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Thursday, November 16, 2023

The Advantages and Potential Drawbacks of Pair Programming

The Benefits and Potential Drawbacks of Pair Programming
Illustration: © IoT For All

Whereas it’s a typical false impression that software program engineering is a solitary area, in actuality, collaboration typically helps you clear up programming points extra rapidly and effectively. On this article, we’ll study the observe of pair programming, highlighting its distinguished advantages and potential drawbacks.

What’s Pair Programming?

Pair programming, because the identify suggests, is a software program growth observe by which two programmers collaborate on a single workstation on the identical time. You can do this collaboration both in particular person or remotely, by which case you’ll want software program for display screen sharing and real-time modifying.

In pair programming, the builders interchange between two roles. The “driver” writes the code, and the “navigator” critiques the written code whereas offering info and directions. You usually alternate roles between each quarter-hour to 1 hour.

Many organizations are nonetheless hotly debating pair programming; some undertake it wholeheartedly, whereas others outright refuse to think about it. Within the subsequent two sections, we’ll focus on the benefits and drawbacks of pair programming to know every of those viewpoints.

The Execs of Pair Programming

1. Fewer Errors and Bugs

Software program builders often work alone, which might trigger adverse traits like stubbornness and tunnel imaginative and prescient. It’s all too straightforward to get caught when making an attempt to repair a bug based mostly on an incorrect assumption, a hidden typo, or a niche in your information.

While you’re pair programming, nonetheless, you’re compelled to work as a staff. This mechanically provides the code extra “high quality management.” Each companions use their shared expertise and information to resolve issues sooner as they come up. In line with a examine by the College of Utah, code produced throughout pair programming has 15 p.c fewer defects.

Having a accomplice readily available additionally permits you to observe strategies like “rubber duck debugging.” This debugging methodology asks you to clarify your code within the easiest phrases line by line, as if chatting with a cute but uninformed rubber duck. Your accomplice can extra simply spot your individual misconceptions and biases, serving to you get again on observe extra rapidly.

2. Higher Resiliency

The “bus issue” needs to be a priority for all mature software program growth groups. If one particular person will get hit by a bus or must instantly depart for another cause, what is going to occur to the mission? Is there precious technical information that may be without end misplaced (or take a very long time to recuperate) as a result of just one particular person is aware of about it?

Pair programming does a lot to resolve this concern. At the very least two individuals needs to be acquainted with each a part of the code base, relatively than info dwelling with just one particular person. This helps stop sudden mission slowdowns and delays on account of employees turnover.

3. Elevated Code High quality

Sharing greatest practices between companions results in higher total code. Specifically, having to be accountable to your accomplice discourages each members from taking any shortcuts or hacks. Pair programming encourages groups to construct strong options that gained’t create sudden bugs in a while.

4. Quicker Coaching

Often, the companions for pair programming are two consultants or one knowledgeable and one novice. On this latter case, pair programming permits junior and new staff members to choose up info from their extra skilled colleagues. This may massively pace up the onboarding course of.

5. Improved Staff Morale

Lastly, pair programming provides you another person to speak to on the mission who can empathize with you and assist you clear up your issues, so that you simply aren’t caught spinning your wheels all day. This helps make the staff as an entire extra productive and happier.

The Cons of Pair Programming

1. Greater Prices

Having two individuals engaged on a single initiative might look like a waste of precious assets. Certainly, it’s true that pair programming gained’t be capable to full a mission in half the time.

Nonetheless, the higher overhead that pair programming incurs is usually balanced by the higher-quality code and a extra environment friendly, efficient ultimate end result. You pay extra in prices upfront, however you’ll be able to recuperate your funding over the lifetime of the mission because you’ll spend much less time sustaining the codebase.

2. Sustainability

Pair programming isn’t often sustainable sufficient to be practiced the entire time. The perfect period of time to spend pair programming appears to be round 2 to 2.5 hours—and don’t overlook to take breaks!

The excellent news is which you could take measures to interrupt up the depth of pair programming. Attempt switching to a brand new mission or a brand new accomplice all through the day to assist hold your thoughts recent.


Pair programming isn’t new; it’s been across the software program growth business for many years. As a observe, pair programming originates from the excessive programming (XP) methodology, which prioritizes excessive software program high quality and frequent assessments and releases.

For some organizations, pair programming merely isn’t the precise match for his or her scenario. Nonetheless, a rising variety of firms are discovering that pair programming has a wide range of advantages, together with saved growth time, higher-quality code, and higher coaching and onboarding. In consequence, everybody on the staff is working collectively to construct essentially the most profitable, greatest model of the product doable.

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