|A few times a month, I'll look up at one of my colleagues and say, "hey, got a sec? I need to talk to the duck," and they know this means I'm going to talk to their head but they can basically keep doing what they're doing and nod occasionally.|
This serves several purposes:
(1) It's less insane-sounding than actually talking to an inanimate object in an open work environment.
(2) It actually feels better and forces me to think more clearly when I'm talking to an actual person -- the cognitive focus is higher when the object of conversation can actually, in theory, think and talk back (YMMV).
(3) And finally, although it does require some focus on the part of the other coder, it's not nearly as taxing to them as actually helping me solve the problem or pairing up with me.
So it's a good compromise somewhere between pair programming and talking to an actual rubber duck. Again, YMMV. Maybe I'll call it "Pair Ducking."