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Pair Programming Article...oh boy!

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  • Hathaway, Robert
    http://www.regdeveloper.co.uk/2007/01/31/perils_pair_programming/ Feel free to post comments to the articles author (not me and no association to me). For me
    Message 1 of 16 , Jan 31, 2007
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      http://www.regdeveloper.co.uk/2007/01/31/perils_pair_programming/



      Feel free to post comments to the articles author (not me and no
      association to me). For me there was lots to disagree with in the
      article. My own experiences with coaching teams have always been very
      successful in this regard...but that's just me ;-)


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    • andrew.p.mcdonagh@gsk.com
      I love the bottom line.... ..Matt Stephens is the author of: Extreme Programming Refactored, which objectively throws XP into a pit of rabid hamsters; Agile
      Message 2 of 16 , Jan 31, 2007
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        I love the bottom line....

        "..Matt Stephens is the author of: Extreme Programming Refactored, which
        objectively throws XP into a pit of rabid hamsters; Agile Development with
        ICONIX Process; and Use Case Driven Object Modelling with UML..."

        Hmm very objective :)




        "Hathaway, Robert" <robert.hathaway@...>
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        31-Jan-2007 11:31
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        Subject
        [XP] Pair Programming Article...oh boy!






        http://www.regdeveloper.co.uk/2007/01/31/perils_pair_programming/

        Feel free to post comments to the articles author (not me and no
        association to me). For me there was lots to disagree with in the
        article. My own experiences with coaching teams have always been very
        successful in this regard...but that's just me ;-)

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      • William Tozier
        ... The content and tone of the article reminds me of a great deal of blogging on Xanga or MySpace. It reveals a lot more psychological and sociological
        Message 3 of 16 , Jan 31, 2007
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          On Jan 31, 2007, at 6:31 AM, Hathaway, Robert wrote:

          > http://www.regdeveloper.co.uk/2007/01/31/perils_pair_programming/
          >
          > Feel free to post comments to the articles author (not me and no
          > association to me). For me there was lots to disagree with in the
          > article. My own experiences with coaching teams have always been very
          > successful in this regard...but that's just me ;-)
          The content and tone of the article reminds me of a great deal of
          blogging on Xanga or MySpace. It reveals a lot more psychological and
          sociological insight about the author and his imagined audience than
          I think he intended. In some sense, I find it a very interesting
          cultural artifact....

          The one useful insight I can glean, beyond "never, ever hire this guy
          or his buddies":

          I wonder if I'm hearing an assumption that *projects are only for
          making products*. The customer only benefits from being given what
          they ask for; the team is hired on the basis of the speed and
          accuracy with which they do so; and the developers are expected to
          develop *themselves* only on their own time. In other words: learning
          is not business value. The customer shouldn't be bothered to learn
          (participate); the developers shouldn't slow down to learn.

          Now that's the assumption. Typically a really stupid fallacy, of
          course, but a philosophically interesting one. In a way, it implies
          that learning behavior shouldn't happen because it's not adding value
          to the *project*, but to the *team*.

          Call it "stealing" value from the customer.

          In applying it to the XP process, it shows a deep lack of
          understanding. Not just of XP, but also of project work, management,
          and frankly even programming.

          [extra wordy thinking-out-loud follows]
          XP hinges on breaking problems into linearly decomposable chunks. I
          realize that while this rocks as a practice/value, it's also a myth
          of sorts. We break projects down into linearly decomposable tiny bits
          of business value, but we simultaneously shunt all the linking
          nonlinearity and complexity into the social structure and dynamics of
          the team.

          That's why pairing, shared ownership, test coverage, and all the rest
          is crucial: it's that collective learning system that allows the
          decomposition of goals into stories to occur. It allows incremental
          development of continuous customer value, by hiding the wiring inside
          people's heads, the code and test base, and the ongoing
          conversations. Makes it sustainable, makes it do all that other fun
          stuff.

