Patience Cat

It is very important, in pairing, to be patient. Especially in pairs where technical experience is unequal (mentor/mentee), you and your pair are working together eliminate dark spots in your understanding. Impatience on the part of either party is a virtual guarantee that this will not happen quickly, and oftens guarantees collateral damage.

This is probably a “no-duh” statement.

I pair almost daily with C4rl, on various problems. From CSS baloney to Apache configuration to git workflow, there is a lot to get confused about!

We have adopted a practice of invoking — what we refer to as — the Patience Cat. Usually the person who is playing the role of Explainer, holds the Patience Cat, because it can be hard to explain things to a person who doesn’t always understand what you’re talking about.

Sometimes though, the Confused has to hold the Patience Cat. This usually happens when the Confused has spent too long trying to solve a problem, or unearth the source of a bug, and hasn’t yet been successful. This is understandably very frustrating, and so it’s usually a good time to chill out with some Patience Cat Therapy.

When you’re holding The Patience Cat, you need to be careful not to raise your voice. You need to be careful not to throw your hands around wildly in the air. You need to not takeover someone else’s keyboard because they aren’t typing what you want them to type. Not because any of these acts are ultimately unforgivable, but because the Patience Cat, if alarmed, will scratch you, and being scratched hurts. As you can see, it is important to be self-preserving when holding The Patience Cat.

Written on November 22, 2014