Coding Horror: Who’s your buddy?

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Jeff Atwood over at Coding Horror ran an article back in March on pair programming that was in the same vein as the entry I wrote last month, Impressing your friends as a motivator for exellence.  For all you non-coders out there, pair programming is a software engineering practice where, as the name implies, you work in tandem with another person on a project so you can constantly check each other.   You have someone else to run things past before a broader audience sees it and, by extension, impressing that person becomes part of your mindset when creating output.

It’s always better with two, isn’t it?  Hewlett and Packard.  Gates and Allen.  Jobs and Wozniak.  Brin and Page.  Disney and Iwerks.  The list goes on and demonstrates that working in pairs can be extremely constructive.

As Jeff says in his article:

Remember those school trips, where everyone was admonished to pick a buddy and stick with them? This was as much to keep everyone out of trouble as safe. Well, the same rule applies when you’re building software. Before you check code in, give it a quick once-over with your buddy. Can you explain it? Does it make sense? Is there anything you forgot?

This same thing is try no matter what you might be doing, not just when developing software.  When you are putting together whatever your deliverable is, ask yourself whether or not it is going to impress whoever your buddy is.  Make your standard not just satisfying yourself but getting the seal of approval from others as well.  And don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from that buddy too (remembering what feedback is and what it isn’t) so you can catch mistakes and make your work product better.

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