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A field study of developer pairs: productivity impacts and implications

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4 Author(s)
Parrish, A. ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Alabama Univ., Huntsville, AL, USA ; Smith, R. ; Hale, D. ; Hale, J.

Pair programming purportedly delivers quality code with little productivity loss. The authors' field study, outside the pair programming environment, shows that two-person teams working independently are more productive than those working concurrently; agile methods may overcome inherent productivity losses of concurrent development. This research contrasts starkly with our field study findings. We decided to reexamine our earlier productivity data from teams of two and ask: Would our previous findings of concurrent-work productivity loss be reversed if we look only at programming pairs rather than teams of all sizes? If so, we could conclude that pairs are naturally more productive than larger teams, regardless of the collaborative process. If not, we could conclude that the collaboration mechanisms prescribed in pair programming might overcome a natural loss of productivity from concurrent work. We offer these findings and their implications as a benchmark against which we might measure the potential of pair programming practices.

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Software, IEEE  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 5 )