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Will Pair Programming Really Improve Your Project?

franco martinig

Joined: Mar 31, 2003
Posts: 9
This article takes a critical look at the pair programming practice

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Kishore Dandu
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 10, 2001
Posts: 1934
Nice article.

It is working all-right in many projects(and also created severe headaches in some as pointed out in the article aswell).

Some other approaches include, design documents + distribution of work among two developers along the lines of functionality. That is also working allright.

In all these approaches it all depends on the vigilance ability of the lead/or coach. They have to correct some aspects if the situation is going out of hand.

SCJP, blog
Ilja Preuss

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
I think the main "problem" with PP is that it requires a team culture.

If you just order a group of individual developers to do PP, it probably won't work very well and you might encounter many of the problems mentioned in the article.

PP done by a team of developers who care for each other and for what they are doing, many of the things mentioned in the article don't hold up any longer.

For example, in a real team, PP doesn't happen randomly. Instead everyone is quite aware of the strengths and weaknesses of their coworkers and works to compensate for them. If two people, when working together, regularly produce problematic designs, it will be quite obvious to everyone and actions can be taken (such as more elaborate design sessions, which *are* part of PP).

The good news: PP also helps to a great amount *making* a team out of a group of developers.

A coach might still be important, but that is true for every team in which true collaboration happens, and I tend to think that the burden isn't as dramatic as the article seems to suggest.

BTW, another interesting (somewhat more enthusiastic ) article on PP can be found at

The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
I agree. Here's the link:
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