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Pair Programming

Pair Programming is an Agile concept that is difficult to see the value until you experience it personally. In fact, the more difficult you find it to focus, the harder it is to accept that the practice can work.

Here are some things I have experienced making it more effective.

Have a separate keyboard and mouse for each member of the pair. If you are using Windows workstations they support multiple keyboards and mice easily.

Trade off when coding. Have one person write code and the other write tests. Then, switch roles for the next feature. Each person ends up with five to ten minutes of intense coding with the assistance of the other person for errors or mentoring.

The interesting part is that with two developers working side by side you can get a great amount of solid code written. You end up with code review as it is being written. You end up with a lot of intense code being done because you don’t get distracted with Email or twitter; your screen is being watched by another. With a laptop the individual not coding can be performing google searches or other support tasks to keep the code process moving forward.

Surprisingly, pair programming can put out a lot of good code, and sometimes out-performs the output of two persons
working on different tasks individually.

Pair programming isn’t for everything. What’s your take? Have you done pair programming? Would you like to try it? Share your thoughts or experiences to get into the conversation. Or, drop an email to