Pair Programming in Agile: How Does It Work

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Feb 21, 2023

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Many of us who are working in software development, might have heard of the term pair programming. Today let us know more about pair programming in agile and come across some of its benefits. Also, you will be able to increase your acumen in this domain and go for safe agile training with the best platform which we will mention in the end.

What is pair programming?

This is a kind of programming in which two people come together in an agile software development project and they work together on a single program. The person is the “driver” and he is the one who writes the code, the other person is called a “navigator” whose job is to navigate through this process  check each line of the code that is written by the driver. The navigator is the person who checks for errors in the program when the driver is writing that code on the screen. If there is a demand in the project, they can exchange their role from time to time. They work side by side in a collaborative matter with the same design code and test those user stories.

This is a great way to spot errors in the early stage when the code is written and gives a continuous inspection of the code, reducing the defects in the finished products. This helps in developing better practices in the team and having two people working on the same problem will help in coming to the solution in a faster and an accurate manner.

How does it work?

Let us see now how this work. In this type of pair programming in agile, there are two developers who are working on the same workstation, and they have one keyboard and one mouse. The roles and pairings can be self-assigned or assigned. During this technique, the four-eyes principle is used where two eyes going to review the code that is written by the driver in the situation. There could be a division of labour, but roles are defined; the driver writes the code and the navigator checks what is written.

The driver will write the code specifics in the program and the navigator will ensure the code quality, and work and also helps in giving directions to the driver. As two developers are coming together to discuss the techniques and challenges for the program, the code quality is going to be better, and this ensures a high-end product for the team. The roles can be rotated, and this will keep both members alert and give their best while writing the code. Furthermore, depending on the roles in the organization, senior and junior developers can work together on one code and this way can be used as a knowledge transfer process for the senior developer to impart their wisdom and code writing habits to develop an efficient code.

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What are the benefits of using agile pair programming?

There are some amazing benefits of incorporating this technique in the workplace:

Knowledge sharing

When two people are working together on a code, they will help each other and will give them a chance to share knowledge on the given technology and domain on the daily basis. This will prevent the accumulation of knowledge in one person. And when two people are coming together to solve a problem, the solution will be good. The different experiences and perspectives will help in coming up with the best solution from the considered alternatives. Also, if one person leaves or moves to another team or is busy, the built-in redundancy will remain in the project and the work will go on.

Better quality code

There are many times it is seen that the code is not written very well, or it fails in the end. But if it is being developed in a pair, there are very less chances of it failing. Not only it won’t fail, but the quality of the code will be enhanced as it is inspected with each and every line. When two people are working on it, they will discuss, evaluate and also include the trade-offs that will help in coming up with better code quality and solutions for the problem.

Collective code ownership

Using this technique, it is made sure that each line of code is seen by at least two developers, and this gives more consistency to the code. This gives the chance to the developers to make changes when there is a need. As two people have worked on it, this makes the code more consistent as opposed to it being written by a single developer.

Mutual learning and skill development

Everyone has something to learn and something to teach. This is the perfect platform when you are working in a team. You will be able to learn from each other and make sure that you are getting the knowledge from them and also able to help them whenever needed. This is an important aspect of this technique that the skill development happens simultaneously. The senior developers also have so many things that they can learn from the junior developers. This helps create a team that is ready to help each other and has knowledge.

Challenges associated

As beneficial as it is, certain challenges follow when agile pair programming is being implemented in the projects. Some of the challenges are:


Now that two people are working on the same project, it is believed that sometimes this reduces the efficiency by 50% as two developers should be working on two things and now one work is being completed by two people. Sometimes, the pair is not that efficient which reduces the overall efficiency, and the purpose of pair programming is not completed.

Equal engagement

Now people have to work in pairs, it is very much needed that the driver and the navigator both have to be equally engaged. But there is a high probability that one of them is participating more than the other and this will become a challenge for them to work coherently.

Social challenge

Another issue with agile pair programming is that there are some developers who can give their best work while working alone. So sometimes pairing can be inefficient for the developers who are not able to deliver their best in this situation.

What are the best practices?

So, to overcome these challenges for agile pair programming, there are certain best practices that can take the best out of this programming technique. Below mentioned are some of the techniques you can adopt while working in pair programming projects.

Knowing when and whom to pair

One of the best practices is to know when the pairing is needed in an agile project. This will ensure that resources are being utilized in a fruitful way and also the code is getting developed in a quality manner. So, knowing when and whom to pair with becomes pivotal. The perfect pair of driver and navigator will produce such results that will be helpful for the whole team.

Clear communication

Communication is the key in all projects so when the developers are working together, communication should be clear, and the agenda should be set before. This will ensure utilization of the time is being adapted and everyone is on the same page.

Speak up

This is also somewhat part of communication. One should be able to speak up when there is an issue. It could be while writing the code or pairing or while testing or in other ways. This will help in tackling the situation at the right time and give the best results for the project.

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Final words

Agile methodology has various techniques, and they are developing and emerging over time. It is best to keep up with them, and the best way is to get certified with safe training. This will make you industry ready and also help you to find better career opportunities as most of the companies are now looking for certified professionals for their projects.

Pair programming has various benefits in agile projects as it helps in getting the best out of the developers and the code quality is also enhanced. Although comes with some challenges, the end goal is much more successful. So, if you are looking to know more about these upcoming techniques, then having a safe certification will help you. As there are many platforms online, choosing one is hard. But with StarAgile, you will get the best instructors who will be there for all your doubts and give practical knowledge which you can use when you are working in an organization. So, choose StarAgile and give your career some wings.

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