Paired Programming and death to cube farms!

Phillipe on the AgileArticles group posted about a white paper from the Menlo Institute on Paired Programming. It is a great read and provides a pretty compelling argument for giving paired programming (usually the XP principle that gets the most resistance) a try at your organization.  I especially liked that it discusses who to pair and answers many of the usual questions that debunkers ask.  If you are trying to win over your management team,  this paper may give you the ammunition you need! :-)

Be sure to download the PDF since it has one or two pictures which actually show the work environment.  The first thing you will notice is the lack of cubes.  I have only worked in cubes since arriving in the US in 2000 and I am not a fan ...

  • False sense of privacy (everyone *can* hear your phone conversation anyway)
  • Takes away casual interactions with artificial barriers
  • Makes it difficult to have a sense of teamwork when everyone goes back to their separate cells
  • One size fits all approach to corporate workers

Does anyone know where the concept of cubes came from?  Was it some radical study done in the 60's? ;-)

I think a large open area of people doing the same type of work (essential to avoid noise) that can then be grouped together in teams and have more casual interactions is much better.  One consultancy I worked at in the UK had 40+ developers in one big open room with long bench style desks - it worked great and was really quiet!


  • Give me a room with a door any day. Both cubes and open environments do not seem, to me, to be convenient for development. I work at a client site in what is called the Goldfish Bowl (glass walled cube area for 4-6 people) and I have a boom box with headphones so I can actually get some work done from time to time...

  • I'm with you on hating cubes. I've only worked in cubes in my current position. I had an office in every other position.'s a power trip too. As you go up in management, you get a taller cubicle, then an actual office, then an office next to the fancy-decorated open area known as the atrium. It's say the least.

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