Pair Programming is a established practice in part of the software development world. In a culture of lone-rangers, the idea of two people working productively together to get *one* thing done still meets resistance.
The tale is about me trying to peer with my Boss to work on a network routing problem.
At all times in the process I was aware of the chasm in authority, technical savvy, and comfort with the intimacy that kept us from pairing efectively. To bridge that gap I tried with the Humble Inquiry tips from Ed Schein’s Presencing Global Classroom second session.
We circled around the problem, a lecture on the current system state, we both writing some docs, …, and then, after a silence, we casually began to work on the real domain ….
Two practices became fundamental to introduce pairing. First Humble Inquiry, switching roles and questioning level appropriately. Second, Silence; I view my Inquiries as leading to the generative Silence that allowed for a new problem definition to emerge.
In the end my boss acknowledged the focus and insight provided by pairing; the routing problem was solved shorlty afterwards with the new things we learned. The remarks about him being a lone cowboy SysAdmin, still present.