Basavaraj Haveri - Pair programming - a great way to collaborate

What is the background situation/context for your probe?

Most of the work we were doing in the last couple of increments required us to re-skill. From working on legacy apps, we needed to develop proficiency in new scripting languages and tools (workflows, reports, rule engines and so on).


What is (or has been) your hypothesis?

To ensure we learnt these new tools efficiently - and build reliable solutions, collaboration was not an option - it was a compulsion. The question we were trying to answer was - 'How can we change the way we work  - such that collaboration is not an option - but is rather a way of working?'

Sure, we've always collaborated as a team - we've swarmed on stories, we've collaborated when we encounter problems, but if we are to learn new skills efficiently we needed to collaborate upfront, rather than collaborate as an afterthought.

What is the experiment you would like to run (or you have run) and how can this experiment validate or invalidate your hypothesis?

The answer to this, in our view was Pair Programming. To be sure we were heading in the right direction we consulted with chapter lead, squad lead, agile coaches before taking the plunge.

We chose a sprint to try this out, and during sprint planning we floated this idea and went through a short video on pair programming 101, thereafter we agreed to work this way for a few sprints. Team members chose their pairs -  generally people who get along with each other tend to pair-up.

Some other desirable side-effects of pair programming we observed during our experiment:

  • Fewer discrepancies of skills across team.
  • Fosters a greater sense of team camaraderie.
  • Better quality, more reliable outcomes, lesser re-work, just-in-time code review.
  • Better throughput - as team works sequentially on stories vs concurrently.

Some considerations while deciding on pairing:

  • Deciding on pairs is tricky. Needs a great deal of trust with the pair.
  • Since we are learners we were novice - novice pairing, however with a new hire, we may experiment with novice - expert pairs.
  • It is believed this doubles cost, however we disagree!
  • Requires a high level of team maturity. It’s a challenge pairing when one is working from home!



Is there a specific skill/technique you would like to learn/explore at this coach camp?

What's next? As we evolve in our journey as a squad, we plan to continue with this experiment and maybe it just becomes the way we work.

Call for Papers CLOSED
Ended on Jan 25 '20 05:29 AM IST

Interested in attending the Agile Coach Camp on Oct 11th in Bengaluru? Read on...

It's been 12 Years and almost 110 viral Agile Coach Camps since our very first coach camp experiment. This year, Coach Camp co-creator Naresh Jain along with Jutta Eckstein and John Buck will lead participants in this Coach Camp in Bangalore, organized as part of the Agile India 2020 Conference.

Coach Camp Theme

As a coach, you're often the one who needs to drive and sustain change. Yet, how do you do this? What has helped and hindered you doing so and how can you best pass your experience on to other coaches or how can you best learn from other coaches?

This is the theme for this year's coach camp. To tackle this challenge, we invite you to try something new:

  • Currently, we face the following situation: Constantly driving change is getting more and more important for companies to survive in this VUCA world. At the same time, it is (or should be) the core skill of every coach – no matter if you coach individuals, teams, or organisations. However, sometimes it seems every coach has to come up with her own experience on how to drive change successfully.
  • Our hypothesis is that for driving change, every coach uses so-called probes, that are defined by small, safe-to-fail experiments based on hypotheses derived from reflection on the current situation as well as on theory. So, probing allows discovering (based on the hypothesis) what's working and what is not through one or several experiments. This allows to make sense of both the current situation but even more important of the situation we are aiming for. And if we create a knowledge base of our collective wisdom on probes we used (or intend to use) we can learn from each other.
  • Therefore, as an experiment we want to invite this year's coach camp participants to jointly discover, share, create, improve, and finally publish probes that help(ed) driving and sustaining change. As in a typical coach camp, we will use the Open Space format to explore different topics for driving change and we invite you to use probes to focus the discussions on these different topics. We anticipate as a result that the discovered and created probes will provide a foundation for such a knowledge base.

Registering for the Coach Camp

The coach camp is free of charge (financially) yet, for registration we ask you for the following:

  • Please click on the Add Paper button and submit your position paper. In your position paper, you will be asked to share an idea for a probe, consisting of a background situation (context), a hypothesis, and an experiment. This can be a probe you've implemented before, one you've discovered/heard of others implementing it, or you intend to implement. The probe should focus on the coach camp's theme: Driving Change.
  • The discussed probes provide a basis for a free and publicly accessible knowledge base.

Final Note

Please note, we want to invite you to use probes for the discussion and recording of the Open Space sessions. This is by no means an enforcement. We are well aware that there might be situations where probes are not the right means for discussing or/and recording a particular topic - and that is of course fine. After all, using probes for this coach camp is a probe in itself (and we are open to possibly invalidate our hypothesis.)