Accountability and Pair Programming

In a previous post, I mentioned the value I get from my accountability partner. Using a software development method called pair programming as an example, I’ll explain why this relationship works.

In pair programming two people use a single computer or workstation in order to quickly create a higher quality of work. The second person looks over the first person’s work to identify potential strategic problems and insure the overall direction is the best. This enables the person at the computer keyboard to concentrate their skills on the software construction.

This technique is similar to a spotter and shooter in military sniper teams where both roles are of equal importance. Working together creates a focused outcome of higher quality than each would produce simply working side-by-side. Also, like sniper teams, the software developers frequently switch roles in order to focus on each other’s goals, sustaining momentum and enjoyment throughout the session.

After a short time, an accountability partner will notice patterns in your life. They’ll be able to identify things that work or don’t work in pursuit of your goals as they observe you facing your daily struggles. As a friend they can support and guide you by means of conversations where together you review and consider solutions to personal and professional challenges.

Also, it’s fun!

Satisfaction: In an online survey of pair programmers, 96% of them stated that they enjoyed their work more than when they programmed alone. Additionally, 95% of the surveyed programmers stated that they were more confident in their solutions when they pair programmed. A correlation exists between satisfaction among programmers and their confidence in the codes i.e. the pairs enjoy their work more because they are more confident in it.


If you imagine your goals as the “software”, you achieve the same high-quality results through collaboration by reviewing each other’s goals and progress each meeting. With two set of experiences and perspectives, you learn to negotiate a plan of action that you may not have created by yourself. Both partners will improve communication skills and be stimulated to thoroughly review unconscious beliefs. We’ve all had times when we say to ourselves, “I should have thought of that!”—moments we couldn’t see the forest because we were surrounded by the trees.

In a future blog, I’ll share several guidelines on conducting accountability sessions, based on software ideas, like gamification.

Read Part 1 here: Accountability Partnerships

Questions? Comments? Call now: 813.609.2003