I came across a post explaining why you should stop demanding pair programming. Alex Pukinskis’s argument is that selling pair programming really doesn’t work.
This is a difficult transition, and so you can’t force people to pair, any more than you can force them to wear a tie to work. Demanding pairing just doesn’t tend to work well.
This dovetails with my present experiences trying to implement TDD with my developers. I just can’t get them to write the tests first, and I can barely get them to write the tests at all. So hopefully his suggested solution will be the answer for me:
- Stop trying to force them to pair
- Stop expecting 100% pairing
- Set up your space to make it easy to pair
- Create a ‘lab’ with pairing workstations that are more desirable than individual workstations
That sounds pretty close to what I’ve tried. I’ve implemented the following:
- Running a TDD day long class.
- Lining up smaller sessions to teach about mock objects, testing databases, JSF, etc.
- Volunteering to pair with any developer having trouble writing tests.
- Implementing code reviews with one of the mandatory requirements being that the reviewed code has unit tests.
- Explained that part of this years evaluation will be on how well they adopt unit testing.
- Requiring an automated build with cruisecontrol that includes a test target and a clover task that reports the unit testing coverage percent.
- When I implement weekly one-on-ones one of the questions each time will be, “So how many tests did you write this week?”
None of these approaches have paid off just yet. I’m hoping it’s just going to be a longer process or maybe after all of our new technology adoption dies down that the TDD adoption will ramp up.