Pair programming rooms can come in all shapes and sizes, from dimly lit backrooms to bright and airy conference rooms with wall-to-wall windows. However, all pair programming rooms should include several important features to help everyone get the most out of their experience while working together. In this blog post, we’ll look at the five most important features every pair programming room should have in order to maximize productivity and encourage collaboration and creativity in teams of programmers looking to do some great work together.
Sometimes, room layout can get in your way of being productive while you work. This is especially true for programmers who need to concentrate on their work. You’ll want to avoid rooms with excessive distractions, including music and other people working near you. Instead, you should set up shop in a private office or quiet room where nobody will bother you. Blocked off rooms are excellent for pair programming since it keeps your focus on each task at hand. If you end up pairing with someone who tends to chit-chat during development, they won’t be able to distract you while you code. Chances are you’ll find yourself more focused when working out of blocked-off offices.
Working by natural light helps create a better work-life balance. Spending all day inside of an office can make you feel like you’re working constantly—leaving less time for socializing and exercise. Studies show that having access to natural light helps improve focus, mood, and productivity; why would you not want to take advantage of it? Additionally, keep in mind that sitting too close to your monitor could be detrimental to your health; opt for moving your chair farther away from your desk at least once an hour.
A whiteboard wall is a must in any pair programming room. Whiteboards are always available when you need them and there’s no need to rearrange your furniture if you don’t have space in your office. As with every piece of equipment in a pair programming space, choose a whiteboard that’s big enough to work on with another programmer—anything smaller than six feet by three feet is just asking for trouble. If possible, get one or more dry-erase electronic writing pads that will let multiple people simultaneously edit their own copy of what someone has already written on a board.
The best pair programming rooms should be set up with lots of desks, allowing pairs to easily form and disband. This is because pair programming works best when programmers switch off often—and having a large number of desks ensures that people who want to switch partners can do so quickly. Also, by keeping a large number of desks free at all times, you prevent pairs from getting attached to each other and makes it easier for anyone in your office to start working on a project together. A lot of natural conversation also happens between pairs sitting at adjacent tables.
A large-screen projector or monitor is a must for any pair programming session. It allows all team members to see what’s happening on each others' screens, facilitating better communication. Any projector will do, but you might want to keep in mind size of your office and distance from your work station. You may also want to consider things like audio output, where you'll be storing your laptop, and whether or not you need additional peripherals. (Projectors typically don't come with built-in microphones.)
We hope you enjoyed our article about the best pair programming room, setup and material. With this knowledge, we know you can make the most of your company's pair programming time and collaborate with ease during your next pair programming session. So what are you waiting for?