Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Want me to pair-program? Go F# yourself.

Gentle reader,

As a "modern" software developer I live in fear of being asked to pair-program. Pair programming as the name suggests is software development done by two people. One person types, the other hovers close by and "makes helpful suggestions".

The benefits of this technique are supposedly better focus, time management and a reduction in the number of silly errors that are often made while programming solo. While I do not deny that it might work for some, pair programming will absolutely not work for me.

See, the trouble is, I am an incurable introvert (see this article on caring for your introvert for more info). I am OK with talking to someone for a while, but eventually (after a few minutes, even, depending on the person) I just need to be left alone. I find most people mentally draining. As Sartes famously said, "hell is other people". I desperately need some time to recharge. This need isn't something I have any control over. The bottom line is that if I had to work in close quarters with someone else *all day long* I fear I would go mad.

I should point out that I have been employed in the IT world for many years. It's a good place to be for us introverts. I write software that is currently used by many people and love it (mostly). But I simply couldn't pair-program for any length of time. I am sure there are others out there like me. Imposing an agile type of methodology that involves pair-programming on introverted people like myself is cruel and unusual punishment. And here's the rub: your project will suffer if you try to force it upon us (passive aggressive, anyone?)

Speaking for myself, if you want to get something done, let me know what you need. Then kindly leave me alone for as long as possible. If I need more information, I'll stop by your cube. Well, maybe I'll just shoot you an email instead ;-)

Time for today's quote:

Revolutions come from standing on the shoulders of giants and facing in a better direction.
-Alan Kay

Until the next time, gentle reader, I remain,

Your friend,

Buford Twain

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