Pair Programming Comments

Yves Hanoulle had some questions from class participants on his post about Pair Programming. I am not a very experienced pair programmer, but that didn’t stop me from providing some answers 🙂

* Can you PP over skype?

Yes — or other similar screensharing technologies (iChat) that allow you to switch control. @jbrains and I did pairing for a code retreat a couple of months ago. You can see the code and a video link here on github.

* Do we need somebody to ‘supervise’ the way you do PP ? (Esp in the beginning?)

Might not be a bad way to more quickly learn from someone else’s tips and techniques. But even better, just switch up the pairing so that you gain insights/ideas from other people with more experience.

* What if there’s no option possibility to use some OS/Computer

With no computer to program on, you would have to stretch the limits of the definition of pair programming I suppose. Pair Yapping About Programming — P-YAP?

* What to do if there is a conflict between the two, a discussion??

Try and sketch out the competing ideas in code. Unless the argument is about which beer is best… then you need to take it to the bar and do a double-blind taste test.

* It can’t work with any type of character, how do you manage?

Pairing should be optional.

* What if one uses AZERTY and another one QWERTY keyboard?

You could solve that with technology.

* Doesn’t it make it harder to plan a project or resources people (Yves re-framed resources to people)

I would suspect the team that pairs is not that much different than a team that doesn’t pair. Both teams are probably lousy at estimating <g>. Instead of stressing at how PP affects your team, just make an initial guess at your estimates and alter the guess after each iteration.

* Can someone do PP with 1 person and PP for something else with another person?

I don’t understand the question. If you mean simultaneously, no. If you mean one time someone does Pair Programming with person X, and later does Pair Painting with Person Y — sure, this is possible. But what does it have to do with anything?

* Can you get into “the zone” when you’re PP-ing?

Probably. You’ll just have to try it and see.

* Does Promiscuous Pairing kill the flow? (30′ interrupts)

Never tried it. Let the team try it and see what happens.

* Why not use PP all of the time?

Let the team try it and see what happens.

* PP = More talking = more annoying for other nearby teams?

It is more annoying for people that are bothered by such environments. I suppose some people prefer quiet.

* Do you plan who is going to do what or how do you choose whose turn it is?

Let the team decide.

* Can you do PP with > 2 people?

You can do whatever you like. Just observe if it is effective or not. I suspect you might find diminishing returns.

* How do you handle the “Don’t care”?

What does this have to do with PP? If you have done everything humanly possible to help someone become a productive member of the team and they are intent on being a-holes; and you have warned them of the consequences of being an a-hole to the team; then fire them so that the team morale is not broken by “one bad apple.”

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