• Presenters: Vera Peeters & Willem van den Ende
  • Type: Simulation
  • Duration: 120 minutes
  • Audience: developers, managers, coaches, teachers, drawing talents are not required!


The participants will experience how a pair programming team works.

Working in a single pair is different from working on your own: You have to articulate what you want to do, the other person (probably) has some different insights, and the result will be different from what you would have done on your own.

But.. this is only half of the story: working in a Pair Programming Team has many more advantages: knowledge is spread, the team creates an own style, parallel development becomes easy, truck factor is reduced. The team creates the product (instead of individual programmers creating the parts), the product is a whole, not a mixture of individual results. You will learn about the necessity of agile tools like daily standup meetings, pair rotation, coding standards and collective code ownership, how they work, and what their effects are. You will experience improvements for the quality of you product, and for the productivity of the team.

How is it possible to gain "real-life-experience" without programming? In this simulation, we want to focus on some of the practices, and we make abstraction of everything that is not crucial. Programming is not crucial, being part of the team, that is what matters. The intention is that everybody can experience how it feels to be part of a Pair Programming team, we don't want to exclude people who don't know how to program.

In this simulation, you will get an assignment to visualize a given story. When you start the implementation, you only have a rough idea about the story content and plot. You will not get all the thiny details up front, you will find out the exact requirements while you proceed with your tasks. And they will change... You will have to change the details! But you are not doing this on your own, when you want to succeed, you have to surrender to the emerging "team spirit". You will see how the team can become an entity, how the whole is more than the parts, how individual decisions always contribute to the team's awareness of the product.

This session is not about how to work well with the person next to you, it is about how it feels to be assimilated in a real team (resistance is futile!).

Benefits of attending

Real life experience, but no programming involved!

See and feel how this can possibly work without putting your real project at risk!

What will the organisers learn

The organisers expect to learn more about the dynamics of a PPT, by running and coaching the simulation teams.

Session Outline

  • 0:00-0:05: explain about pair progamming
  • 0:05-0:10: Pair Draw exercise
  • 0:10-0:15: explain about pair programming teams
  • 0:15-0:20: project definition
  • 0:20-0:25: team develops a vision
  • 0:25-0:40: day 1
  • 0:40-0:45: reflection and coaching
  • 0:45-1:00: day 2
  • 1:00-1:05: reflection and coaching
  • 1:05-1:20: day 3
  • 1:20-1:30: reflection
  • 1:30-1:40: day 4
  • 1:40-2:00: final reflection
After 3 "days", the team will have developed an identifyable "team spirit", an entity that is more and different from its parts, and the team will have created a product.

latest news

The conference is underway. Watch this space for more news and pictures of the sessions.

important dates

Notification of session acceptance
Beginning of September 2005
Early registration deadline
October 15th
Registration deadline
November 14th
XP Day Benelux Conference
November 17th & 18th 2005

more information


Marc Evers, Piecemeal Growth