Coding solo is usually enough to accomplish a particular task, but there are times when you'll get stuck on a rut regardless of how talented you are. At some point, you'll need the help of others to break through, which introduces the idea of collaborative programming—a strategy from which multiple individuals work together to accomplish a particular programming goal.
Collaborative Programming 101
Working with others of the same interests opens up a whole new world of possibilities, but putting together a team and expecting them to collaborate effectively from the get-go is simply unreasonable. You at least have to make it work, which is probably why you're here. Below are a few tips to help you succeed with collaborative programming:
1. Prepare The Collaboration Tools
Regardless of how synced you and the members are, there's always a need for collaboration tools. Take, for example, file sharing. Usually, using a portable drive would take quite some time to distribute necessary files. But with a cloud server, you can greatly reduce your downtime since sending large files through the cloud is faster.
That's not the only tool you can prepare. You should also make sure the server you'll be using is up and running. In short, before starting the collaborative programming activity, you must make sure everything is in order. Take note, however, that there are different types of collaborative programming, and the tools necessary for each will vary.
2. Try Out Different Activities
As stated earlier, collaborative programming refers to any activity where multiple individuals work together to accomplish a particular goal. This can vary in the number of members and mechanics. The following are the three most common types of collaborative programming:
- Pair programming: This is the most popular type of collaborative programming, and it involves pairing up with someone. One works on writing the code while the other reviews the code as it's being written. Their roles switch regularly throughout the entire process to allow each to share the experience.
- Mob programming: You can also opt for mob programming, which involves a relatively bigger group of programmers to work on a specific project. It usually leads to more results, but there's the problem of managing each individual involved.
- Code swapping: Code swapping is perhaps the simplest and easiest collaborative programming activity. It involves sharing one's code with one or more programmers.
If you want to ensure the success of the collaborative programming activity, it's essential to choose a type that works well with the schedule and skills of the members.
Pair programming works best if a particular team member is lagging; mob programming is excellent if you want to involve the whole team while code swapping is ideal if everyone is busy. But regardless of which you pick, make sure the members are interested.
3. Find Members With Genuine Interest
Although collaborative programming is a good idea to share and foster relationships with like-minded individuals, there's no real point behind it if the members aren't interested in the activity. Since each would play an essential role, especially in pair programming, having an apathetic member might even lead the team further from success. As such, each should have a genuine interest.
On that note, it's advisable to look for individuals who are open to new ideas and are willing to learn new programming languages. If you're aiming to conduct a mob programming activity, it'd also help if you can get a veteran on board. That way, there'd be someone who'll take the lead and guide everyone else. Furthermore, you should start with a few individuals first since things would be much harder to manage if you start with a big group immediately.
4. Establish A Communication Channel
Apart from setting up a cloud server, establishing a dedicated communication channel consisting of all participants have numerous merits. For one, a communication channel would allow the host to manage the activity and the team more effectively. Second, it provides an opportunity for individuals to ask questions they'd usually be too shy to ask. Lastly, it can serve as a means to inform every member of the latest announcements and updates regarding the activity.
It's up to you which platform to use, but it's best if you can find a platform that works well with collaborative programming and offers coding tools.
As you create program after program after program, you'll come to understand that working alone isn't always a good idea. Sometimes, racking your brain up with someone makes the job a million times easier, but that doesn't mean you can collaborate with others without prior preparation. But with these tips, success should be a lot easier to achieve.