- Posted by dan on September 12, 2011
I've talked before about how we use pair programming at work. One of the issues we encountered in my previous post on pair programming was pair rotation.
For some reason we naturally, tend to sit in the same pairs story after story. The problem arises when one member of a pair suddenly falls ill, or worse both fall ill. We obviously want to be able to still progress the story, so regular pair rotation seems like a good idea.
Improving pair rotation seemed to be a struggle for us. It seemed to be a regular item to improve in our retrospectives. Eventually we stole the idea of pair stairs from another team (Thanks Enzo). We've not been doing it long, but so far so good, I'd encourage you to try it out if you face a similar situation.
Here's a video that talks about pair rotation
- Posted by dan on June 6, 2011
Recently my friend Andrew's re-joined the company and joinied my team at work. It's always interesting when new people joing the team, invariably they bring new ideas and techniques with them. One technique that I associate with him, and that's quickly caught on within the team is to set a 20 minute timer, and then swap control whilst pairing on a task.
It seems to work eerily well. To the point that I've even been doing it at home over the last few days, on my little hobby projects (including this very blog post). What makes it altogether even stranger is that Scott Hanselman has just posted a podcast relating to personal systems of organisation, in which he described this very technique as the Pomodoro Technique. Not only that but he mentioned several other techniques to improve one's organisation. Including David Allen's Getting things done technique.
All I can say is that I'm finding the 20 minute timer, quite good at helping me focus. With the benefit of it becoming almost rhymthical in pairing including a break after 40 minutes of coding or 1 pair rotation. It's a good pacemaker. I think the Pomodoro technique can involve more than a simple timer but for now I'm happy with that.