Pair programming

I’ve been pair programming on and off for a few years. I enjoy pair programming. At the start, and I’m sure that almost every developer feels this way initially, I was quite suspicious and lets face it a bit scared. I soon realised though, that my fears were all for nothing and started enjoying it immensely. When pair programming I don’t have to defend my code to anybody, there is no real need for code reviews and I don’t get stuck with supporting a module till the day I die, because nobody else understands it.

I’m always amused when management (also project managers) ask the question: “But won’t it take twice as long to go through all your work if you pair program the whole time?”. I guess when you’ve seen it working countless times it’s kind of a shock to realise that some people are still sceptics. I can understand it though, I also posed the same question when I first heard of it.

In my experience it does not take twice as long, but approximately the same time to do the same work. By that I mean that in my experience two pair programmers will go through 20 story points in about the same time as 2 non pair programmers working on their own machines. Reason being, there is no time to read all your email when it comes in, or chat with your wife on google talk, read up on latest technologies, generally just wasting valuable time – that would just be rude! It’s also more difficult to go off on a tangent, becasue your code partner will prevent that. What’s more the quality of the code is better, knowledge sharing happens continiously, less bells and whistles come into existence and it’s exciting!

I guess it’s not always possible to convince people that it works, but it sure as hell is worth trying.

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~ by hendrikswan on February 13, 2010.

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