Thursday, August 15, 2013

I can go on holiday whenever I like: how pairing with regular swaps make my life easier

I'm extremely keen and enthusiastic. When I'm working, if there is someone who knows more about something than I do then I am compelled to study/play with it until I am up to speed. If there is an area of a system I don't understand I'll study it over lunch - I just like knowing things!

The problem with people who have this characteristic is that they tend to become "the expert" or at least the go-to person for different things and this can cause some problems (or at least I see them as problems):

  • these people get distracted a lot with other people them asking them questions
  • they become a bottleneck because their input is needed to make decisions
  • they eventually become "architects" or "tech leads" and don't get to develop any more - this makes them sad :(
In my current project we are fairly strict about pair swapping: every day after our standup we swap people around. One person always stays on a feature so there is continuity and so everyone typically spends two days on a particular task. It's enough time to get stuck in but not bogged down.

After doing this for a few months I've noticed the following:

  1. We have no code ownership at all, if a single pair stays on a feature or one person is always part of the pair that works in a particular area this tends still to happen. Not so for us and I think that is fantastic
  2. Due to number one, we refactor and delete code without anyone getting offended
  3. People don't get disheartened with boring tasks or features as their time working on them is reasonably short
  4. You constantly get fresh views on how we are doing things. Even if you've been on the feature before having four days off means that you still generally have fresh ideas
  5. We have no fake dependencies between features - if there are free developers then the highest priority item will be worked on. No waiting for someone to finish a different feature. 
After a while I noticed that we would not swap if something was "nearly done". Why? I guess we thought it would be disruptive and the task would take longer. I began not to like this. I brought it up in a retro and we went back to strict swapping. Now I know what you are thinking - processes shouldn't be rigid, relax man!

However...

When a software engineer says something is nearly done alarm bells should go off! A lot of the time it can still take hours or days so a swap is still a good idea. Or let's give software developers some credit - let's say the feature is actually nearly done. I think that is the perfect time to get fresh eyes on the code. Make sure the entire team is happy with how it's been implemented before we call it done! A new set of eyes may see some new edge cases etc too.

So what am I saying? Daily pair swaps means I'm confident the entire team knows our code base and feature set and can answer questions on both - no more "I don't know - let's check with Ted when he gets back from holiday". This means I can go on holiday whenever I like, and I like holidays so this is great! 

8 comments:

Hanna Bell said...

Hey there, I need an Statistics Homework Help expert to help me understand the topic of piecewise regression. In our lectures, the concept seemed very hard, and I could not understand it completely. I need someone who can explain to me in a simpler way that I can understand the topic. he/she should explain to me which is the best model, the best data before the model and how to fit the model using SPSS. If you can deliver quality work then you would be my official Statistics Assignment Help partner.

Hanna Bell said...

I don’t have time to look for another expert and therefore I am going to hire you with the hope that I will get qualityeconomics assignment help. .Being aneconomics homework help professor I expect that your solutions are first class. All I want to tell you is that if the solutions are not up to the mark I am going to cancel the project.

Hanna Bell said...

That is a huge number of students. Are they from the same country or different countries? I also want your math assignment help. I want to perform in my assignments and since this is what you have been doing for years, I believe you are the right person for me. Let me know how much you charge for your math homework help services.

Hanna Bell said...

Hello. Please check the task I have just sent and reply as soon as possible. I want an adjustment assignment done within a period of one week. I have worked with an Accounting Homework Help tutor from your team and therefore I know it’s possible to complete it within that period. Let me know the cost so that I can settle it now as your Accounting Assignment Help experts work on it.

Sarah Wilson said...

Just what I was looking for. I am struggling with my accounting assignment. I want an Accounting Assignment Help tutor to offer me two services. One is to complete my accounting assignments and the other is to provide me with online classes. I believe you are experienced enough to offer both Accounting Homework Help and online classes. I know you charge assignments based on the bulk. Tell me how much you charge for the online classes per hour.

Sarah Wilson said...

As much as there are discouragements, it is true that mathematics is hard. Like in my case, I was never discouraged by anyone about math but I still find it very hard and that is why I am requesting your Math assignment help. I am tired of struggling with mathematics and spending sleepless nights trying to solve sums that I still don’t get right. Having gone through your Math homework help, I am sure that I will get the right help through you. Please tell me what I need to be able to hire you.

Sarah Wilson said...

I have submitted my assignment to your website without any challenges. The economics assignmenthelp expert handling my assignment has already contacted me and I am certain that my work is underway. I am just hoping that I will get quality economics homework help. I have a lot of hopes in you and I am just hoping that you will not disappoint me.

Sarah Wilson said...

How much do you charge for a Statistics Assignment Help task? Take, for my case, where I need you to provide me with the Statistics Homework Help on plotting a scatter plot with a regression line? How much should that cost? Do you charge on the basis of the workload or have a constant payment?