Pair Programming: Doodling
Another interesting pair programming 'technique' which I rediscovered while pairing with Priyank is that of doodling or drawing various parts of the solution when your pair is writing code. I find that this helps to stop my brain wondering off and lets me reflect on what we’re doing from a higher level.
As an added bonus it also seems to allow me to listen more effectively to my pair.
From what I’ve noticed it works most effectively when the other person is reasonably comfortable with the code base and language which was certainly the case when I was pairing with Priyank.
I guess they also have to be reasonably comfortable with the idea that you’re still listening even though you’re not necessarily looking at everything that they type.
It doesn’t work quite as well in other situations where you’re playing more of a coaching role because you need to be more focused on the code that’s being written and provide help with respect to syntax, libraries or context on the code base.
I don’t remember noticing many other people doing this so though maybe this is just a solution for my ADHD.
About the author
I'm currently working on real-time user-facing analytics with Apache Pinot at StarTree. I publish short 5 minute videos showing how to solve data problems on YouTube @LearnDataWithMark. I previously worked on graph analytics at Neo4j, where I also I co-authored the O'Reilly Graph Algorithms Book with Amy Hodler.