Most people’s idea of working from home is working alone, and I am regularly asked how I put up with what for me would be a miserable existence. I prefer to spend my time with at least one other person, unless like now, my pursuit is purely creative. For me pairing is the perfect way to work from home and I’m prone to declaring it’s the only way to work, although I appreciate it’s not. It is however effective if done well, which it isn’t always.
Even in the best relationships we need some time alone. When pairing everyone needs time for reflection, experimentation and some peace and quiet. It’s best not to be too dogmatic about always pairing, think beyond productivity.
In relationships you get to choose your partner, in pair programming you don’t. The saving grace is this relationship is only about software and a good team should have some agreed principles that we can all code and test to. Having principles in common is a vital prerequisite.
In relationships promiscuity isn’t such a good idea but when pairing it’s enlightening. Pairing promiscuously is disruptive. Disruptive behaviour is a precursor to a revolution. We need revolutions in our code whatever form it might take. But revolutions can be bloody and we fear them, so promiscuous pairing rarely happens.
Pairing whilst working from home combines the benefit of a good work/life balance with interactions that are so vital to good development.