          I'm willing to agree with the author that, "Not everyone is naturally
          extroverted or a social butterfly that will wither away if he doesn't
          get to chatter to his colleagues for eight hours a day."

          But see... *that's* the person stealing value. That's the person
          inhibiting progress of an XP team; they hide the nonlinearity,
          sequester it in their own self-centered uncommunicative heads. And
          thus they threaten the project's success.

          They're *off the team*, either explicitly, or tacitly.
          -----
          Bill Tozier
          AIM: vaguery@...
          blog: http://williamtozier.com/slurry
          plazes: http://beta.plazes.com/user/BillTozier
          skype: vaguery

          "Nature, however picturesque, never yet made a poet of a dullard."
          --Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen
        • Marco Bizzarri
          ... Two points: 1) PPI explicity states that you can have people who are not good at PP, to the point that you will have to design your development facilities
          Message 4 of 16 , Jan 31, 2007
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            On 1/31/07, Hathaway, Robert <robert.hathaway@...> wrote:
            >

            > http://www.regdeveloper.co.uk/2007/01/31/perils_pair_programming/
            >
            > Feel free to post comments to the articles author (not me and no
            > association to me). For me there was lots to disagree with in the
            > article. My own experiences with coaching teams have always been very
            > successful in this regard...but that's just me ;-)

            Two points:

            1) PPI explicity states that you can have people who are not good at
            PP, to the point that you will have to design your development
            facilities to accodate them (for example, providing screen from noises
            from pairs);

            2) the authors of PPI do not measure the experience of programmers in
            terms of years, as the author of the article implies; they measure it
            in terms of actual experience on the project they are working on; so,
            you can be an expert in terms of database programming, and a novice in
            terms of GUI programming;

            I don't know the author, but that's my fault. However, it is clear
            that either he did not read PPI (Pair Programming Illustrated), or he
            did not understand it.

            Regards
            Marco
            http://notenotturne.blogspot.com/
            http://iliveinpisa.blogspot.com/
          • banshee858
            ... It is Matt Stephens...he does not even deserve a reply. Carlton
            Message 5 of 16 , Jan 31, 2007
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              >
              > Feel free to post comments to the articles author (not me and no
              > association to me). For me there was lots to disagree with in the
              > article. My own experiences with coaching teams have always been very
              > successful in this regard...but that's just me ;-)
              >
              It is Matt Stephens...he does not even deserve a reply.

              Carlton
            • Alex Pukinskis
              Sounds like a bunch of theorizing from a guy who has never tried pair programming. -Alex On 01 31 2007 4:31 AM, Hathaway, Robert
              Message 6 of 16 , Jan 31, 2007
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                Sounds like a bunch of theorizing from a guy who has never tried pair
                programming.

                -Alex


                On 01 31 2007 4:31 AM, "Hathaway, Robert"
                <robert.hathaway@...> wrote:

                > http://www.regdeveloper.co.uk/2007/01/31/perils_pair_programming/
                >
                >
                >
                > Feel free to post comments to the articles author (not me and no
                > association to me). For me there was lots to disagree with in the
                > article. My own experiences with coaching teams have always been very
                > successful in this regard...but that's just me ;-)
                >
                >
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              • Marco Bizzarri
                Can someone point me to some of his essays? Regards Marco -- Marco Bizzarri http://iliveinpisa.blogspot.com/ [Non-text portions of this message have been
                Message 7 of 16 , Jan 31, 2007
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                  Can someone point me to some of his essays?

