XPSD Meeting Minutes Jan9
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Referenced By: ArchivedMeetingNotes

The topic was "Pair Programming: Joshua Kerievsky's PairDraw? Game". The facilitator was John Arrizza. This is an interactive game described here:


It is a lot of fun and also does a great job of revealing the strengths and challenges of Pair Programming. It is an effective training session even if you've Pair Programmed before.


The PairDraw? meeting went very well thanks to some interesting and very insightful comments and discussions by the participants. There were 8 people plus the facilitator. Many thanks to all who showed up and for their strong participation!

The game itself is in 3 phases. In the first phase we drew the pictures solo and then in pairs, followed by a discussion of the differences between the two. In the second phase we switched partners and discuss the ramifications of doing so and what the long term effects of pairing would be. The third phase involves discussing the challenges of Pair Programming and possible solutions.

During the meeting the discussions in the first and second phase were lively and showed some of the great benefits of pairing. Some of the challenges were also uncovered. Unfortunately we ran out of time to try and brainstorm ideas on solutions to these challenges (phase3).

Some of what came out of the discussions:
As facilitator I'd like to make some additional comments. There was a difference between delivering this presentation for people all from one company and for people with diverse backgrounds, eg. at XPSD. When delivering to your company, it would pay to keep in mind that there is a pre-existing dynamic that will have a strong effect on people's participation and disussion. Also, your presence itself will have an effect since you also share a history and that adds to the rather complicated dynamic that exists.

I had thought of extending the time from 60 seconds to 90 seconds but luckily reverted back to 60 seconds for the XPSD session. 60 seconds causes a certain amount of time pressure and changes the dynamics of the pair drawing in very interesting ways.

There was a discussion about modifying the content of the PD and having people draw a more complicated thing than a human face. There is some merit in this idea because it would strengthen the analogy between PD session and PP in a live environment. However, the intent of the game is to elicit and uncover the human dynamics of pairing. I believe that adding any more requirements to the drawing session would complicate the session dramatically and cloud the pairing dynamics.

OTOH it may in fact be a valuable sequel to have a second game where additional requirements and constraints are added and perhaps additional time for the drawings. If the third phase (i.e. the brainstorming session) is done, it's results would mesh nicely with a second game. People would have a chance to practice or at least try out their solutions in a more realistic scenario.

John Arrizza