Adventures in Promiscuous Pairing: Seeking Beginner’s Mind

Agile development practices have become increasingly popular and widely adopted in recent years. This can be seen through the growing number of books being released annually and the significant increase in attendance at Agile conferences.

As more organizations begin to embrace Agile, there is a growing curiosity and experimentation with various techniques and approaches to problems. My team was no exception - we were constantly trying out new methods to improve our projects. Some proved to be successful, while others did not.

One notable experiment my team undertook was the implementation of Agile 2005 XR’s ‘Promiscuous Pairing and Beginner’s Mind’ by Arlo Belshee. This paper discusses the adoption and experimentation on a team lead by Arlo Belshee.

In 2005 and 2006, my team experimented with the concepts in Promiscuous Pairing and Beginner’s Mind and created the XP Adventures in Promiscuous Pairing.

Each paper It highlights the success and unexpected problems that we encountered while trying to implement the practices outlined in the paper, specifically around pair churn & team owned tasks, seeking Beginner’s Mind and utilizing the least qualified person to do tasks. It also validates the unanticipated side effect Belshee identifies in his paper, introducing new team members and getting them up to speed.

If you are on a Scrum or Agile team, and do software development, I highly suggest you read both papers as they will really help your team achieve excellence.

Adventures in Promiscuous Pairing - Agile 2006
Promiscuous Pairing and Beginner’s Mind - Agile 2005

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