Observations on Knowledge Transfer of Professional Software Developers during Pair Programming
ISSN der Zeitschrift
Gesellschaft für Informatik
This work was presented at the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering (2016). Context: Software development is knowledge-intense work, and so is pair programming. However, the importance of knowledge transfer in pair programming is usually only stressed for expert-novice constellations and not for general software development situations. Goal: Understand how pair programmers deal with their knowledge deficits and eventually provide guidance for practitioners. Method: Detailed qualitative data analysis of full-length recordings of industrial pair programming sessions. Results: Expert software developers need to transfer knowledge, too, in order to conduct productive pair programming sessions. There is a diversity of beneficial and potentially problematic patterns, which even good pairs do not steadily apply or avoid, respectively. Conclusions: Pair programming is a versatile practice that even experts can profit from. Knowledge transfer skills do not automatically emerge from good software development skills, but can probably be learned.