                  Regards
                  Marco


                  --
                  Marco Bizzarri
                  http://iliveinpisa.blogspot.com/


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Dave Rooney
                  http://www.softwarereality.com/ Dave Rooney Industrial XP Coach I n d u s t r i a l L o g i c , I n c . http://industriallogic.com http://industrialxp.org
                  Message 8 of 16 , Jan 31, 2007
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                    http://www.softwarereality.com/

                    Dave Rooney
                    Industrial XP Coach
                    I n d u s t r i a l L o g i c , I n c .
                    http://industriallogic.com
                    http://industrialxp.org



                    Marco Bizzarri wrote:
                    > Can someone point me to some of his essays?
                    >
                    > Regards
                    > arco
                    >
                    >
                  • Phlip
                    ... As an engineering discipline grows, each transition brings out professional detraction like that. Try this: Agile methods tend not to describe concrete,
                    Message 9 of 16 , Jan 31, 2007
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                      Dave Rooney wrote:

                      > http://www.softwarereality.com/

                      As an engineering discipline grows, each transition brings out "professional
                      detraction" like that. Try this: "Agile methods tend not to describe
                      concrete, tangible practices, but rather principles, attitudes, and so
                      forth."

                      Okay, besides the concrete, tangible practices of TDD, Frequent Releases,
                      Planning Game, Continuous Integration, Pair Programming, and Refactoring,
                      we're all fluff. Gotcha.

                      --
                      Phlip
                      http://www.greencheese.us/ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!!
                    • Ron Jeffries
                      Hello, Bill. You raise some interesting points in your posting to the pair programming perils thread, which I think merit more discussion than the original
                      Message 10 of 16 , Feb 2, 2007
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                        Hello, Bill. You raise some interesting points in your posting to
                        the pair programming perils thread, which I think merit more
                        discussion than the original article did. I'll snip some interesting
                        bits here and give this a new title.

                        On Wednesday, January 31, 2007, at 8:38:35 AM, you wrote:

                        > I wonder if I'm hearing an assumption that *projects are only for
                        > making products*. The customer only benefits from being given what
                        > they ask for; the team is hired on the basis of the speed and
                        > accuracy with which they do so; and the developers are expected to
                        > develop *themselves* only on their own time. In other words: learning
                        > is not business value. The customer shouldn't be bothered to learn
                        > (participate); the developers shouldn't slow down to learn.

                        > Now that's the assumption. Typically a really stupid fallacy, of
                        > course, but a philosophically interesting one. In a way, it implies
                        > that learning behavior shouldn't happen because it's not adding value
                        > to the *project*, but to the *team*.

                        > Call it "stealing" value from the customer.

                        > In applying it to the XP process, it shows a deep lack of
                        > understanding. Not just of XP, but also of project work,
                        > management, and frankly even programming.

                        One sub-thread here might be to tease out whether we should invest
                        differently in learning if we are part of the organization paying
                        for the software, rather than a contractor to that organization.

                        > [extra wordy thinking-out-loud follows]
                        > XP hinges on breaking problems into linearly decomposable chunks. I
                        > realize that while this rocks as a practice/value, it's also a myth
                        > of sorts. We break projects down into linearly decomposable tiny bits
                        > of business value, but we simultaneously shunt all the linking
                        > nonlinearity and complexity into the social structure and dynamics of
                        > the team.

                        > That's why pairing, shared ownership, test coverage, and all the rest
                        > is crucial: it's that collective learning system that allows the
                        > decomposition of goals into stories to occur. It allows incremental
                        > development of continuous customer value, by hiding the wiring inside
                        > people's heads, the code and test base, and the ongoing
                        > conversations. Makes it sustainable, makes it do all that other fun
                        > stuff.

                        I take you to be talking here about all the tacit understanding that
                        goes on in the creation of the team, who are creating the software.
                        One of the concerns one has when deciding whether to build or buy
                        some piece of software is that much of the learning will be done by
                        those who build it, and learning about the original company's own
                        needs, practices, and business rules is arguably an important
                        corporate asset that may be largely lost if we farm the project out.

                        For companies who do software for pay, I'd think that close customer
                        involvement could perhaps be "sold" as an advantage of the Agile way
                        of doing things, because the client company takes part in the
                        learning and takes it home as part of the asset, rather than just
                        taking home the software.

