Stair Master

A Stairmaster, the exercise machine for people who think that a Reebok step will not waste enough of their money

Like many that use pair programming, the teams I work on sometimes use pair stairs to track who pairs with whom and to ensure that each member has paired with all others. We draw the stairs on the whiteboard at the start of the iteration and tick off the boxes at the end of each day to record who has paired with whom.

As a consultant helping to introduce agile practices into a company it's often my task to introduce pair stairs to a team and draw them on the board for the first time. Unfortunately, I can never remember how to draw the axes. "Alice, Bob, Chris, Dan down the y axis and then Bob, Alice... no not Alice... Dan? ... or is it Eric?... err...". Somewhat embarassing when standing in front of the team, to say nothing of the project manager, customer, customer's boss, program manager, etc. Therefore, being a computer programmer, I decided to solve the problem with automation.

So, with no further ado, I present "Stair Master", a pair-stairs drawing program.

Type the names or initials of your team members into the input box, separated by commas. The app will build the pair-stairs in the rest of the page. When the page is printed, the input box will not be shown, so you can print from the browser and stick the resulting document on your team's whiteboard.

Stair Master updates the browser's URL field to link to the pair stairs. You can copy this link into your project's wiki for future convenience.

Warning: Stair Master only works properly in Firefox and other standards-compliant browsers. I can't be bothered to spend time trying to work around all the bugs in Internet Explorer.

Update: Thanks to a tip from Michael Mahemoff Stair Master now displays the link to the pair stairs in the browser's URL field, not as part of the HTML. However, this does mean that previous links you might have saved are now invalid. Sorry.

Update: The Pair Stairs are now easier to understand and the names are sorted alphabetically.

Copyright © 2005 Nat Pryce. Posted 2005-07-25. Share it.