Pair Programming Does it really work Nilesh Gule’s Technical Blog

Typically, we pair program naturally when we are stuck and ask for a colleague’s help. Also, we can schedule pairing sessions as a regular activity. It’s a matter of context and where it helps you get better results. Two experts can generally work within any pair programming style.

This approach is known as behavior-driven development, and while it’s not part of the definition of pair programming, it harmonizes beautifully, along with test-driven development. It’s true that pair programming can be intimidating for some developers. They don’t like the idea of someone watching them code, they feel they are being judged, etc. In this post we’ll be discussing the benefits, challenges, styles of pairing programming and some of the best practices.

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Constant interaction between the two programmers creates an environment that’s better suited for being creative. Programmers can bounce ideas off each other, working towards better solutions to problems quicker and more effectively. Gaining a deep appreciation for the values of communication and teamwork is a hugely important learning experience, one that is hard to teach on the job. Pair programming is one of the best ways for team members to develop this appreciation.

definition of pair programming

When two developers shift roles regularly, it is unlikely one programmer will control the workflow. This style of pair programming is normally performed in conjunction with test-driven development. Developers are expected to deliver their best they are empowered and motivated constantly. This inspiration and motivation can also point to the availability of adequate resources or tools. A senior developer is ready to help at any instance, or an ambient workplace that blends the developer with agility and accuracy to develop products faster and bug-free. Moreover, there are also several tactics to achieve these goals, which can be followed in tandem.

What is Pair Programming? [2023 Guide]

Pair programming is used to great effect in both educational and professional contexts. It is a useful teaching tool, a great onboarding tool, and an efficient way to plow through certain types of coding problems by applying two brains instead of one. Pair programming should also be a programming out loud process, where the pair is verbally detailing what it is doing. The pair should be equally engaged and be participative for the duration of the task. If the driver encounters a hitch with the code, there will be two of them who’ll solve the problem.

definition of pair programming

The issue you are going to start to be tired and your partner frustrated with their participation, but that will be too late to switch. Another big problem is that the knowledge is not equally shared when both developers are not given the opportunity to lead the action. Although pair programming have many benefits, it has some challenges as well. Lack of focus, not switching roles, not having an agenda and just being rude with your partner are some of the problems you could face on a pair programming session. The quality of code produced by two developers working together improves, along with their mutual understanding of the codebase. In general, when two people can think about the same problem, they can create simpler and more efficient solutions while learning from each other.

Pair Programming

In sum, it helps your programmers learn from each other while coming up with programs and applications with better code quality and fewer bugs. Pair programming is a great educational tool for beginners. Observing other programmers and writing code in front of them are great ways to improve your problem-solving skills. Pair programming as a concept didn’t develop until the late 1990s, when agile software development practices were spread to a wider audience.

definition of pair programming

In the glossary we gather the main specialized terms that are frequently used in the working process. All meanings are written according to their generally accepted international interpretation. For convenience, you can use the search bar to simplify and speed up the search process. Using a pair programming interview promotes a more objective hire. The selection is based on demonstrated skill and expertise instead of biased CVs, recommendations, or simple question-answer style interviews.

These Are The 15 Top Codecademy Courses of 2022

When working in pairs, programmers can check and modify the code in real time, shortening the feedback loop and making corrections at a more efficient and effective rate. Having two people solve problems at various times, with one constantly monitoring the coding, means fewer what is pair programming coding mistakes. It is one of the most underrated techniques where an individual can learn fast and apply the learned concepts without worrying about the drawbacks. Pair programming introduced itself quite a long time ago but was not considered until it became too late.

  • A common implementation of pair programming calls the programmer at the keyboard the driver, while the other is called the navigator.
  • This assessment should include the parameters of the coding problem, guidelines for solving it, and the overall goal of the interview.
  • This can be achieved using a variety of tactics and one special methodology is pair programming.
  • Tasks often done by only one person tend to be simpler than those assigned to two people.
  • One of the essential tools for pairing is a monitor big enough that both developers can see what’s being written clearly.

When you pair with someone, you can assess their knowledge firsthand, see how they react to new knowledge, and experience their style of communication and coding. Even pairing with a developer with no specific experience in the project can be useful as they may catch errors you have missed, or bring fresh ideas. Pairing helps the trainee stay engaged and ensures they write code themselves, instead of leaving the work to the experienced developer. There are many situations in a sprint when pair programming is really useful. Programmers in pair programming must avoid tempting the project and should not break it to complete independently.

Why Should You be Pair Programming?

“This raises the communication bandwidth and frequency within the project, increasing overall information flow within the team.” One of my ex-colleague made a very important point regarding pair programming. He said when you pair with someone for any reason both the individuals have to benefit from it. If only one person in the pair keeps on working at the task and the other one just sits besides him then it doesn’t serve any purpose. That is why the ping pong or shifting the keyboards every now and then between both pairs is essential. Imagine a situation where a senior member has very good systems and domain knowledge but is not very well versed with latest technology.

definition of pair programming

The distracted programmer is likely not looking to catch errors or check the consistency of the code, leading to more problems down the line. Pair programming can be completed remotely or in person. As hybrid and remote work is getting increasingly popular, remote pair programming is becoming more common. You’ll definitely want to consider which tools lend themselves to good pair programming experiences, so we’ll look more at those software tools later on in this article.

It is more expensive than solo programming.

If you can collaborate among all these different aspects of software development you can very well imagine the overall impact on the quality of what is being developed and delivered to the customer. In my previous project one of my colleague had suggested that any live issues or production bugs needs to be worked by a pair. If for whatever reason you were unable to do pair programming while developing a functionality, at least while fixing a production issue you can have more than one person trying to address it. Many people turn down the suggestion to pair with others saying it reduces productivity. My personal experience says that it improves productivity.

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