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Promiscuous pairing and beginner's mind: embrace inexperience [agile programming]

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1 Author(s)
Belshee, A. ; Silver Platter Software, Pasadena, CA, USA

Many traditional software practices stress the importance of programming in flow. XP directly challenges the assertion that flow is critical and proclaims pair flow. Both flow states are fragile. They are easily disrupted by outside distraction or task rotation. Both take a long time to enter. Furthermore, it takes days for a given pair to be comfortable enough with each other to be able to achieve pair flow at all. My team at silver platter discovered that there is a third option to achieve high-efficiency programming. Our team spent the majority of its time in beginner's mind. Whereas flow depends on stability, beginner's mind depends on instability, yet provides similar efficiency gains to a constant state of flow. This paper discusses one approach to achieve a constant state of beginner's mind. It shows how to use those most-central of agile programming practices - pairing and task allocation - to constantly reinforce this mind state.

Published in:

Agile Conference, 2005. Proceedings

Date of Conference:

24-29 July 2005

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