Remote Cross Pollination via Pair Work
Unlock the power of collective wisdom with pair work, a technique inspired by software development, adapted to optimize team performance in remote work settings
As an engineer turned entrepreneur, one of my greatest privileges has been the ability to infuse time-tested engineering principles into new contexts such as Operations and Marketing.
Today, I want to delve into one of these impactful cross-pollinations - the concept of pair work.
Derived from the practice of pair programming, pair work is a tool I've introduced across all departments at Voxloud. Its objective? To mitigate the downsides of remote work, like minimal interaction among teammates, and to accelerate our operational efficiency.
Pair programming is a practice where two developers work together at one workstation. One, termed “the driver”, writes code, while the other, termed “the observer” or “the navigator”, reviews each line of code as it is written.
The two programmers switch roles frequently.
It's a practice celebrated for increasing code quality, boosting problem-solving capability, and fostering knowledge sharing.
Inspired by this practice, I have identified three types of pair work, each having unique scopes and rules of engagement:
This type of pairing aims to provide training and unblock challenges that the junior member might face. For instance, in our Support team, a senior member could guide a junior in handling a complex customer query, transferring knowledge and skills.
Here, the goal is to speed up learning through doing and enhance team relationships. Let's take our Sales team as an example. Two junior salespersons can collaborate on a sales pitch, offering feedback to each other and learning faster in the process.
This pair work aims to handle complex analyses, create roadmaps, and share team management knowledge. In our Administration department, two senior members could collaborate to streamline our finance processes, ensuring that their collective wisdom is applied for maximum effectiveness.
Please do not overdo it.
The concept of pair work has proven to be a powerful tool for improving efficiency and strengthening the bond among our team members. However, it's essential to maintain balance and ensure that this mechanism is not overused.
If this becomes the standard mode of operation, the perceived value of pair work might decline, and the development of individual autonomy could be hampered.
Embrace pair work as a robust framework for growth, but remember - it's one of the many tools in your arsenal, not the only one. Balance is vital to leveraging its true potential in a remote work setup.
That's all for this Saturday.
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