I can agree more.  Now matter how long someone's been around, there are
times you run into something new, something complicated or something totally
convoluted.  Many times it can be much more efficient for two people who
complement each other to look at a problem and "bounce" things off of each
other. They will usually come up with the resulting solution - much faster,
and in many cases one that is better than either could have come up with
alone.  Two individuals usually look at things from a slightly different
angle.  This allows one to see things right away that the other doesn't.  I
think this is especially true when a project "goes where no programmer has
gone before."

Obviously, this is most effective when two people have worked together over
time and have a mutual respect for each other, and know how to get the most
advantage out of each other's strengths.  (Not unlike your example.)  I have
worked for 15 years with one of my colleagues, and from time to time we have
worked together on the same project.  In most of those cases, it was when
the project covered new territory.  A few times one of us started the work,
but got nowhere fast, until we got together and started bouncing ideas back
and forth.  People sometimes say that certain individuals "feed off of each
other."  I think in some cases this is true.  Each one of us seems to be
able to build on the last idea of the other.  It's like doing a big puzzle
and being stuck, until someone grabs the piece that fell on the floor and
puts it in, then all of a sudden things really get moving.  On many projects
one of us would have much better ideas about how to present certian thing to
the user, or how to handle authority issues, or communication issues, etc.

One person can't always see everything.  Can't see all the angles, all the
problems, all the solutions, etc.  IMHO (based on 20+ years exp.), two
people who work well together are more efficient than one, and usually come
up with superior results in less time overall, than either would working

It may be all it's worth, but that's my $.02.

Jim Whalen

----Original Message Follows----
From: "jt" <jt@ee.net>
Reply-To: midrange-l@midrange.com
To: <midrange-l@midrange.com>
Subject: RE: "One person per product"
Date: Fri, 7 Dec 2001 09:49:22 -0500

I agree with most, but not all...

I don't necessarily agree with the one-man approach however.


Are there any shops out there that have more experienced and less
experienced personnel...?  Are there any (other than 1-man shops) that


I was more technical than he was, so the pairing worked real well.  I
acknowledged his superior knowledge of the business and the systems, and he
benefitted by my 38 expertise.  As long as you can find a mutual benefit,
paired programming will work well...


There are two basic approaches to paired-programming.  The first one I
described is nothing more than an extension of the master/apprentice
relationship.  Which has been used, successfully, for centuries...


The second is a case where two people are masters, and whose knowledge
compliments one another.


I posted recently that I'm willing to learn from anyone who knows
something I don't.  And that includes everyone on the planet, in some
respect or another.


Anyone who takes that POV can work in a paired-programmer team.


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