"I Heard the News Today, Oh Boy" ... About Pair Programming

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Summary:

I was pretty convinced I was having a dream this morning. Everything seemed fairly routine: coffee, breakfast, and the crisp air of a September morning. I paged through an e-mail summary of the headlines from The New York Times, made a mental note to read the story about the effects of eradicating all the pigs from Egypt, and settled in to read an article about pair programming.

I was pretty convinced I was having a dream this morning. Everything seemed fairly routine: coffee, breakfast, and the crisp air of a September morning. I paged through an e-mail summary of the headlines from The New York Times , made a mental note to read the story about the effects of eradicating all the pigs from Egypt, and settled in to read an article about pair programming.

Which seemed odd. I thought, "I don't remember The New York Times having much to say about software development practices." Thinking on it further, I decided that this was a highly improbable event and likely a sign that I was dreaming. So I attempted to take advantage of my subconscious-fueled alternate reality by trying to levitate above my chair.

Turns out it wasn't a dream (it was harder to explain the levitation attempt to my wife, believe me). Jim Remsik , a software engineer at Hashrocket, has collaborated with writer Patricia R. Olsen to explain the what and why of pair programming in a piece titled " For Writing Software, a Buddy System ". I particularly liked his story about Where's Waldo? as an analogy for finding defects early.

Congratulations to Jim for presenting an accessible and entertaining explanation of what could otherwise have been a fairly dull topic to a wide, and likely non-programmer, audience. This is a piece that we can share with our colleagues, managers, business owners, or non-technical folks. While many have written excellent articles and books about pair programming before, perhaps the name of The New York Times will find new readers who might have otherwise skipped this content.

So when you show up to the office this week, you may want to pass this article around. Maybe someone will even ask you about it, in which case you can pass on some of the data about pair programming's effects on quality. See the "Scientific Studies" section of the Wikipedia entry on pair programming for some references and key statistics.

Now back to that levitating trick…

 

(Title lyric comes from " A Day in the Life " by Lennon / McCartney)

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