I just finished my first #pairwithme session with @hinbody. It was my first remote session to use TMUX+VIM instead of ScreenHero – I have to say, it was quite easy to use and given the fact that it’s free, fast, and cross-platform, I’ll be using it with any vim users I pair with who are willing. I’d love to get CoVim working since it allows you to use your own vim setup. I drool a little bit at all that. But I digress.
Harley and I got going by deciding to work a bit on our TDD. Harley was interested in improving his understanding of Ruby and how to test better. I’m not the best tester in the world, but pairing is definitely making me better. We went through the Tic Tac Toe exercise I’ve mentioned here before. This time you could see my prior implementations having an influence, but it still went ways I hadn’t seen it go before. I’m convinced that just doing an exercise over and over would give you different results each time, but the pairing aspect of it gives me both drive to complete it and another perspective to consider things I’ve not considered before.
We got fairly far on the exercise–probably the most forward motion I’d seen in the 2 or 3 pair sessions I’d done using it. I was pleased with the results and I’m glad to see the good parts of the implementation solidifying and still see myself being open to other design ideas from people I’m working with.
My biggest takeaway from the session was something Harley said after all was said and done. He said his biggest problem was that he lacked confidence and so he hesitated when answering questions. I think this is the most significant kind of thing we can learn when pairing: how to encourage people who are earlier in timeline than you, and how to be open and unafraid to make mistakes in front of people who are further along as well. Developers are a smart lot, so I think there is often a tendency toward arrogance as a default, but it’s been my experience that most developers know what it’s like to be made fun of. Some respond with humility and patience with others and some respond by trying to put others down to “get back” at those that made fun of them. All I can say is that I’d encourage humility and patience since it will help you in every area of life, including pairing.
On to the next pairing session…