Week Five Cultural Blog Post.
March 8, 2015
Pairing and Feedback.
Today I will be talking about something that was absolutely foreign to me before I joined DBC.
I have always been a loner when it came to work. It might not have been on purpose but that is the way it has been for as long as I can recall. When I read in the Phase 0 manual about mandatory pairing I was worried that it would be stilted for me and unproductive. The first few pairing sessions seemed to support my hypothesis as they were not hard but I did not feel like I was gaining much from them. However when I started pairing on actual coding challenges the time flew by and by the end of the session I was very proud of my work. Initializing a pairing session is still hard for me but once I get into the meat of the issue it becomes us vs. the code.
In DBC pairing does not come alone. After every session you have to leave feedback for your partner. Reading some of the feedback I received in the beginning was hard. I knew I had to improve but it is easier to blame others but my own shortcomings. Determined to do something about it I started off every video call with a disclaimer: “I have been informed that sometimes I can get ahead of myself and speak too quickly possibly overriding your ideas. If you feel that I am doing that please point it out to me and help me I am trying to change”. Ever since then my feedback has improved and I have and overwhelming majority of positive feedback.
Writing feedback on the other hand is another animal entirely. It is hard to point out something that is bothering you about your pair particularly when the session has gone swimmingly otherwise. What I learned is that the session in general has to be framed was it good, great or just mediocre? Once the outline has been written it is easier to write feedback that confirms to the three rules. A.S.K (Actionable, Specific, and Kind)
In conclusion DBC’s system has helped me immensely, notwithstanding the fact that it was extremely hard for me in the beginning to give and receive feedback the correct way. Once I had gotten over the hump I actively look to see what feedback I have been given and how I can improve based off of it.