SPA Conference session: Killing me softly - with this pair

One-line description:Getting rid of your pair in style
Session format: Performative Programming [read about the different session types]

Pair-programming is one of the key practices in eXtreme Programming. While worshipped by some and booed by others, nice, sensible, politically-correct folks (that is, everyone in this field) will qualify Pair-Programming as "something useful, but not always."

During this session, we will focus on these less happy moments – the “not-always” – where the coder would rather not pair-program, while by the most extraordinary coincidence s/he has been assigned the company of a teammate, forcing her/him to share both work- and thinkspace.


By the means of a totally anti-educational playlet, we hope to act as droll-models and show how to effectively kill any virtuous dynamics that might spur from practicing Pair-Programming. And, by doing so, to help those in desperate need to claim back their peace and loneliness.


* To promote Performative Programming as a format
* To celebrate the act of programming
* To do something not-so-usual in a conference, to shake things up a bit
Audience background:Prior experience of failed pair-programming session may help. Some sense of humor, too.
Benefits of participating:* To understand why pair-programming sessions sometimes become truly excruciating moments
* To learn how to get rid of one's team mates, without having to tell them to frock off
* To learn how to drive one's agile coach nuts, without getting noticed
* To imagine, guessing by elimination, how to improve one's own pair-programming sessions
Materials provided:A pointer to the script in its up-to-date version (currently:
Process:This session is a playlet, in which actors program. This is meant for the audience to be a cathartic experience of watching coders behaving inappropriately - without having to do it themselves.
Detailed timetable:t0: start
t0 + 30 minutes: bow

… then a 10 minute-long Q&R session
Outputs:None. We don't feel responsible for what people will make out of this session.
History:This session has been presented at Agile France 2012, Agile Grenoble 2012 (in French) and XP-Days Benelux 2012 (in English). It will be presented at Joy of Coding 2013.
1. Emmanuel Gaillot
2. Jonathan Perret