Purr Programming

Thoughts on interspecies pair programming

The Interspecies Daily Standup

One practice that many development groups use is the daily standup.  The idea behind a standup is the following.

  • We stand up to keep the meeting short
  • It is a touchpoint to keep the team on the same page
  • It is supposed to be 15 minutes or less


One recommended pattern is to go around to each team member and ask…

  • What did you do yesterday
  • What are you planning on doing today
  • Do you have any roadblocks etc..


Unfortunately this format often evolves into the daily status meeting anti-patterm.  Before long everyone dreads going to the standup and the energy level of the team and value of the meeting goes down.  Below is a photo of one of our interspecies stand ups that had fallen into this anti-pattern.



Because most offices are not cat friendly I tend to work from our main office in Atlanta.  A poorly run meeting among humans is challenging to watch.  I have observed some of these first hand.  As cats we have unique challenges because we tend to communicate better via non-verbal communication and typing.  So what are some good practices for a daily standup?

For All Dev Teams

  • It is ok if people don’t have anything to say during some standups.  
  • The purpose is to have a touch point where the entire team will be available,  to share things that are important to the entire team and to ask for help when everyone is there if you have a blocker.
  • The standup should not replace frequent communication among team members.  Use tools like instant messaging with a multi user chat room so that the team and communicate with each other throughout the day.
  • The team needs to hold everyone accountable for keeping the kanban board up to date.  The standup should not be the time when the majority of cards are moved.


For Interspecies Dev Teams

  • Video conferencing is a must
  • A co-located human dev pair can help to translate any non-verbal pieces of communication during the standup.
  • Maintain a distraction free environment……as a cat if I see a bird or a laser pointer I’m probably going to go attack it and not pay attention to the standup.
  • Get a good microphone so that you don’t have to use headphones.  Most cats have sensitive hearing and can’t use headphones.



March 8, 2014 Agile, Extreme Programming, Software Craftsmanship, Uncategorized , , , ,

And So it Begins!

After last falls post about purr programming I have finally gotten around to creating a permanent home for all information relating to interspecies pair programming.  Look for posts related to everything from getting started to pro tips.

May 19, 2013 Uncategorized