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To pair or Not to pair

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Most Agile teams learn the ceremonies and other Agile jargons sooner than we could imagine.They add few meetings to their project execution and talk in a fancy language that would make us believe in Agile utopia. Everything seems fine and happy, until one day their happy bubble bursts and they realize that they are just 'doing' Agile and not 'being' Agile. One primary culprit here is that the teams often neglect their core technical practices and don't challenge their status quo. Which means they don't change anything about the way they design, code or test but just modify their management processes and await a miracle. There are three primary reason why we observe this Agile smell in most teams. It is believed that there are no immediate results in modifying these practices, its is hard to change the existing practice because of umpteen man-made reasons and finally no one knows where to begin their journey.

Here in this talk I would like to address the third challenge and explain how a (non-technical) coach could pair with the team members on their day-to-day activities and help them initiate this journey. The focus of this presentation is on the do's and don'ts while pairing with the team members. It will also explain the benefits of this exercise.

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To pair or Not to pair

  1. 1. To Pair or Not To Pair Journey Tips for a non-technical Agile Coach
  2. 2. Challenges faced by Non-Technical Coach • Commendable Agile Fluency is not achieved through management practices alone • Technical Practices are important but ‘DIFFICULT’ to implement • Budget constraints limits the options from external sources • Engineers are mostly personal about THEIR practices- which means change is painful! ! !
  3. 3. Where do we start? ! ! ! Non-Homogenous Pairing
  4. 4. Right Approach to Pairing • Make a Contract (Admin, Professional & Psychological) • Be a ‘Navigator’ - Observe, Make Notes, ASK! • Focus on the Big-Picture (Lean, XP, SystemsThinking) • Be confident but not over-confident/cocky! • Be inclusive, sensitive and non-scary ! !
  5. 5. Every Person is different. Choose the right strategy! ‘Be the RIGHT Wine for Your Cheese’
  6. 6. Be Promiscuous, Pair with All Stakeholders (Developers, Testers, Architects, Technical Writers, Managers) You never know where you will find the next problem, be open for it!
  7. 7. Tangibles • Removes inhibition about Pairing & Pair Programming • Sets the stage for other practices - Success Breeds Success • Helps the coach visualise the Value Stream • Helps the coach understand individual problems • Creates positive synergy • Helps the coach see through REAL problems ! !
  8. 8. Tools • Transactional Analysis- Contracts • Group Discussions • Value Stream Maps • Two Chair Technique (NLP) ! !
  9. 9. THANKS ! ! ! PS:Wine doesn’t Judge me, neither should you! PPS: I don’t endorse drinking

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