I’ve been a developer at Menlo for nine years and am now a member of the team who is relied on for many things including programming, and process knowledge, mentoring abilities, and leadership skills. Menlo has taught me to be confident and has made being relied on no longer a scary thing. I no longer worry about how to start solving a problem. But it wasn’t always like that.
In the beginning, pairing was my safety net. In the pair, I was always the inexperienced one. I relied on my pair partner for answers and ideas. I was a sponge. I learned as much as I could, but still felt like I was never going to be on equal ground with my peers. I wanted to have answers and ideas too. I wanted to feel like I was equally contributing to the solutions and not just along for the ride.
That day finally came, when I was paired with the new person. Suddenly, I was supposed to be her safety net so she could be a learning sponge. Still scared, I shocked myself with an idea to solve our problem. I picked up a marker and started to draw. I explained the idea and made sure I was making sense by asking her questions. We returned to our computer and coded our solution and it worked! What a great feeling.
Something changed that day; my confidence grew. I knew I wasn’t lost any more, I was no longer inexperienced.
I was sure I had conquered my lack of confidence when the new person learned something from me. Weeks later we were paired again and discovered the same solution we had last time would work to solve a new problem. This time that new person explained the solution to me. She could even draw the picture and get others to understand. Success! I learned something, I taught it to someone else and she taught it to another person. This is the power of pairing.