You hear often that code is collaborative now, but what does it mean?
While the lone programmer in a dark room still exists, they’re probably interacting with many others as they conduct their work, whether it’s fellow enthusiasts in an IRC channel or their co-workers on slack. But nearly everyone does that. So what’s new?
Well, a new era of software engineering has given rise to a predominance of new ways of working. New expectations have created whole new sub fields in web development that help to make products and services be the best they can be. Old fields, like testing, have been given more respect and a higher priority, and user experience has come to the fore.
Collaborative coding and coding in general is done best in an atmosphere of psychological safety and so company Heads of Culture and HR, as well as product managers and technical leads, work together to create environments in which programmers can work effectively with each other. They’ve come up with a variety of initiatives.
Some of the forms of active collaborative activities they’ve come up with include: pair programming, stand-up, code-review, mob programming, dojos and internal company hackathons.
Why? For programmers to create work that is a joy to use for developers, and customers alike, they work with software architects, and testers, product managers and user experience researchers to work out how to design their code, and the look and feel of their product. To smooth onboarding, some of these activities can function as ‘getting to know you’ exercises. Beside the everyday interaction, these other methods are used to ensure that product development is carried off successfully.
Often junior and more advanced developers work alongside each other as a way to onboard junior staff. Pair programming extends far beyond that now though, as there is ~data~ that shows it greatly reduces the rate of errors.
Peer reviews help enforce a standard of quality in an organisation. The key is to remember that ‘you are not your code’ and ‘everyone was a beginner once’. It’s a rare piece of code that goes unreviewed in functional organisations. Even just knowing your code will be reviewed will make you be less lazy.
Hackathons are occasions where developers get together, often with people from other fields, to build something. They might riff off a theme or an API but always they are creating something new, together.
And so on.
Anyway, here are some links on how to do collaborative coding well:
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