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When it comes to software development, one of the most important decisions a company has to make pertains to the development methodology that is going to be used. While a number of methodologies can be used to successfully deliver any given software project, certain types of projects carry critical requirements, and as such need specific attention.
No matter what methodology you chose to follow in your company or organization, you can greatly benefit from an agile development technique known as Pair Programming, which not only helps improve the quality of code written, but also promotes team-work within the company.
Pair Programming refers to two developers working together on a single piece of code and on a single workstation. One of the programmers is referred to as the Driver or Keyboard, and their job is to actually write down code. The other is refereed to as the Navigator or Monitor, and they are responsible for reviewing the code being written, suggesting improvements and making corrections.
Either of the two can assume one role or the other. In fact, it is fairly common in many major organizations to switch these two roles frequently, often many times a day, which gives both programmers the opportunity to write code as well as review it.
This technique might sound like a waste of resources. Afterall, each programmer should be working on their own code blocks and set of features, and two programmers working on one workstation would mean that the company is shipping out half as much code as it should, right? While this can hold true in certain cases, this kind of thinking is prevalent only in output-oriented companies where the number of software features are more important than their quality or accuracy. Pair Programming holds a lot of benefits for the quality-oriented.
Fewer mistakes: The most obvious advantage of pair programming is fewer mistakes in the code. There are certain mistakes only the Driver would make, and certain mistakes that only the Navigator would make. The overlap of mistakes that both these individuals is often very low, and the one will usually correct the other. This ensures fewer bugs rolling out with each update, improving the ove3rall quality of the software.
Shared best practices: As the age-old adage goes, one and one make eleven. That is certainly the case here. When two individuals sit down to work on a project together, they will learn a lot from each other. This includes best practices, troubleshooting skills and domain knowledge that can be shared and combined, giving both programmers the opportunity to learn quickly.
Better training for new hires: Imagine you’re a new hire in a company, and they have assigned you a new project and you have no idea how to go about it. You will end up wasting a lot of hours causing you stress and costing the company valuable time. Pair Programming can help new hires get on track very quickly when paired with an experienced developer. It also helps the company identify which new hires are eager learners and which aren’t worth the company’s resources.
Moral support: It is easier to keep on working when there’s someone else sitting with you, helping you out and lending you moral support. Programming is a brain-intensive task, and it is very easy to get tired or run out of ideas when working alone, which is why pair programming is encouraged for increased productivity.
Less distractions – more productivity: People are less likely to get distracted when working with someone. Distractions such as using social media or checking your phone on every new notification can waste a lot of time and cause procrastination. You wouldn’t be as likely to check your messages or notifications when someone is sitting besides you and looking over your shoulder. This increases the overall team productivity.
Pair Programming is a useful technique for team building as well. And while it should not be done excessively since it can fail if the two people aren’t compatible, or if they need their privacy once in a while, it can be a very effective tool for increasing productivity within the office and improving the overall quality of the software code written.