Pair Programming and Formula One

When I was working and developing software in F1, people from other departments of the Racing Team were surprised to see two software engineers working and coding together at the same PC.

The CTO used to mention the example of the Pit Stop where many engineers works together at the same car to refuel, switch tires, fix settings as fast and as perfectly as possible. Another example mentioned was the operating room where many surgeons work together to avoid mistakes and keep the surgery short.
Not to mention that a real surgical team visited the Racing Team to meet and see and learn which techniques were used by the team to cooperate, coordinate and synchronize without collisions/interferences during the pit stops.

In F1 I began with working on the software applications dedicated to the strategy of the race. My team was the first to explore Pair Programming. While the benefit were clear when the user story we where working on were very difficult, we felt that it was "too easy" do develop the other "normal" user stories in pair. So spontaneously we began to increase the speed faster and faster as much as the pair was able to catch mistakes, stay the course and keep the focus.

Recently I read this quote from the famous Italian F1 driver Mario Andretti that well summarize our mantra to pair programming:

If everything seems under control, you're not going fast enough, Mario Andretti

See also:
Scientific empirical evidences on pp effectiveness

Print | posted @ Thursday, September 23, 2010 11:41 PM

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