One of our company vidio.com engineering culture revolves around extreme programming. On the previous read post pandemic communication, we talked about 3 ways to collaborate. In this story, i would like to share several tips to keep a fast and efficient communications with Async Pairing. but again, it is more faster to just pairing.
When to use Async pair?
- network issues (developing country)
- technical difficulties
- external factors (environment, etc)
Teams are separated into 2-person groups. each person is committed and responsible for their pair communication (pull requests, discussions, etc) to prevent knowledge silo and bystander effect as well as faster feedback loop.
Pair don’t need to share the same workstation (live share) or establish verbal communication. common cases of async pairing:
- same live share, same backlog, chat only
- same backlog, breakdown work (divide and conquer)
- different backlog, same documentation/epic/initiative
- different backlog entirely
A good communication needs commitment from both parties. Each person needs to proactively communicate or set a specific schedule for communication such as sync up, knowledge sharing, pull request, brainstorming, etc. Most of the time we want to stay in the zone uninterrupted. we can reduce the notifications and focus on the more important messages (psst it’s your pair).
PS: you still need to acknowledge mentions and be aware of other information in your channel but at a lower priority (depends).
#3 Time Management
Each pull request and discussions are usually posted on slack channel. Sometimes it may take an amount of time to wait from each feedback loop. Image below shows how much time was wasted for each queue time for feedback. so, it is better for us to cut the time wasted just by pairing because it eliminates the necessity of pull requests.
Time management is also crucial, there are times where you just want to focus and free from any notifications. you can assign specific time on when to interact or focus on your work.
There are tons of toolings that can give your team and life easier. collaborative tools, video conference, and etc. Pick the most suitable for your team and invest on it. it’ll be worth your time and help to create a better workflow. most popular tools such as:
- messaging: slack, email
- video chat: google meet, zoom, slack
- code: vim+tmux, vscode+liveshare
- others: figma, miro, google docs, etc
a good communication is a clear communication. tips on clear communication:
- be specific: mention the person, define scope and goals of the discussion
- be proactive: set timebox, act fast
- be clear: ask the right question, provide supporting information
it took time to get used in remote situations and it’s okay that things may run slower than in WFO situation. it requires support and understanding from both individuals and teams in order to establish an efficient and effective working culture.