Date of Award

Spring 2004

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Information Systems - (Ph.D.)

Department

Information Systems

First Advisor

Fadi P. Deek

Second Advisor

Il Im

Third Advisor

Murray Turoff

Fourth Advisor

Bartel Albrecht Van de Walle

Fifth Advisor

Michael G. Hinchey

Abstract

The exploration into the underlying psychosocial links of pair programming. a new and unorthodox programming paradigm in which two programmers share one keyboard and monitor during real-time programming sessions, is undertaken. These complex psychosocial relationships, along with cognitive process exchanges, ultimately mold the programming output as well as determine the level of communication, satisfaction. confidence and compatibility. Laying the framework for this research, a through review of traditional and contemporary paradigms with a special focus on their limitations and a list of current software development problems are presented. Next, a detailed summary of pair programming and related agile software paradigms, such as extreme programming, which lists pair programming as one of its twelve principles, is given. From earlier pair programming studies, a number of programming benefits have been unveiled and these are listed and discussed. However, a lack of formal studies pertaining to the psychosocial aspects of pair programming exists. Given this void, a field survey is administered to a group of professional programmers and a resulting list of influencing factors on pair programming emerges. From the list, the most popular factor, personality, and two other factors, communication and gender, have been selected in order to study their impact on pair programming product outcome and the level of communication, satisfaction, confidence and compatibility. An experiment focusing on these factors is designed and implemented. From the experimental findings, the personality of the two partners in pair programming is found to have a significant impact on the pair programming output. Also, it is discovered that same gender pairs exhibited an unusually high level of communication, satisfaction and compatibility between each other, especially among female-female pairs. A detailed statistical experiment result based on research hypotheses is reported.

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