction with
      who was kind of withdrawn from the established "cult of personality"
      ... after our first pairing session, I finally convinced him to sit
      with us at lunch and eat with us instead of taking his lunch back to
      his desk like he has been for the past few months since he started
      working here. I think the feeling of "inclusion" that comes from
      PP really helps people feel comfortable with each other, feel that
      other people are "open" to them as resources ... which, in the end
      helps the team as a whole move a LOT faster.

      If you know someone else knows, but don't feel comfortable to approach
      him or her, you may be more likely to plod along slowly on your own
      than to just walk up to someone and either ask them to pair, or just
      ask them your question. Big win, at least in our situation.

      - Dossy

      Dossy Shiobara mail: dossy@...
      Panoptic Computer Network web: http://www.panoptic.com/
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