Collaborative Programming 101: 5 Tips to Get Started
Today collaborative programming and its approaches – mob programming and pair programming – become a staple among many organisations. Writing code is now seen as a creative profession, just like music composing that often has multiple people involved.
As practice shows, many people do better in a collaborative environment where they work together, share ideas, complement and balance each other. Take, for example, mob programming – a software development approach where the whole team works on the same project piece, at the same time, in the same space, and at the same computer. This is similar to pair programming but it requires only two people who sit at the same computer and collaborate on the same code at the same time.
These methods benefit both projects and teams, so there are numerous reasons for adopting collaborative programming, including:
- Producing a more solid and creative code: when you have only one person working on a piece of code, you have a solution that reflects only their specific approach. But the more people you engage, the more creative result you get.
- Sharing knowledge and expertise
- Team building
Collaborative programming: How to get started
It’s important to remember that collaborative programming requires a certain corporate culture to be implemented successfully. Here’s how you can determine whether this approach aligns well with your company and how it can be put into practice.
Tip 1: Analyze your corporate culture
If you have the corporate culture based on the traditional ‘prescriptive’ approach, it might be hard to get the most out of collaborative programming. In fact, those teams who have freedom to be creative (e.g. agile teams) are more likely to succeed because they focus on the goal itself rather than on how they should achieve it.
Tip 2: Build trust
Collaborative programming requires a high level of trust. Make sure team members trust each other enough not to think about who’s going to be praised or blamed for work. They should believe they will either succeed together or fail together. This means they need to care and contribute to each other’s work.
Tip 3: Try a hackathon first
Hackathons are an effective way to understand whether your team can do well with pair or mob programming. They also help identify team members who enjoy this kind of work and who don’t.
Tip 4: Find team members who are excited to try
Simply ask developers what they’re working on their own time. For example, many of them learn new programming languages, and they are most likely to be excited to try collaborative programming and level up their skills.
Tip 5: Start small
Even if you have only a couple of people who are willing to pair program, this is already a great start. The initial stage when they get used to working together might be quite rough, so make sure they are really excited to collaborate and believe they’re doing the right thing.