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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Paring as part of recruiting process

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  • George Dinwiddie
    Hi, Avi, ... I ve done this to great effect. Not only do you get a deeper idea of their ability and fit with the team, but they don t get stuck on small
    Message 1 of 17 , Jun 2, 2011
      Hi, Avi,

      On 6/1/11 1:59 AM, avi_a@... wrote:
      > We're recruiting new team members, and we were thinking of having the
      > candidates pair with existing team members as part of their
      > evaluation.
      >
      > We've never done this before but I've heard this can be a good idea.
      > Any advice/tips as to how to get this done effectively? (if at all)

      I've done this to great effect. Not only do you get a deeper idea of
      their ability and fit with the team, but they don't get stuck on small
      differences between the way they've worked and the way you're
      accustomed. Done well, it's not like a pop test, but like a trial run.

      Check with your HR department for their rules. At one client where I
      introduced auditioning, they insisted on the same setup and evaluation
      form for every candidate. They also insisted that it couldn't be "real
      work" because they were worried about the appearance of using "free labor."

      No problem: We set up a toy project with some existing tests and a few
      desired stories and created a short list of open-ended questions for the
      evaluation form. We initially did this for developers, but then adapted
      the same code & scenario for testers and product owners.

      - George

      --
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
      Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
      Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    • avi_a@mapa.co.il
      Thanks all, sounds reassuring. I ll take a look into Johanna Rothman s site and the Elephant carpaccio exercise. Paul - 5 9 minute sprints? sounds interesting!
      Message 2 of 17 , Jun 2, 2011
        Thanks all, sounds reassuring.

        I'll take a look into Johanna Rothman's site and the Elephant carpaccio exercise.

        Paul - 5 9 minute sprints? sounds interesting! Could you elaborate a bit on how exactly that's done?

        George - Luckily for us HR is not an issue - there are no restrictions.
        Setting up a toy project instead of real work might be a good idea for us, for security's sake if for no other.
        Nevertheless I'm interested in how the dynamics should be applied (pairing or teaming, how long, what to expect of the new recruits - they might not all be acquainted with scrum or pairing and we want to be fair setting up realistic expectations on them.)
        Also what kind of feedback should we be gathering (that is - what kind of feedback should our existing team members be supplying about the new recruits) - would you make a formal evaluation form? free retrospect-like feedback? etc

        Thanks,
        -Avi



        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, George Dinwiddie <lists@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi, Avi,
        >
        > On 6/1/11 1:59 AM, avi_a@... wrote:
        > > We're recruiting new team members, and we were thinking of having the
        > > candidates pair with existing team members as part of their
        > > evaluation.
        > >
        > > We've never done this before but I've heard this can be a good idea.
        > > Any advice/tips as to how to get this done effectively? (if at all)
        >
        > I've done this to great effect. Not only do you get a deeper idea of
        > their ability and fit with the team, but they don't get stuck on small
        > differences between the way they've worked and the way you're
        > accustomed. Done well, it's not like a pop test, but like a trial run.
        >
        > Check with your HR department for their rules. At one client where I
        > introduced auditioning, they insisted on the same setup and evaluation
        > form for every candidate. They also insisted that it couldn't be "real
        > work" because they were worried about the appearance of using "free labor."
        >
        > No problem: We set up a toy project with some existing tests and a few
        > desired stories and created a short list of open-ended questions for the
        > evaluation form. We initially did this for developers, but then adapted
        > the same code & scenario for testers and product owners.
        >
        > - George
        >
        > --
        > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        > * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
        > Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
        > Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
        > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        >
      • Paul Tevis
        ... Here s the exercise as Alistair describes it: http://alistair.cockburn.us/Elephant+Carpaccio+exercise For the audition, I paired with the candidate. For
        Message 3 of 17 , Jun 5, 2011
          On Thu, Jun 2, 2011 at 11:09 PM, <avi_a@...> wrote:
          > Paul - 5 9 minute sprints? sounds interesting! Could you elaborate a bit on how exactly that's done?

          Here's the exercise as Alistair describes it:
          http://alistair.cockburn.us/Elephant+Carpaccio+exercise

          For the audition, I paired with the candidate. For steps 4 and 5 (the
          elephant slicing part), I asked questions and wrote down the slices
          while she provided the breakdown. Then for step 6, we alternated
          driving and navigating positions for five iterations, starting with
          her at the keyboard. For my turns at the keyboard, I mimicked whatever
          style and convention she had used. At the end of each iteration, we'd
          demo what we had done and then switch places. We also had two other
          people involved, one as the Product Owner, to whom we presented the
          outcome of each sprint, and one representing the rest of the team, who
          would do things like look up what library calls might do what we
          wanted while we worked on something else. The three of us debriefed on
          the audition afterward.

