Thursday, August 4, 2016

You can't convince me with reason!

At Agile2016 in our (me&Llewellyn Falco) session on Strong-Style Pair Programming, we shared a story about inviting trust when pairing. We've been telling a story with our developer-tester collaboration talk too, as it was a very core experience. The understanding of the relevance of what happened has improved since I blogged about it. Actually, it has improved through blogging about it, and making it something to have deep discussions on.

On our 1st Pair Unit Testing session, I was asking a ton of questions. I had this big picture of testing and the application, and I wanted to figure out how whatever we'd be doing would fit into my big picture. We looked at a unit test and were about to do another one, and I insisted on some information I wasn't receiving. I felt frustrated, and was quickly building up to be annoyed. Just when I was annoyed enough to call it a fail to never try something so silly again, Llewellyn said: "Give me seven minutes". As a grand gesture, he took out his phone and set the timer for seven minutes. I looked at this in disbelief. How seven minutes would help here, there has been no added understanding and making the connection in 15 and we were stuck. I remember feeling almost amused when I decided to humor him and give him the seven minutes - it's not like anything is going to happen in seven minutes anyway!

We strong-style paired, and I shut up. He did not explain anything, but told me what to do and what to type. In seven minutes, it started to make sense. When the buzzer went off, we were not done but I turned it on for another seven minutes as I wanted so see us finish it. And we did.

The lesson is, we could have argued for hours. The answers I was looking for were not deliverable with the lack of experience I had at that time, but there was no way I could see that. My investment of time was about to end to the annoyance. Even if I had put in more time in the discussion, the likely result would have just been that I felt he wasted more of my time. Doing things and making actual progress builds the trust. With the experience under my belt, we were able to reflect on the experience and connect things back to things that made sense to me. I was able to do that by myself, but there were more connections to be made through retrospecting together.

Things like this happen to me all the time. You just can't convince me with reason. It would appear that reasoning is overrated for other people too.

Reason works when you have experience to fuel it. Before that, we easily operate with fears.

Little tricks like Llewellyn's 7 minutes of trust can help. I find that working with this is a question of self-improvement. How could I try things more before I make up my mind about them? Go into the experiment mindset, and experience things. Things people suggest we'd do make sense to someone, and your own experience might be just what you need to see how it makes sense to you. 

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