If I’ve heard it once at a retrospective, I’ve heard it a hundred times: We’re not switching pairs enough.
Though not pair switching (or even pairing, period) often has more underlying root causes, one way to encourage a team who simply has some discipline problems and to get a sense of how much team members are pairing and switching is to use a big, visible pairing chart.
A few teams at Asynchrony have used pairing charts as a mechanism to help us pair and change pairs frequently so that we gain the benefits of sharing knowledge, widening our understanding of the code, reinforcing good programming habits, increasing our truck number, etc. Here’s an example of something I call the “pairamid” (pun intended), though its concept is not exactly original:
In this particular pairing chart, we put a tally for each pairing session, color-coded by day of the week. It serves as a gentle reminder in our war room that we shouldn’t let one of the squares have too many more tallies than any other square, and that person x should try pairing with person y.