          The problem was the same one we used at the Elephant Carpaccio session
          at Agile 2010: Calculating shipping costs, given a table of state
          sales tax rates and volume discounts.

          --Paul

          --
          Paul Tevis
          ptevis@...
          http://paultevis.com
        • George Dinwiddie
          Avi, ... We d have three people working with them. One acting the role of Product Owner and the other two as Developers. We d explain how we worked: pairing,
          Message 4 of 17 , Jun 5, 2011
            Avi,

            On 6/3/11 2:09 AM, avi_a@... wrote:
            > Nevertheless I'm interested in how the dynamics should be applied
            > (pairing or teaming, how long, what to expect of the new recruits -
            > they might not all be acquainted with scrum or pairing and we want to
            > be fair setting up realistic expectations on them.)

            We'd have three people working with them. One acting the role of
            Product Owner and the other two as Developers. We'd explain how we
            worked: pairing, TDD. And we'd explain that we didn't expect them to
            know everything the same way we did.

            Then one developer would pair on a story. Then switch and the other
            developer would pair on the story. That way they got two different
            experiences, and everyone got to see both sessions. Since we'd done the
            stories before, we let them do most of the driving, but we'd switch when
            they got stuck or to show what we meant by something we said. It was a
            congenial session, not a roast.

            > Also what kind of feedback should we be gathering (that is - what
            > kind of feedback should our existing team members be supplying about
            > the new recruits) - would you make a formal evaluation form? free
            > retrospect-like feedback? etc

            I don't have the list of questions, handy. But we got together and
            asked ourselves "What would we like to see in a candidate?" There were
            both technical and social aspects.

            - George

            --
            ----------------------------------------------------------------------
            * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
            Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
            Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
            ----------------------------------------------------------------------
          • JackM
            This is a really great idea!
            Message 5 of 17 , Jun 10, 2011
              This is a really great idea!

              --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, avi_a@... wrote:
              >
              > Hi all.
              >
              > We're recruiting new team members,
              > and we were thinking of having the candidates pair with existing team members as part of their evaluation.
              >
              > We've never done this before but I've heard this can be a good idea.
              > Any advice/tips as to how to get this done effectively? (if at all)
              >
              > Thanks in advance,
              > Avi
              >
            • Aeden Jameson
              I ve paired on katas in all the interviews I ve done in the last few years. You really learn a lot about whether people know TDD, refactoring, their tooling,
              Message 6 of 17 , Jun 10, 2011
                I've paired on katas in all the interviews I've done in the last few years. You really learn a lot about whether people know TDD, refactoring, their tooling, how they model, design approach (e.g. bottom-up, top-down, opportunistic).  Some tips, 

                1) Use a kata. I've found other exercises lead to more talking than doing. The good get the first test out quickly.  
                2) I prefer to do ones I'm not that familiar with or haven't done
                3) Have them bring their own laptop. It's a comfortable environment. 
                4) Allow 2-3 hrs

                HTH a bit. 

                Cheers,
                Aeden

                On Jun 10, 2011, at 9:10 AM, "JackM" <jack@...> wrote:

                 

                This is a really great idea!

                --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, avi_a@... wrote:
                >
                > Hi all.
                >
                > We're recruiting new team members,
                > and we were thinking of having the candidates pair with existing team members as part of their evaluation.
                >
                > We've never done this before but I've heard this can be a good idea.
                > Any advice/tips as to how to get this done effectively? (if at all)
                >
                > Thanks in advance,
                > Avi
                >

              • avi_a@mapa.co.il
                Hi and sorry for the late feedback - I ve been away for several days. Thanks all for the replies. George, Paul - special thanks for the detailed pointers, you
                Message 7 of 17 , Jun 12, 2011
                  Hi and sorry for the late feedback - I've been away for several days.

                  Thanks all for the replies.

                  George, Paul - special thanks for the detailed pointers, you gave me some good food for thought on this.

                  The Elephant carpaccio sounds good, although my concerns are on the first part (sounds like it could end up being a lot of discussion before "starting" - doesn't it?)

                  George - Definitely sounds right, we're not looking to roast anybody. As for the evaluation, indeed seems like we'll be making a list of qualities we're looking for (sort of like a team-member backlog :)) and will probably do sort of a retrospective of the session afterwards regarding the desired points.

