10 good practices of using pair programming in IT projects

Pair programming can bring many benefits to IT teams, as we already stated in our previous article. But what can you do to make this method useful and satisfying for both developers and their managers? We have listed ten valuable and helpful practices and tips for team leaders.

1. Don’t jump in the deep end

If you are thinking about implementing pair programming, don’t start with a complete revolution in developers’ work. At the beginning, set a few hours aside to try out this method and see if it works for you. If it turns out to be working, make attempts to increase its scale gradually.

2. Set rules

Even before implementing pair programming, you should clearly define the rules you will follow and then present them to the whole team. It would be best if you defined, among other things:

  • How to organise the pairs?
  • How often will there be a switch between drivers and navigators?
  • How will the effects of this work be measured?
  • When to switch between the driver and the navigator?

3. Keep your employees’ well-being in mind

Pair programming is a method that some love and others hate. The second group mostly includes people who appreciate peace, quiet and working alone. They are most comfortable when they can learn from their own mistakes.

4. Analyse how to best pair your team members.

If you want pair programming to bring a lot of benefits to both the programmers and the company, you should carefully consider each pair’s composition. Consider which pair will complement each other, as well as who can learn the most from whom.

5. Change pair compositions

When two programmers work together for too long, there is a risk of conflicts between them. To avoid it, you should change pairs regularly. It helps maintain a good atmosphere and increases the exchange of knowledge and skills between employees.

6. Plan pair programming before the sprint starts

The best way to effectively organise pair programming is to carefully plan both staff compositions and responsibilities when planning a new sprint. After analysing the status of individual tasks, it is the best time to determine who will work with whom, what the pairs should do, as well as who will be the driver and who will be the navigator, and how long will it last.

8. Consider when you really need pair programming

Pair programming is an excellent and effective method, but it is usually used in specific cases, e.g. when one:

  • wants to make an introduction for a new employee;
  • recruits new people and wants to verify their skills;
  • is working on a complex task, where the knowledge of two developers with different and complementary skill sets will be useful.

9. Do you work remotely? Implement pair programming online

Pair programming doesn’t have to involve two developers physically being in front of the same computer. Nowadays, online pair programming is becoming more and more popular. All you need for this is a simple tool such as:

10. Gather team feedback regularly

Something that seemed like a good idea a few months ago doesn’t mean it’s still the best solution. Therefore, regularly collect feedback from team members on how they find working in pairs. Common discussions and conclusions allow you to find the best solutions tailored to the company’s current needs and employees’ preferences.

To sum up

Pair programming is a method that certainly works well in many teams and IT projects. However, for it to be fully effective and bring the most benefits, it should be well planned and discussed with the whole team. We hope that our tips were helpful to you. Good luck!

IT company providing technology solutions for Publishing, E-commerce & Financial industries, but not limiting itself just to them. https://websensa.com

IT company providing technology solutions for Publishing, E-commerce & Financial industries, but not limiting itself just to them. https://websensa.com