Remote Pairing

In general, remote pairing is no different from collocated pairing except for the obvious video link. These days, there is no need to use anything other than a high-quality video, sound and screen-sharing, and a remote screen control tool such as Zoom.

Pro tips:

  • When sharing have two screens, one for sharing and one for personal use for slack, mail etc. Make sure you remember which is which ;)
  • Be careful with notifications when you are actively pairing with someone. It is often worth muting notifications.
  • Maintain an active dialogue about the code you are working on, particularly when you are not driving.
  • Try to minimise the amount of environmental noise around you. Where possible, work in a quiet room.
  • Don’t forget there are whiteboard facilities on Zoom. This can be useful in explaining ideas.
  • When using remote screen control, latency is important!
  • Use a keystroke visualiser! Especially when you're demonstrating complicated keyboard shortcuts. Just be careful not to expose any sensitive data such as user password from login form, etc. All major operating systems are shipping with built-in keyboard viewer solutions out of the box. However, in our experience, specialised tools like, for example, KeyCastr work better in a remote pairing environment as they provide a more focused view by displaying only one single keystroke at a time.
Remember, you have to actively fight against the people isolating themselves, especially when people first start to work remotely. Make yourself present; be overactive in communications like Slack and Zoom. If you are overactive, people are more likely to pair with you!