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Continually experimenting with new ideas and techniques — Reconstructing, Developing, Modernising.

Neat Pairing Technique

Last week I was introduced to a simple and effective way to help maintain the driver/navigator roles while pairing at a computer with two mice, keyboards, and screens. This seems to be a popular set-up in companies, though the “traditional” pairing uses a single screen, keyboard, and mouse for a pair.

One of the things that can happen when the navigator gets enthusiastic with two keyboards is that the navigator takes control of the session “impulsively” to make a quick change or to position the cursor. Often this leads to the navigator taking over the driving role.

My preference is to use something like the Pomodoro Technique to structure the time, and have roles switched between sessions. From my experience the period where a driver accepts significant input from the navigator and the driver keeps driving is a time when the driver has a great opportunity to learn and maintain control over the pace; I find I usually learn better when doing than watching. The Pomodoro time-boxes the amount of time a driver can “struggle” and the inter-pomodoro gaps allow for reflection.

The simple technique is for the navigator to flip their keyboard so that the key caps are underneath, put it close to their display, and then put their mouse out of reach. That removes the ability to quickly dive in and “help” drive.

Over the next few weeks I’ll try this some more and see if it keeps on helping, even when I switch partners and have to encourage them to do it too.

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