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Is pair programming practical

 
Ashok C. Mohan
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I recently had an oppurtunity to learn about agile team techniques. As a programmer in a conventional team for 3 years, I am not able to appreciate some of the aspects of extreme programming and agile techniques. One of them is pair programming. Is it really worth it? How much has the industry accepted this technique?
 
Ilja Preuss
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I can't tell you how much Pair Programming is accepted in the industry. Agile development in general is quite wide spread, though - Google is doing it for years, Yahoo is adapting Scrum to remain competitive. Even the British Telecom is going Agile now.

Regarding Pair Programming being practical you need to remember that XP wasn't designed in an ivory tower - it is a collection of practices how they *are* done by effective teams.

We are doing Pair Programming for some years now, and it has become a normal daily practice for us. At first, it wasn't easy to convince management, but after they saw the benefits after a couple of small experiments, we are now totally free doing as much PP as we feel necessary.

What are your doubts?
 
Ashok C. Mohan
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That was some great news. Can you give me some examples of some companies which implement pair programming? thanks in advance.
 
Ilja Preuss
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You might find Pair Programming mentioned in some of the case studies at http://www.objectmentor.com/processImprovement/xpCaseStudies
 
Ashok C. Mohan
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Thankx a ton Ilja. That was really helpful.
 
Ilja Preuss
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You're welcome!
 
Scott Ambler
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In the September issue of Dr. Dobb's Journal, online in a week or so, I have survey results indicating that pair programming is very popular. I suspect that it's popular because it works so well. Try it out and see for yourself.

- Scott
 
Srinivas Ramgopal
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Hi all,

We adopted XP two months ago and the team is getting adjusted to the pair programming concept.

I have a question - how can the individual developer performance be evaluated by management since each task is done by a pair???

Thanks in advance for your valuable time and interest.
[ August 27, 2006: Message edited by: Srinivas Ramgopal ]
 
Ilja Preuss
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Originally posted by Srinivas Ramgopal:

I have a question - how can the individual developer performance be evaluated by management since each task is done by a pair???


It's hard to do that no matter whether you are pair programming or not.

Unless typically in your environment a programmer who just cares about getting his own tasks done as "efficient" as possible gets better performance reviews than the programmer who takes his time to help coworkers and cares about making the whole team - and thereby the project - succeed.

Mostly gut feel, I'd say.
 
Vijay Vaddem
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Originally posted by Ashok C.M.:
I recently had an oppurtunity to learn about agile team techniques. As a programmer in a conventional team for 3 years, I am not able to appreciate some of the aspects of extreme programming and agile techniques. One of them is pair programming. Is it really worth it? How much has the industry accepted this technique?


Read this thread to get an idea about the power
of pair programming...

I do practise it at my workplace.... sometime with people very junior to me..... but its a good thing....

and i'm sure you will love it too....
 
Srinivas Ramgopal
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Hi all,

We started pair programming recently.

Pair programming till now is a mix of negative and positive feelings from the team.

On the negative end, the team thinks that it takes lot of patience to pair with people who are extremely ambitious (who always wants to outbeat everyone and want to do everything on their own).

I wonder if pair programming is practical in certain scenarios?

Thanks in advance.

Regards.
[ September 09, 2006: Message edited by: Srinivas Ramgopal ]
 
Ilja Preuss
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Originally posted by Srinivas Ramgopal:

On the negative end, the team thinks that it takes lot of patience to pair with people who are extremely ambitious (who always wants to outbeat everyone and want to do everything on their own).

I wonder if pair programming is practical in certain scenarios?


Are you saying that when you don't do PP, that behaviour isn't a problem?
 
Srinivas Ramgopal
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From what the team gathered -> when not PP, that attitude does not affect any one as much as during PP.

During PP, since another person spends most of the time together, it is leading to stress and frustration at the end of the day.

Looks like PP demands more of the skills like handling different personalities/programming styles/speed and willingness to embrace the change inorder get the positive outcomes of PP??


Thanks in advance.


Best regards.
 
Ilja Preuss
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Originally posted by Srinivas Ramgopal:
From what the team gathered -> when not PP, that attitude does not affect any one as much as during PP.


Well, I'm sure it doesn't affect any one directly, personally. I'd expect it to still significantly affect team work. In fact it sounds a little bit that the "not using PP as a solution" actually means something along the lines of "okay, don't let's work as a team, then".

Looks like PP demands more of the skills like handling different personalities/programming styles/speed and willingness to embrace the change inorder get the positive outcomes of PP??


Pair programming certainly is something that needs to be learned to do it effectively and smoothly.

You might want to take a look at http://www.xprogramming.com/xpmag/Etudes.htm#N84 for some ideas of what you can do to make it a better learning experience, and possibly even some fun on the way.

You might also want to get your hands on a copy of "Pair Programming Illuminated", which discusses such and other problems that can arise when trying PP in depth.
 
Frank Martinig
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You will find a pair programming critical look in the article "Will Pair Programming Really Improve Your Project?" located at http://www.methodsandtools.com/archive/archive.php?id=10and more resources on it in the Pair Programming section of the Library pages of the Agile Alliance: http://agilealliancebeta.org/article/articles_by_category/35
[ September 18, 2006: Message edited by: Frank Martinig ]
 
Ilja Preuss
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Originally posted by Frank Martinig:
You will find a pair programming critical look in the article "Will Pair Programming Really Improve Your Project?" located at http://www.methodsandtools.com/archive/archive.php?id=10


As a practitioner of pair programming, I find that, while the problems discussed certainly *can* arise, they are given way too much weight in the article compared to the benefits. Not surprisingly, I don't at all agree with their conclusions drawn.
 
Paul Croarkin
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We are "agile" in our use of pair programming. We use it when we need it. In a planning meeting, some tasks will be taken by individuals and others will be given to a pair. An individual may also say "X is more familiar with this, so let's pair on this". We also frequently pair on the fly.

Physical workspace conditions can make pairing difficult 100% of the time. Often a cube is not big enough for two to share all day, but people are willing to have a bit of discomfort for an hour or so.
 
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