Habits for Successful Pair Programming

Pair Programming.  Most of us have heard of it, some of us have done it, at least at some point.  Although this technique has been around for a while, it’s taken some time to start to gain mass adoption, it seems.  Sometimes you hear anecdotal stories of people saying “I tried it once, but I didn’t like it”, or words to that effect.

Pair Programming can be challenging.  It can be more enjoyable and more productive, but also more tiring than just developing code by yourself.  You can’t do it all day, every day.

After reading some of the literature around Pair Programming, I devised a (Google docs) “Seven Habits of Successful Pair Programmers“presentation for my team, for what I thought worked for us.  When some new people joined the team, I revised it again, in the light of two years experience of pairing.

There’s nothing too surprising in the presentation.  You’ll probably have encountered most of these things before.  As ever though, the practice of these things is the key.

For example, the “Take a break every hour” advice.  It’s not always easy to persuade a developer, who’s excited about their latest idea for the feature, to stop what they’re doing, and disconnect for a while.  Ultimately though, if you don’t take enough breaks, you’ll get tired, work will become less enjoyable, and you’ll probably start making mistakes.

See what works for you.

What this is for

Hello everyone.  I’m going to put some thoughts on software, Agile, the nature of group working in teams, and human interaction here.

The focus won’t be so much on amazing coding.  As someone (Was it Robert C Martin?) said “I’m not a great coder, I’ve just got great habits”. So, this will be more on where I feel the challenges lie.  Namely, the human side!

After all, we’re meant to value

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

but I’m not sure how often we manage to achieve that.