Promiscuous Pairing - More the merrier !!!

schedule Mar 28th 03:00 PM - 03:45 PM place Esquire Hall

Being Agile developer, have tried & tested various flavors of pair programming over the years while working in highly motivated self-managed team. Some experiments worked while some worked better :)

This talk is about sharing the personal experience of practicing promiscuous pairing which allowed the team to be always in the beginner's mind state and being able to push the boundaries consistently.

This experience sharing talk is based on our successful adoption of the promiscuous pairing technique based on very famous research paper by Arlo Belshee "Promiscuous Pairing and Beginner’s Mind: Embrace Inexperience".

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

  • My quick introduction (1 min)
  • What is Promiscuous Pairing and how to leverage beginner's mind? (7 mins)
  • Why we decided to adopt it? (5 mins)
  • What all we experimented and what worked for us? (12 mins)
    • Check-in duration
    • Pair rotation frequency
    • Pair role swap period
    • Task splitting
    • Task management
  • Challenges we faced and how we overcome those? (10 mins)
  • What we achieved with it? (5 mins)
  • Q/A (5 mins)

Learning Outcome

  • Understanding Promiscuous Pairing and its benefits
  • Leveraging Beginner’s Mind state while pairing
  • Successful adoption journey and how it worked effectively in a self-managed team
  • Adoption challenges and experimentation techniques

Target Audience

Agile Developers, Scrum Masters

schedule Submitted 2 years ago

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comment Comment on this Proposal
  • Tathagat Varma
    By Tathagat Varma  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Ankur - this being an experience report, it would be great to see data points that help you validate or substantiate your hypotheses around promiscuous pairing.

    -TV

    • Ankur Sambhar
      By Ankur Sambhar  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi TV,

      Thank you for reviewing the proposal and sharing your inputs.

      The data points are covered while discussing about the various experiments that we have undergone while adopting the promiscuous pairing i.e. pair switching period, role swap duration, who should be picking up the task first, how frequently to check-in the code to have true continuous integration in place, task splitting, etc. It also highlights the science behind coming up with all the magic numbers that finally worked for us. As part of the talk I'll be sharing the details about all these experiments.

      I agree it's not mentioned in the above summary but it's been covered in the deck. I'll update the proposal to reflect these details as well.

      Also, while adopting this technique, we have kept the premises of the experiment same as that of Arlo in his original research paper and tried to use our own Agile learning to reach to the magic numbers.

      Please do let me know if I can help you with any further details.

      Regards

      Ankur  

      • Tathagat Varma
        By Tathagat Varma  ~  2 years ago
        reply Reply

        Actually I am more interested in what you achieved rathar than what you did. So, any metrics that help understand what was the impact of what you did will be a great learning.

        -TV

        • Ankur Sambhar
          By Ankur Sambhar  ~  2 years ago
          reply Reply

          Hi TV,

          Promiscuous pairing adoption benefited the team in many ways and infused a new life in the team; I will be covering the same in detail during the talk with the appropriate metrics. Few of benefits are -

          - Better quality deliverable (reduction in #defects)
          - Drastic reduction in new-hire ramp-up time (it takes just one sprint now)
          - Consistent story churing sprint after sprint
          - Better design of deliverables (as many alternative designs gets evaluated)
          - Boosted morale of each indiviual (drop in absenteism and WFH)
          - Reduction in story spillovers
          - Team maturity to be technology agnostic
          - Uniform knowledge spread across the team
          - Improved skill set of team members
          - ...

          Hope this helps.

          Thanks
          Ankur

  • Naresh Jain
    By Naresh Jain  ~  2 years ago
    reply Reply

    Ankur, your talk got good feedback at the Agile Pune 2014 Conference. Instead of repeating the same thing, would you consider converting this into a 45 mins case study and go more into details? Also as TV pointed out, please share some data to back the hypothesis. Thanks.

    • Ankur Sambhar
      By Ankur Sambhar  ~  2 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Naresh,

      Thanks for sharing the Agile Pune feedback.

      I agree to your suggestion that repeating the same talk will neither be fun for audience nor for me :)

      Also I am updating the deck to add much more details about the experiments and the logic behind each number that worked for us i.e. why code check-ins every 12 mins, why 60 mins between pair switch, etc.

      I will be updating the proposal and the deck accordingly.

      Thanks
      Ankur


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