Closet Coder

I work in my closet. I code. Yep.

Pairing Post Mortem - the Mistake

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"How'd I do? I passed! But I failed! Yeah!"
"Well, then I'm happy and sad for you."

Last night I made a mistake. In an effort to continue pairing with people I really enjoyed pairing with, I scheduled 2 pairing sessions for the same evening. I left 30 minutes between them, I prepared as I should… but I was stressed and it made both sessions worse.

I struggled with our first session because I was focusing on getting things done rather than teaching and learning. This made me a pairing hog and I feel bad for it. My pair even said “I feel like you’re doing everything and I’m not helping.” I tried to assuage his concerns by saying “the discussion beforehand was a big part of pairing…” –which it was. But it doesn’t excuse my taking control. We could have easily gone back and forth and still finished the feature.

In my second session, I paired with someone that had low bandwidth, which made it difficult to understand his audio. We used ScreenHero as well, which ate up more bandwidth. We easily spent 30 minutes of our hour session just getting set up. By that point, I felt spent and I was frustrated with the audio problems. This made me less excited about a pairing I was looking forward to and put a bit of a damper on the rest of our time. I feel certain that it would not have been a problem if I was not already a bit drained.

So, lesson learned: There is more than just the time blocked off on your calendar that goes into a pairing session. You need decompression time for you, for the benefit of the people you’re pairing with, and for your family and friends. I’ll be making sure not to schedule multiple pairs close together going forward.