Thursday, 9 August 2012

A way to encourage pairing

We are a team of software engineers, web developers and devs-in-test, and we have begun to realise that our velocity increases (and so does morale) when the whole team is pulling toward the same goal. This can be a particular challenge, when the goal of a sprint is heavily focused on a single discipline, say, a feature that's primarily work for software engineers, which leaves the web devs looking for other things to concentrate on.

In our quest to become a more cross-functional team, and to eventually get to the point where we are a group of well-rounded generalists who can pick anything from the backlog, we have been trying to think of ways to increase our learning across disciplines.

A good way to achieve this is through pair programming with members of the team that you don't normally pair with, and to encourage this rotation, we had a great idea from Rob Chatley.

The Pair Stairs

Track who has paired with who this sprint

The idea here is that each person ticks the box for the person they last paired with, making sure that they spend some time with everyone in the team at some point during the sprint. It doesn't have to be a whole day, just an hour or two will go a long way towards understanding what that person is up to.

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