Pairing: Improving Team Together
One of the biggest change going from individual contributor to a manager is that my result is the team’s result.
One approach I take on improving the team’s result is to pair with each team member an hour a week.
Knowledge transfer is most effective when there’s a shared experience. If I want to teach team members how to solve problems better, the best way is to: solve problems together.
Every week, I schedule one hour with each team member dedicated to pairing. To work on a problem together so we can actually think through solutions.
I share how I would approach the problem (which is not guaranteed to work depending on the problem). I listen to the team member’s appraoch, add my suggestions (if any), and try it out to see what happens.
As much as I want to say pairing is a one way session, it is not. I am learning just as much as I am teaching, even as a manager of the team.
I wish I knew it all. Maybe I do if we scope the problem on the code I wrote. ☺️
Outside the Things are constantly changing as well.
Pull in Resources
Sometimes, when we need another team member to discuss a problem because of (gasp) dependencies, we would pull them in. Other times, if there’s a better resource on a topic, get help as well.
I schedule this time with each team member so I dedicate time to them. As their result is my result, the returns are there.
Also, I schedule our time together early in the week. If I can solve a problem the team member has early in the week, they can spend the rest of the week finishing it.
Pairing for an hour a week with each team members helps improve my result by improving their result. I share how I would approach a current problem they have. I also learn from seeing the current landscape they are working in and how they would approach the problem.
For me, this time is so important that I schedule it in my calendar so we don’t miss it.