the lightning talk version
• The information contained within this
presentation is largely regurgitated from more
experienced presenters at RailsConf 2014
– Joe Moore, Pivotal Labs: I’ve Pair Programmed 27,000
hours. Ask me Anything!
– Chuck Lauer Vose, New Relic: Building kick-ass internal
education programs (for large and small budgets)
– Also, lots of online materials
• My total pairing experience is approximately 30
What is it?
• Two people sitting at the same computer
– One codes
– The other watches them code
– They both discuss the problem
– They take turns doing the coding
• Two people sharing a computer screen
You might be doing it wrong if…
• You think there is a “right way” to do pair
• You think one person has to code test while, the
other codes the application to pass the tests
• You have to pair all the time!
• You have a single “pair partner”
What’s the benefit?
• Continuous education
– Team learns from each other
– You learn to work more efficiently by watching and other people’s workflow tricks
– Highest common denominator knowledgebase
• Avoid the “the person who knows that system is out today” syndrome
• Much faster on-boarding of new hires
• Better education for junior/senior pair teams
• Team gets to know each other better through meaningful conversation
• UX + Devs can pair on an interface implementation
• Support + Devs can pair on a bug resolution
• Less likely to get “stuck” on a problem resolution working together
– If a team is “stuck” on a story, rotate a person out to avoid stagnation
• Less likely to get distracted when two people are keeping each other on track
• Less likely to make mistakes when somebody else is proofing your code as you
What are the challenges?
• Can take a little getting used to
• Personality conflicts: highly assertive + highly passive
– Assertive / Senior person can end up keyboard hogging
– Using some type of timer/chess clock to track how much
time each person spent coding is a good check here
• Not useful for small tasks generally
– Unless in 100% pair environment
• Developers using different editors may have issues with
keyboard shortcut change up
Screen Hero – Free, both users can control the screen, both users have
their own mouse pointer, users don’t have to worry about screen size
In Practice Experience
• In my 30 hours of pairing since April…
– Mark B.
• Learned how to work faster in RubyMine
– Jason L.
• Learned about frontend architecture
– Robbie L.
• Learned about API routing
– Jason H.
• Learned about testing workflow
– Tyler S.
• Learned a ton about Ember.js
• In 30 hours of pairing time, I’ve been very impressed
– Learned every time
Easiest way to get started?
• Make a point to pair with somebody on your
team for 2 hours per week.
• Feel free to do more
• Provides a solid baseline of trying it out
without monopolizing your time