Archive for August 2010

Peer Programming

For the past week or so, I’ve been over in Cambridge doing a some programming work for Aptivate (a not-for-profit IT development company). It’s been good to get back into doing some programming work after quite a long break – over the past couple of years I’d only really worked on a few personal projects. Quite surprised how much I’d forgotten, but more surprised how much I’d actually managed to remember.

At the moment I’ve been working on a survey application for health centres in Rwanda, to collect baseline information about the facilities and services they’re able to provide, with a view to better target resources and measure any improvements made.

What I have found interesting has been Aptivate’s use of peer programming and agile development methods. Rather than programming alone, pairs code together. At first you may think of this as being quite an inefficient way of working, especially given a limited number of programmers and many projects to work on. But actually, I’d argue the opposite is true. Whilst working alongside someone, there is far less temptation to get distracted by checking email or wandering off onto the internet.