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Does pair programming decrease individual's sense of responsibility or motivation?

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Do you think pair programming decreases individual's sense of responsibility or motivation?
One purpose of pair programming is to minimize the damage of losing someone who is the only one with some specific knowledge by sharing knowledge in the team.
If you see it the other way, however, it does not matter even if a member leaves the team and she might feel as if she had not played important role.
I think there are certain number of people who want to feel that they are indispensable to the team.

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I have been working with pair programming for about 3 years now. In my opinion, it is not the case that it decreases sense of responsibility or motivation, but I do agree that there are some challenges associated to it. Additionally, some people simply dislike working in pairs.

Pair programming is great for knowledge sharing, as you pointed out yourself, and tackling more complex issues. If done properly, both members will contribute, voice their opinions and have a chance to code. Because of that, despite having the work shared, I believe the sense of accomplishment and motivation is still there (or at least it is for myself).

However, it is important to avoid some scenarios. For instance, if you have a senior developer who has extensive knowledge of the application, he should give space for junior devs to also contribute and drive in the pair. If the senior dev simply drives all the time and doesn't communicate what is going on, then certainly the pairing experience is going to be poor for the junior developer.

It should also be used to avoid having "specialists". For example, if the team knows someone is really good with frontend, there is sometimes the tendency to let that person drive whenever working in frontend activity. Even if the other person in the pair knows a little less about frontend, he/she should drive as much as the other one.

If both devs feel like they can voice their opinions and influence the implementations, I believe there is no impact in motivation.


I totally agree with you. As long as the voice of each member, no matter how experienced or inexperienced he/she is, is respected, he/she keeps motivated and will feel sense of achievement when leaving the team.

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