Pair Programming Definition and Overview

Organizations may also have the pair rotate roles to work on different tasks. This way, they get experience working on the different parts of the system being built. Pair programming uses the four eyes principle, which ensures two sets of eyes review the code that is being produced, even when there is a division of labor. While the driver writes the code, the navigator checks the code being written.

definition of pair programming

The two people work together to design, code and test user stories. Ideally, the two people would be equally skilled and would each have equal time at the keyboard. One programmer, the driver, writes the code, while the other, the navigator, reviews the code as it’s written and provides feedback. The two programmers switch roles periodically while working. For pairing to be effective, the workstation needs to be able to accommodate both programmers – the desk should have enough room to easily accommodate at least two chairs. The room’s noise level should be controlled and should not be any louder than the muted conversation of the individual pair or multiple pairings.

Pairing variations

Code reviews are not as proactive as you have to wait until the code is completed — bugs and all — before somebody could take a look at and correct it. Pair programming increases the person-hours required to deliver code compared to programmers working individually. Along with code development time, other factors like field support costs and quality assurance also figure into the return on investment.

definition of pair programming

In Pair programming two software developers share a single workstation and work together to develop a single feature. Pair programming is an agile software development technique in which two programmers work together. The goal of agile software development is to deliver software on an ongoing basis so the results can be evaluated more easily. Codementor is a online community of software developers with over 350K+ users and 10K+ vetted mentors. Our mentors make it their mission to help people just like you using tools like video calls, screen sharing, and shared code editors.

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In this situation, the junior member may take the observer role, deferring to the senior member of the pair for the majority of coding activity. More simply “pairing”; the phrases “paired programming” and “programming in pairs” are also used, less frequently. This promotes the sharing of more skills between developers and keeps them engaged. Another programmer is looking over the driver’s code, which can help reduce mistakes and improve the quality of the code.

At the same time, junior developers need to figure out how to address the problems independently. If you are leading the pair programming, these distractions are simpler to deal with. Still, you may drift away occasionally if you are following. It’s good to turn on your video camera when pair programming, even if it’s unnecessary.

For example, if you’re new to Python, you might want to practice with another student learning Python . Pair programmers switch roles regularly, so both pairs stay engaged. They also work collaboratively, determining which tasks need to be done.

Use tools for video calling, screen sharing, and code editing with your mentor. From help with JavaScript, Swift, React, and more, keep up to speed with good programming practices. Pair programming is a programming method in which two people work together on a single program. They’ll sit next to the driver, but they won’t be writing any code. The developer-focused on coding is commonly referred to as the ‘driver’.

Benefits of Pair Programming:

Pair programming helps developers understand each part of a codebase, meaning the environment will not be dependent on a single person for repairs if something breaks. The two developers take turns coding or reviewing and check each other’s work as they go. Rotating roles regularly helps keep both developers alert and engaged.

Agile Organization Agile Organization Journey Find out how to make your organization invincible and adopt agile enterprise processes. Agile Leader Agile Leader Journey Learn more about agile leadership and find out how to take your company to the next level. You can come up with more creative solutions than you would on your own, and you might find solutions faster. Just having someone to talk through a problem with can be key to coming up with a solution.

definition of pair programming

It’s also a good introduction for programmers who are onboarding with a new company. Learning about ongoing projects by working on them with an experienced and knowledgeable team member can help you stay up-to-date with programming practices. It also keeps individuals from becoming isolated from the rest of the team or project. Not just using TDD and pair programming and developing using clean code and DDD concepts are some of the most effective techniques. Both developers should be familiar with the environment they are working in. Otherwise, the balance of pair programming will be disrupted.

Challenges of pair programming

The driver and navigator regularly switch roles every 15 minutes or so. Pair programming is the practice of pairing up to definition of pair programming work on programming tasks. Usually, most people imagine two developers seated at the same computer, sharing the keyboard.

  • Whether you’re sitting with your partner or communicating remotely, good paired programming involves a lot of talking and thinking out loud.
  • Pair programming as a concept didn’t develop until the late 1990s, when agile software development practices were spread to a wider audience.
  • Feeling like you’ve lost your edge in your remote work?
  • “This raises the communication bandwidth and frequency within the project, increasing overall information flow within the team.”
  • I am an experienced full-stack software developer with over a decade in the field, primarily in back-end…

If you have never tried pair programming activities on your team, it is worth a try. It makes work a lot more fun and facilitates better communication between the team. This is certainly a benefit, as anything that is done with satisfaction and diligence tends to increase productivity and yield better results.

Application performance monitoring, for instance, helps you take a proactive approach to monitoring rather than responding to issues only after they’ve reached your users. Another method for boosting efficiency is pair programming, Let’s take a look at pair programming advantages, concept, and challenges of pair programming. This Agile software development technique is not well suited for everyone, however.

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However, this is a misconception that needs to be clarified. On simple tasks, which the pair already fully understands, pairing results in a net drop in productivity. It may reduce the code development time but also risks reducing the quality of the program. Productivity can also drop when novice–novice pairing is used without sufficient availability of a mentor to coach them. Two experts can generally work within any pair programming style.

Learning to partner effectively in a team that close and share a work computer takes skills that not all programmers possess. It requires both programmers to have the soft skills required for collaboration, as well as the requisite hard skills to write and test code. Some businesses may adopt the practice, while others may opt not to use it. A common implementation of pair programming calls the programmer at the keyboard the driver, while the other is called the navigator.

Honest, Objective, Lab-Tested Reviews

Forming the best approach to a problem adds an extra layer of complexity and requires an extensive amount of time and thought. Ideally, programmers will have enough time to work on solo and pair-programming tasks. Pair programming is a great educational tool for beginners. Observing other programmers and writing code in front of them are great ways to improve your problem-solving skills. Pair programming as a concept didn’t develop until the late 1990s, when agile software development practices were spread to a wider audience. Pair programming in recruitment is an excellent technique for applying a developer to the test.

This freedom from structure can help naturally well-matched pairs move even faster. However, pairs that have different styles may struggle with the lack of structure involved here. The most important reason to pair program is that it often produces better solutions than either developer could have produced on their own.

Without pair programming, developers must go to extra lengths to share knowledge, usually through extra meetings and code review sessions. When one person types for a prolonged period of time, usually more than half an hour, this can be a symptom of poor pair programming. If the roles of driver and navigator are being properly shared, both members will take turns typing. If one person tends to dominate the keyboard, it may be helpful to set an alarm for 20 minute intervals to encourage role swapping. In pairs with a more senior person, the senior person must take particular care not to seize the keyboard whenever the junior person is struggling or going slowly.

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The driver focuses on the specifics of coding, while the navigator checks the work, code quality and provides direction. Many businesses mistakenly assume the costs would double—two programmers’ salaries versus one for the same output. But because two programmers can collectively work more quickly and fewer mistakes than one programmer coding alone, the actual cost increase is less than double. Nevertheless, an organization should keep in mind that this software development approach will require a higher budget.

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