                        > I'm willing to agree with the author that, "Not everyone is naturally
                        > extroverted or a social butterfly that will wither away if he doesn't
                        > get to chatter to his colleagues for eight hours a day."

                        > But see... *that's* the person stealing value. That's the person
                        > inhibiting progress of an XP team; they hide the nonlinearity,
                        > sequester it in their own self-centered uncommunicative heads. And
                        > thus they threaten the project's success.

                        > They're *off the team*, either explicitly, or tacitly.

                        Yes. Breaking people apart reduces learning, reduces the corporate
                        asset that lies in its people and their knowledge. Agile processes
                        can greatly increase that asset, through the various forms of
                        teamwork and sharing that take place.

                        Interesting angle, Bill ... thanks!

                        Ron Jeffries
                        www.XProgramming.com
                        [S]oftware engineering ... "How to program if you cannot." -- Edsger Dijkstra
                      • Greg Akins
                        There is so much to discuss under this topic. I d just like to add that those concepts of teamwork which we as Agile practitioners struggle to bring out are
                        Message 11 of 16 , Feb 2, 2007
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                          There is so much to discuss under this topic.

                          I'd just like to add that those concepts of teamwork which we as Agile
                          practitioners struggle to bring out are fairly well recognized in
                          other fields.

                          As I started researching collaborative / cooperative learning - for my
                          Agile2007 presentation that I never put together ;-( - it became
                          clear that these ideas of teamwork, organization learning and
                          non-canonical practices are evident in many places outside Software
                          Engineering.

                          The fact that many in our industry still think that learning is
                          separate from doing highlights our own immaturity.

                          There is an excellent paper "Organization Learning and Communities of
                          Practice" by Brown, John & Duguid, Paul. 1991

                          From the paper (quoting Ryan Orr), "The work can only continue free of
                          disruption if the employer can be persuaded to see the community as
                          necessary to accomplishing work"

                          In context, Brown & Duguid are describing the inefficiency of trying
                          to canonical expertise, without recognizing the interruption of
                          non-canonical practices.

                          Since developers deal with "non-canonical" disruptions quite
                          frequently, it seems that those who expect to work without recognizing
                          in-situ learning will either not learn, or learn from established
                          canon without the benefit of team / community based learning (wherein
                          lies the possibility of innovation).

                          --
                          ==============
                          Greg Akins
                          http://www.pghcodingdojo.org
                          http://www.insomnia-consulting.org/monologue
                        • Susan Davis
                          ... I agree with the author that not everyone is an extrovert. *I m* an introvert, in fact. I disagree, though, with his unspoken assumption that extroverts
                          Message 12 of 16 , Feb 2, 2007
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                            --- William Tozier <bill@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > I'm willing to agree with the author that, "Not everyone is
                            > naturally extroverted or a social butterfly that will wither away
                            > if he doesn't get to chatter to his colleagues for eight hours a
                            > day."
                            >
                            > But see... *that's* the person stealing value. That's the person
                            > inhibiting progress of an XP team; they hide the nonlinearity,
                            > sequester it in their own self-centered uncommunicative heads. And
                            > thus they threaten the project's success.

                            I agree with the author that not everyone is an extrovert. *I'm* an
                            introvert, in fact. I disagree, though, with his unspoken assumption
                            that extroverts communicate and introverts are silent. I've paired
                            with plenty of introverts who I've really connected with... and a
                            number of extroverts who have steered conversations off in non-germane
                            directions, or who have clammed up or disconnected entirely and sat
                            there and fidgeted.

                            --
                            Susan Davis <sue@...>
                          • Phlip
                            ... I heard a rumor once that best pair situation was two introverts... -- Phlip http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?ZeekLand
                            Message 13 of 16 , Feb 2, 2007
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                              Susan Davis wrote:

                              > I agree with the author that not everyone is an extrovert. *I'm* an
                              > introvert, in fact. I disagree, though, with his unspoken assumption
                              > that extroverts communicate and introverts are silent. I've paired
                              > with plenty of introverts who I've really connected with... and a
                              > number of extroverts who have steered conversations off in non-germane
                              > directions, or who have clammed up or disconnected entirely and sat
                              > there and fidgeted.

