Pair Programming Harmful?

There was an interesting article over on tech crunch today. It discussed Harvard and Professor and surgeon Atul Gawande’s recent TED talk.

It also goes into arguments on whether pairing is better or worse for creativity. Very interesting article overall.

I find however that they miss one key aspect of pair programming. Its fun. I like pair programming because its far more fun than coding by myself. I learn things and I teach things during the sessions. Its especially great when you have to work with some terrible API like the VS integration API as you have someone who is sharing the burden experience with.

Did you know that there are FactoryFactorys all over the place in the VS API? Someone seems to have known that was bad, so they renamed them FactoryProviders

This fun factor is also a recruiting tool towards getting the best developers. Hell if the best developers want to all work hung upside down from the ceiling because more blood goes to their brains and only work at night… umm ok we can work around this.

As to whether Solitude is good or bad for creativity I think its very situational. I think both can aid in the creative process or be a detriment to it. Too many variables and no one size fits all answer.

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4 Responses to Pair Programming Harmful?

  1. +1 for the situational decision. I also think that paring should on the whole depend upon the situation, which must be clear for a good specialist.

  2. I definitely agree with Mia – whether pairing is a suitable approach or not depends a lot on your situation. This is something I focused on in a recent post about pair programming.

    Also, Greg has a good point. You should never forget the fun part of development. Thanks for the post!

  3. Rod says:

    Greg, you put it in the right words.

    Pair programming is about having fun as you code you way through different situations.
    When someone approaches to me asking me why do I enjoy pair programming I know straight away they haven’t share the same experience and their pairing partners certainly suck! or they are very incompatible.

    In my case, I am a very critical person with my code and quite often I am not happy with the code I write; pairing is a most in my case because allows me to focus on the intent of the task rather than trying to get the perfect module/class/function that I won’t be able to be happy with.

  4. Mia says:

    I’ve actually seen that post today about pair programming, and indeed this is an interesting subject. I trust that some programmers perform better if alone, while others if they are in a pair, and i think that this goes for each and every one of us no matter our field.

    I think that the outcome of pair programming depends very much on the persons and on the situation. However, the more the merrier :)

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