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When Pair Programming Works

Posted on:September 4, 2019 at 02:00 AM

Pair Programming (PP) is one of the XP practices. Many modern software development companies use it in daily activities. On the other side in many places PP is treated as a waste of resources because the same result could be achieved with half of the effort. Software developers also have mixed feelings about this methodology, including me.

I strongly believe that software engineers need time for design, collaboration and learning. Depending on the individual (or organisation approach) PP can be applied in various combinations. The key to having a meaningful and efficient software development is in find out what works for you.

Recently I had quite a few situations where PP was extremely useful. That included:

In all of those cases, PP cable up as a first choice, without any policies enforcements or procedures. We just felt this is the right approach to the problem.

For me a good PP session has the following attributes:

Good Pair Programming session attributes:

The benefits

The downsides

Apart from pros, PP has also some cons. Here they are:

My advice is to apply PP when possible, but not all the time. PP should not be forced because it can scare others.