                              I heard a rumor once that best pair situation was two introverts...

                              --
                              Phlip
                              http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!
                            • Jeff Langr
                              ... I m an introvert, yet also probably guilty of repeating this assumption in an unspoken manner. I ll happily attest to the fact that you don t have to be an
                              Message 14 of 16 , Feb 2, 2007
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                                Quoting Susan Davis <sue@...>:
                                > I agree with the author that not everyone is an extrovert. *I'm* an
                                > introvert, in fact. I disagree, though, with his unspoken assumption
                                > that extroverts communicate and introverts are silent. I've paired
                                > with plenty of introverts who I've really connected with... and a
                                > number of extroverts who have steered conversations off in non-germane
                                > directions, or who have clammed up or disconnected entirely and sat
                                > there and fidgeted.

                                I'm an introvert, yet also probably guilty of repeating this
                                assumption in an unspoken manner. I'll happily attest to the fact that
                                you don't have to be an extrovert in order to enjoy pairing or do it
                                well. Most people aren't as unmanageably extroverted as, say, a Mr
                                Stephens, and I'd have to say I haven't seen a lot of cases where an
                                extrovert has run roughshod over an introvert (it does happen).

                                I think the important thing is to recognize that some people need
                                coaching in order to learn how to pair properly. I'll agree with Mr
                                Stephens that mandating 100% pairing isn't a great idea, but his
                                suggestion that only "occasional" pairing works is rubbish.

                                Jeff
                                http://langrsoft.com
                                Agile Java: Crafting Code With Test-Driven Development
                              • William Tozier
                                ... One of the cardinal characteristics of many *talkative* introverts (like me) is that we are exhausted by engagement. Not that we don t like it, and not
                                Message 15 of 16 , Feb 2, 2007
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                                  On Feb 2, 2007, at 1:02 PM, Susan Davis wrote:

                                  > I agree with the author that not everyone is an extrovert. *I'm* an
                                  > introvert, in fact. I disagree, though, with his unspoken assumption
                                  > that extroverts communicate and introverts are silent. I've paired
                                  > with plenty of introverts who I've really connected with... and a
                                  > number of extroverts who have steered conversations off in non-germane
                                  > directions, or who have clammed up or disconnected entirely and sat
                                  > there and fidgeted.

                                  One of the cardinal characteristics of many *talkative* introverts
                                  (like me) is that we are exhausted by engagement. Not that we don't
                                  like it, and not that it doesn't energize and enhance us while we're
                                  in the middle of it. It's just tiring. I need about 1:1 downtime for
                                  each hour spent in conversation and talking, especially if it's
                                  conversational or work flow I'm recovering from.

                                  A good friend who seems to understand the psychodynamics better than
                                  I do once called extroverts "people who don't actually pay attention
                                  to what other people are doing in response."
                                  -----
                                  Bill Tozier
                                  AIM: vaguery@...
                                  blog: http://williamtozier.com/slurry
                                  plazes: http://beta.plazes.com/user/BillTozier
                                  skype: vaguery

                                  "Nature, however picturesque, never yet made a poet of a dullard."
                                  --Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen
                                • Gary Brown
                                  Quoting Jeff Langr : Hi, Jeff! ... Introvert?!? The folks here thought you were warm, friendly, and fun, not to mention a great teacher!
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Feb 2, 2007
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                                    Quoting Jeff Langr <jeff@...>:

                                    Hi, Jeff!

                                    > I'm an introvert,

                                    Introvert?!? The folks here thought you were warm, friendly, and fun,
                                    not to mention a great teacher!

                                    > Most people aren't as unmanageably extroverted as, say, a Mr Stephens,

                                    Most people aren't as selfish as, say, a Mr Stephens ...

                                    GB.
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