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Team programming usually means coordinating efforts of individual programmers who divide up the programming tasks for a large, complex system. Collaborative programming is used here to mean two programmers working jointly on the same algorithm and code. Previous research indicates that student programmers working collaboratively outperformed individual programmers. A follow-up field experiment was conducted using experienced programmers who worked on a challenging problem important to their organization, in their own environments, and with their own equipment. To the surprise of the managers and participants, all the teams outperformed the individual programmers, enjoyed the problem-solving process more, and had greater confidence in their solutions.
Description of the Experiment
"Effective problem-solving performance" is defined in terms of (a) the readability of the proposed solution, that is, the degree to which the problemsolving strategy could be determined from the subject's work; and (b) the functionality of the proposed solution, that is, the degree to which the strategy accomplishes the objectives stated in the problem description. The variables READABILITY and FUNCTIONALITY were defined accordingly. Readability is a component of overall score since it is possible for a subject to use a reasonable strategy and to use programming language structures appropriately and yet fail to solve the problem (in the sense of generating the correct output). In such cases, the programmer may have misinterpreted the problem description or overlooked a critical component. Overall success on the problem-solving effort is measured by a variable SCORE, which is a simple sum of component variables READABILITY and FUNCTIONALITY. based on previous results, four predictions were made:
1. Programmers working in pairs will produce more readable and functional solutions to a programming problem than will programmers working alone.
2. Groups will take less time on average to solve the problem than individuals working alone.
3. Programmers working in pairs will express higher levels of confidence about their work (CONFID) and …