How Pair Coding and Swarming Increase Productivity

by Jacob Schweitzer

Software development is often seen as a solitary endeavour — a lone hacker typing furiously at their keyboard until they have that eureka moment. However, this is often far from the truth; software development is a team sport. Even when you are working in relative isolation, there are others helping you online with articles, videos, code snippets, and the very code you are building upon. In this article, we’ll go through some of the reasons why you should increase your productivity with pair coding — working towards a solution with one other person — and swarming — working towards a solution with multiple people.

Two heads are better than one

Team building

Rubber ducky

Coding standards formation

So, that’s the why — what about the how? This depends on your situation, but some things to consider are below:

When does pair coding not make sense?

How does one get started with pair coding?

How do we get sign off from stakeholders for doing pair coding?

Pair coding has helped me out of many situations where I was stuck and frustrated. I’ve also helped people get unstuck and seen how relieved they were when we were able to get to a point of making progress again. Sometimes we don’t find a solution, but most of the time pair coding is an effective way of collaborating, and has a lot of additional benefits which help the team function more efficiently. Each time you pair code with someone it seems to build goodwill which is passed around the team as a whole as you work with each other. Knowing you can count on your team gives you more confidence even when working solo, since you know help is just a message away.

Ready to give it a shot? If you do, let us know how it goes on Twitter — we’re always happy to lend a hand.

Originally published at on July 6, 2020.

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