                  I guess in the end we'll need to get to the bottom line - who does the team want. that might be a good exercise in decision-making and self-organization on it'w own :)

                  Best wishes,
                  - Avi






                  --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "JackM" <jack@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > This is a really great idea!
                  >
                  > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, avi_a@ wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Hi all.
                  > >
                  > > We're recruiting new team members,
                  > > and we were thinking of having the candidates pair with existing team members as part of their evaluation.
                  > >
                  > > We've never done this before but I've heard this can be a good idea.
                  > > Any advice/tips as to how to get this done effectively? (if at all)
                  > >
                  > > Thanks in advance,
                  > > Avi
                  > >
                  >
                • JoseS
                  I have no personal experience but there´s an article in the current issue of Inc magazine about a company that does it, Menlo Innovations. You can find the
                  Message 8 of 17 , Jun 12, 2011
                    I have no personal experience but there´s an article in the current issue of Inc magazine about a company that does it, Menlo Innovations. You can find the article at http://www.inc.com/winning-workplaces/magazine/201106/youll-never-work-alone.html. Working in pairs is part of their culture so that's why the interviewing is conducted that way.

                    Jose

                    --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, avi_a@... wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi and sorry for the late feedback - I've been away for several days.
                    >
                    > Thanks all for the replies.
                    >
                    > George, Paul - special thanks for the detailed pointers, you gave me some good food for thought on this.
                    >
                    > The Elephant carpaccio sounds good, although my concerns are on the first part (sounds like it could end up being a lot of discussion before "starting" - doesn't it?)
                    >
                    > George - Definitely sounds right, we're not looking to roast anybody. As for the evaluation, indeed seems like we'll be making a list of qualities we're looking for (sort of like a team-member backlog :)) and will probably do sort of a retrospective of the session afterwards regarding the desired points.
                    >
                    > I guess in the end we'll need to get to the bottom line - who does the team want. that might be a good exercise in decision-making and self-organization on it'w own :)
                    >
                    > Best wishes,
                    > - Avi
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "JackM" <jack@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > This is a really great idea!
                    > >
                    > > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, avi_a@ wrote:
                    > > >
                    > > > Hi all.
                    > > >
                    > > > We're recruiting new team members,
                    > > > and we were thinking of having the candidates pair with existing team members as part of their evaluation.
                    > > >
                    > > > We've never done this before but I've heard this can be a good idea.
                    > > > Any advice/tips as to how to get this done effectively? (if at all)
                    > > >
                    > > > Thanks in advance,
                    > > > Avi
                    > > >
                    > >
                    >
                  • George Dinwiddie
                    Avi, I hope you ll summarize the experience and share it. ... -- ... * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com Software Development
                    Message 9 of 17 , Jun 12, 2011
                      Avi, I hope you'll summarize the experience and share it.

                      On 6/12/11 4:28 AM, avi_a@... wrote:
                      > Hi and sorry for the late feedback - I've been away for several days.
                      >
                      > Thanks all for the replies.
                      >
                      > George, Paul - special thanks for the detailed pointers, you gave me some good food for thought on this.
                      >
                      > The Elephant carpaccio sounds good, although my concerns are on the first part (sounds like it could end up being a lot of discussion before "starting" - doesn't it?)
                      >
                      > George - Definitely sounds right, we're not looking to roast anybody. As for the evaluation, indeed seems like we'll be making a list of qualities we're looking for (sort of like a team-member backlog :)) and will probably do sort of a retrospective of the session afterwards regarding the desired points.
                      >
                      > I guess in the end we'll need to get to the bottom line - who does the team want. that might be a good exercise in decision-making and self-organization on it'w own :)
                      >
                      > Best wishes,
                      > - Avi

                      --
                      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                      * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                      Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                      Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                    • avi_a@mapa.co.il
                      Gladly!
                      Message 10 of 17 , Jun 13, 2011
                        Gladly!


                        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, George Dinwiddie <lists@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Avi, I hope you'll summarize the experience and share it.
                        >
                        > On 6/12/11 4:28 AM, avi_a@... wrote:
                        > > Hi and sorry for the late feedback - I've been away for several days.
                        > >
                        > > Thanks all for the replies.
                        > >
                        > > George, Paul - special thanks for the detailed pointers, you gave me some good food for thought on this.
                        > >
                        > > The Elephant carpaccio sounds good, although my concerns are on the first part (sounds like it could end up being a lot of discussion before "starting" - doesn't it?)
                        > >
                        > > George - Definitely sounds right, we're not looking to roast anybody. As for the evaluation, indeed seems like we'll be making a list of qualities we're looking for (sort of like a team-member backlog :)) and will probably do sort of a retrospective of the session afterwards regarding the desired points.
                        > >
                        > > I guess in the end we'll need to get to the bottom line - who does the team want. that might be a good exercise in decision-making and self-organization on it'w own :)
                        > >
                        > > Best wishes,
                        > > - Avi
                        >
                        > --
                        > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                        > * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                        > Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                        > Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                        > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                        >
                      • avi_a@mapa.co.il
                        Wow, sounds like a real dream-job.. Like they wrote in the article, I guess this kind of commitment to pairing needs to come from way up. Avi
                        Message 11 of 17 , Jun 13, 2011
                          Wow, sounds like a real dream-job..
                          Like they wrote in the article, I guess this kind of commitment to pairing needs to come from way up.

