Ambient Pair Programming

The idea is to get into a channel, share your intentions for the work session, and get to it. The feeling of immediate accountability is usually enough motivation to get going.

You can share your screens for occasional comments, or switch on the camera for a more social & real time feel. Or just silently sit in a room with mic & camera off, and chatting at a regular cadence.

When is this useful

  • When you and 1 or 2 teammates are feeling low on energy, or struggling to concentrate
  • Evan & I did this multiple times on Friday afternoons. We both needed to work, but it was just difficult to focus alone. Every single one of these sessions ended with both of us saying “we should do this more often”
  • When handing over work, you and the person you’re handing over to can work in the same room for a few days, to quickly get those early questions resolved
  • Sometimes you just want to be around company. It’s easy to feel isolated as a remote worker, and this is an easy way to foster well-being in a team

Framing the idea of ambient pair programming was influenced by non-software related sources. I enjoy parallel play with my friends & siblings, and body doubling takes the pain out of some errands & chores for me 😂