If you work at a startup and have ever seen two engineers cozied up next to each other on a beanbag chair intently gazing into the same computer screen, you’ve probably got some pair programmers on your hands. Soon, like a couple who has soured on each other’s affection, they will quibble over the tiniest infractions and eat dinner sullenly, with nothing more to say to each other.
The concept of pair programming–two engineers sharing a computer and working on the same code together–is nothing new, but The Wall Street Journal has discovered the phenomenon and seems simultaneously shocked and awed by how it works.
If the ideal for pairing is soulmate-level bonding, the reality can be more like an endless bad blind date. Annoyances that plague partners everywhere can quickly pile up: from poor personal hygiene and table manners, to feet on shared desks and loud chewing.
At the core of pair programming is a commitment for teamwork, and there’s no “bad breath” in “team.”
Still, pair programmers can experience a sort of symbiotic bond. ”The communication becomes so deep that you don’t even use words anymore,” one Facebook programmer told the Journal. ”You just grunt and point.”
Hmm, sounds more like a pair of old marrieds to us.