Agile is openness and collaboration, it takes courage and vulnerability and that scares people and we should be mindful of that. My post “The Shame of Pair Programming” is attracting a lot more attention than I’m used to. The comments range from “I feel that too” to comments that I could summarize as, “we just want to code” and I worry about what happens when an organization pushes Agile onto a team. I guess it fails or they leave. Where do they go? How much do they suffer? What are the effects of that?
There is a ray of hope in a comment from James Scrimshire, he sees newer developers happier to pair. Perhaps the new generation, the GitHub generation as I’ve heard it called, will just see collaboration as part of software development and won’t feel this fear.
Today I coded alone, it was fun because the work was simple. If it had been complex, I might have been fretting, frustrated, fearful, lost or despondent. I need support when I struggle. I often need someone to remind me to do the right (not the easy) thing. A pair helps me find the courage to try something new and leave my comfort zone, and I when I go too deep, I need a friend to point out when to turn back. In our macho, male dominated culture that makes me feel weak. Perhaps in the future that culture will change and we’ll recognize the strength needed to ask for help. I see how much more effective we become when we do; less days spent digging rabbit holes when we could be building paths.