Last year Unruly ran a Developer Exchange with 7digital. We're both companies with similar levels of experience in XP/agile development but working in different technology stacks. Our aim was to provide a mutual learning experience and pickup some ideas for improving the way we work by seeing how another company does things.
What we did was to arrange for a developer swap -- Imran a Java developer from our team went over to work at 7digital for a week then Raoul a web developer came over to work with our teams for a week. The swap was staggered so we did not swap Imran and Raoul on the same week. Each developer had the opportunity while they were at the host company to pair with developers on different teams. They were also welcome to attend team meetings such as standups, planning and retrospectives. Imran even facilitated a few of retrospectives at 7digital.
It was helpful for Unruly to swap with 7digital as we were approaching a point where we were about to split a large team that worked on a monolithic application and 7digital had already implemented something similar. I think 7digital were interested to see how we approach our Continous Deployment and approach to product development.
Now that a year has elapsed, we're planning to do another Developer Exchange with 7digital. Unruly is also looking to do this with some other companies, such as Red Gate and Mendeley.
So if your company are already experienced XP practitioners and the idea of a swap sounds interesting to you, please get in touch.