Pair programming isn’t just putting two programmers in front of a computer! This recipe outlines the basic ingredients and some secret sauce for a successful, productive pairing session.
Serving size: One Pair
Internet Critic commented: I feel like there’s no way pairing can be more effective than two smart developers working separately. What gives?
Avery & Bella replied: The secret about the secret sauce of pairing, empathy, trust, constant communication, fast feedback, etc., is that it isn’t a secret! These qualities will help any team be more effective at working together to solve problems and deliver better products faster. If a team isn’t pairing, they often need to spend lots of additional time and effort to build all of these qualities up. We think these qualities are essential to effective and productive software development, so why not build this into your discipline, all day, every day? Pairing is a great way to do that! We’ll be sure to address the effectiveness of pairing in a future post.
Super Hacker commented: What if I’m pairing and I really need to check my email or Facebook? I don’t want my pair snooping on my personal info!
Avery & Bella replied: We work hard to limit the need for any one team member to need to respond to email or other messages. If you need to check your messages, get on Facebook, or whatever else you need, tell your pair you need a break during the day. But pairing requires a lot of focus and lack of distractions. Find ways of limiting those distractions for you and your team!
Anon E. Mouse commented: Help! I really want to try this recipe, but my developers aren’t co-located. What do I do?
Avery & Bella replied: Sometimes, your developers may not be able to sit together at one computer. While this is less ideal, it can be solved by substituting one computer with two computers, each with a webcam, high-quality headphones, and screen-sharing software. A whole monitor dedicated to just your pair’s face is especially effective.
Concerned Pair commented: I’m new to my team and I’m always afraid I will just slow down my pair. Should I just take some time alone to ramp up before trying to pair?
Avery & Bella replied: We find pairing is effective when both people are experienced pair programmers, but also equally effective at quickly turning an inexperienced teammate into an experienced one. When paired with a more experienced teammate, you’ll be effective at delivering software on day one, and even more effective on day 100!