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9 February 2012

Investigating Equity of Participation in Pair Programming

Location: Meeting Room 10, 2nd Floor, JLB
Time: 12:30pm - 13:45pm

Pair Programming (PP) is a software development practice where two programmers share a mouse and keyboard while working together on one computer. A concern among some practitioners is that PP might be a waste of resources if developers have a very low equity of participation, for example, when one developer is doing all the work and the other is not contributing at all. This paper investigates this concern by analysing the equity of participation in industrial pair programming sessions. It quantifies two different types of contributions: verbal contributions and driving contributions. As a result, we found that two thirds of the PP sessions are not equitable. Based on interviews with the developers, we analyse which factors influence the equity of participation. We found that the choice of the workstation, personal preferences, PP experience, work style and skill differences influence who is driving. Additionally, we discuss the implications of sessions that are not equitable and whether the concept of equity of participation could be used as metric to evaluate PP.

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Contact: mailto:h.c.sharp@open.ac.uk