Collaboration in Pair Programming: driving and switching

Plonka, Laura; Segal, Judith; Sharp, Helen and van der Linden, Janet (2011). Collaboration in Pair Programming: driving and switching. In: XP 2011 : 12th International Conference on Agile Software Development, 10-13 May 2011.




This paper reports on an empirical study about the mechanisms of the collaboration of drivers and navigators in Pair Programming (PP) sessions. Based on video recordings of professional software developers, we analysed the mechanisms of role switches and how developers split the task of driving. We found that developers do not evenly contribute to the task of driving and that they spend on average a third of the session without any computer interaction focusing mainly on communication. In addition, our results show that most pairs switch roles frequently and that the frequency and fuidity of switches indicate a high level of engagement on the part of both developers.

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