Is Pair Programming Like Junior High Sex?
Develop | Posted January 12, 2010

The nice folks at Agile Austin were kind enough to let me do a presentation at their January meeting about peer code review.  It's similar to the presentation I did last November at Agile Development Practices, with a few changes.

I have posted the slides:

Thanks to Lisa Wells, there is video instead of just audio!  I super-imposed the slides over the recording, so it's sort of like being there.  A few of the slides got munged a bit in the process, but they are mostly readable.  One note: the video cuts off during the Q & A at the end - Lisa has the one hour Flip.

You can view the video here or download it.

If you want to skip around, I've put together a table of contents:

Slide  Time  Topic
1 00:00 Alignment with Agile
35 18:43 Are the meetings necessary?
45 23:03 Code review without meetings
58 37:24 Efficient use of time
67 47:25 Social effects
78 55:15 Q & A

You might be wondering - what does this have to do with junior high school sex?

When I talk to software developers and the topic of pair programming is included, I always ask: "how many people here work in environments where at least 50% of the code is written in pairs?"  The response is always less than 10%.  Obie Fernandez, who I greatly respect, would not be surprised - he recently blogged about how pair programming is not for the masses.

And while I'm not an expert on pair programming, it seems to me that many more people talk about how great pair programming is than actually do pair programming. 

Which is why during my presentation I commented that pair programming reminds me of junior high school gym class: all the boys in the locker room were talking about how great sex is but not many of them were actually having sex.

One of the members of the audience had a great response to that - it's pretty amusing so I put an excerpt of the video on YouTube:


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