Thursday, March 26, 2009

XP West Michigan and EclipseCon 2009

Tyler Jennings, Jake Scruggs, and I went on a road trip to Grand Rapids, Michigan yesterday and gave two presentations at the XP West Michigan user group. Jake presented "What’s the right level of testing?", and Tyler and I presented "Pairing Parody". Atomic Object hosted us and gave us a tour around their office. They had a nice open environment for pair-programming and a street light that signals the state of project builds (red for failure, green for success, and yellow for build in progress). The experience was very hospitable overall thanks to Michael Swieton.

Today, I flew to the Silicon Valley area around San Jose, California to present at EclipseCon 2009 tomorrow. I will be giving a short talk about Glimmer and the current state of the project.

If you have any specific questions about the project, feel free to list them here in the comments, and I will try to cover them in the talk.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Agile 2009 Workshop: TDD Ping Pong Match!

By the way, Dave Hoover and I proposed a workshop for Agile 2009 titled: TDD Ping Pong Match!

It's a new and improved version of the same workshop conducted in Toronto last year at Agile 2008.


Attendees will be entered into a competition where they will pair-program on implementing small software application features following the TDD Ping Pong game rules. Each game will last for a few minutes, and the programmer with the least time driving (i.e. doing the simplest thing that works and coming up with the most tests) will be declared winner. This game is a great opportunity to learn TDD and Pair-Programming effectively and pragmatically. Winners will receive prizes, so sharpen your TDD Ping Pong skills and get ready for Andy and Dave’s challenge!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Agile 2009 Talk: Pairing Parody

I submitted a proposal for this talk with Tyler Jennings:

Comments are welcome.


Pair programming requires a certain level of social interaction (Yikes!!!) that quite a few developers are not accustomed to - even with their peers. Learning to work effectively with people of different personalities and skills (or even Jedi powers) can sometimes seem daunting compared to the typical habit of working alone in a dark corner. We’ve seen pairing work wonderfully, we’ve seen it be an abysmal failure that involved some shouting and storming away, and we’re going to bring our best-of moments to you in comedic fashion.

First we’ll cover the basics for anyone who isn’t familiar with the drama that often accompanies pair programming. Afterward, Andy and I will be acting out various skits, demonstrating both effective and dysfunctional pairing scenarios. Discussions (and laughter or cries of terror) are highly encouraged at the end of each skit.

Basic Patterns

* Be Verbose
* Questions Not Demands
* Pair Negotiation
* Ping Pong Programming
* 2 x 2 Pairing
* Independent Research / Spikes

Mentoring Patterns

* Let the student drive
* Let the student fail
* The third wheel
* Test Mentor


* The Prima Donna Programmer
* The Apathetic Programmer
* The Human Compiler
* Worshipping The Hero
* The Professional Driver

Learning outcomes

* Recognizing a dysfunctional pairing session
* Patterns for pairing effectively with various personality types and skill levels