                          Avi




                          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "JoseS" <JOSE.SOLERA@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > I have no personal experience but there´s an article in the current issue of Inc magazine about a company that does it, Menlo Innovations. You can find the article at http://www.inc.com/winning-workplaces/magazine/201106/youll-never-work-alone.html. Working in pairs is part of their culture so that's why the interviewing is conducted that way.
                          >
                          > Jose
                          >
                          > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, avi_a@ wrote:
                          > >
                          > > Hi and sorry for the late feedback - I've been away for several days.
                          > >
                          > > Thanks all for the replies.
                          > >
                          > > George, Paul - special thanks for the detailed pointers, you gave me some good food for thought on this.
                          > >
                          > > The Elephant carpaccio sounds good, although my concerns are on the first part (sounds like it could end up being a lot of discussion before "starting" - doesn't it?)
                          > >
                          > > George - Definitely sounds right, we're not looking to roast anybody. As for the evaluation, indeed seems like we'll be making a list of qualities we're looking for (sort of like a team-member backlog :)) and will probably do sort of a retrospective of the session afterwards regarding the desired points.
                          > >
                          > > I guess in the end we'll need to get to the bottom line - who does the team want. that might be a good exercise in decision-making and self-organization on it'w own :)
                          > >
                          > > Best wishes,
                          > > - Avi
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > >
                          > > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "JackM" <jack@> wrote:
                          > > >
                          > > > This is a really great idea!
                          > > >
                          > > > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, avi_a@ wrote:
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Hi all.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > We're recruiting new team members,
                          > > > > and we were thinking of having the candidates pair with existing team members as part of their evaluation.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > We've never done this before but I've heard this can be a good idea.
                          > > > > Any advice/tips as to how to get this done effectively? (if at all)
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Thanks in advance,
                          > > > > Avi
                          > > > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          >
                        • Phil Kirkham
                          Menlo also get a mention in a blog from another company that does pairing as part of their interviewing, Atomic Object
                          Message 12 of 17 , Jun 16, 2011
                            Menlo also get a mention in a blog from another company that does pairing as part of their interviewing, Atomic Object

                            http://spin.atomicobject.com/2009/01/28/everything-you-believe-about-interviewing-is-wrong/

                            I recently interviewed there ( as a tester not dev ) and spent the morning working on one of their current projects. Gave me a great insight into what working there would be like and they got to find out how I worked

                            Phil

                            --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "JoseS" <JOSE.SOLERA@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > I have no personal experience but there´s an article in the current issue of Inc magazine about a company that does it, Menlo Innovations. You can find the article at http://www.inc.com/winning-workplaces/magazine/201106/youll-never-work-alone.html. Working in pairs is part of their culture so that's why the interviewing is conducted that way.
                            >
                            > Jose
                            >
                            > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, avi_a@ wrote:
                            > >
                            > > Hi and sorry for the late feedback - I've been away for several days.
                            > >
                            > > Thanks all for the replies.
                            > >
                            > > George, Paul - special thanks for the detailed pointers, you gave me some good food for thought on this.
                            > >
                            > > The Elephant carpaccio sounds good, although my concerns are on the first part (sounds like it could end up being a lot of discussion before "starting" - doesn't it?)
                            > >
                            > > George - Definitely sounds right, we're not looking to roast anybody. As for the evaluation, indeed seems like we'll be making a list of qualities we're looking for (sort of like a team-member backlog :)) and will probably do sort of a retrospective of the session afterwards regarding the desired points.
                            > >
                            > > I guess in the end we'll need to get to the bottom line - who does the team want. that might be a good exercise in decision-making and self-organization on it'w own :)
                            > >
                            > > Best wishes,
                            > > - Avi
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "JackM" <jack@> wrote:
                            > > >
                            > > > This is a really great idea!
                            > > >
                            > > > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, avi_a@ wrote:
                            > > > >
                            > > > > Hi all.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > We're recruiting new team members,
                            > > > > and we were thinking of having the candidates pair with existing team members as part of their evaluation.
                            > > > >
                            > > > > We've never done this before but I've heard this can be a good idea.
                            > > > > Any advice/tips as to how to get this done effectively? (if at all)
                            > > > >
                            > > > > Thanks in advance,
                            > > > > Avi
                            > > > >
                            > > >
                            > >
                            >
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