Just the Two of Us

Affects of Work Environment on Pair Programming Productivity

Lennon and McCartney. Tom and Jerry. Macaroni and Cheese. Life is filled with famous duos. It is indeed true that two heads are better than one. Collaboration in all forms allows for diversification of thought that more often than not contributes to a better solution.

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Pair programming has been known to yield productivity benefits, if work environments support it effectively

Two Hearts

Although not directly related to workspace, it is important to note that developer attitude is important. The personality traits of the team are just one environmental factor that affects pair programming adoption.

When Two Worlds Collide

In an ideal world, development teams are co-located to strengthen collaboration. Certainly our ongoing strategy is to try and reduce the number of regions over which any given team expands. With current expertise spread across the globe, co-location is a not so distant dream. This makes full pairing on all features challenging.

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Sharing across regions is a necessary evil that makes pairing problematic

Two Old Friends

Assuming the regional and opinionated impediments have been removed, we must also consider the physical barriers. Collaborating across a single machine means individual workspaces must support two people sitting and viewing code.

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Pedestals are the biggest physical impediment to pair programming that we currently have

Two Minutes Silence

Be mindful of the sounds of the environment as well as the sights. The environment should not share the buzz of conversations. One of the biggest issues with our open floor setup is the travel of noise. Laughs and repartee reverberate across the area. It’s not the first time that I’ve been vocal about the need for noise cancelling headphones to support concentration, both in blog and in person.

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Noise cancelling mechanisms, combined with considered layout, are required to reduce the noise from coding discussions

Lead software engineer with a strong interest in Agile, UX and Usability. Lover of cooking, tea, photography and gin!

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