Nightmareish partner programming

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#1 IngeniousHax  Icon User is offline

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Nightmareish partner programming

Post icon  Posted 23 September 2012 - 04:49 PM

So I must ask for some help with this as I am at a loss of what to do.
In one of my classes we are required to do pair programming. Which is not an issue normally, however this time around I seem to have gotten a partner that is far beyond my scope of social resolutions.
The problem
1) Completely unwilling to compromise on project design
2) Ego the size of venus
3) Unwilling to complete work in a timely fashion
4) Communication is near impossible
5) A social recluse (Basically recedes into himself when asked a question, or is corrected)
6) No matter what the code is, he feels it _needs_ to be re-written to suit his liking

The solution
1) Speak to the student and try to reach some kind of agreement or resolution
2) Speak to the professor, plead my case, and hope working alone is an option

So I ask of you all to let me know if there are better ways to resolve my issues with this student/partner?

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Replies To: Nightmareish partner programming

#2 elgose  Icon User is offline

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Re: Nightmareish partner programming

Posted 23 September 2012 - 10:49 PM

I'd suggest going with your 1st option. Even if you want to go speak with the professor, he/she would probably be more willing to compromise if you explain that you already tried working it out with the other student on your own.

Unfortunately, when it comes to school there's not a whole lot you can do. If your partner's actions threaten meeting the deadline in school, it's just a grade. If this was the workforce, then the company is facing a possible financial risk, and your partner could have his ass on the line. But even if this was the workplace, your manager would rather hear you tried multiple ways to resolve the issue yourself before escalating it to that level.
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#3 fromTheSprawl  Icon User is offline

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Re: Nightmareish partner programming

Posted 23 September 2012 - 11:18 PM

Do number 1. You might benefit from the experience as working in the industry entails you to work with people you don't know, and people that you might not get along with. Tell that person you need to work together and ask what's his/her problem with how you do stuff. Maybe you're doing something bad too. If that fails, try splitting up modules to work on. Just in case he/she doesn't keep on her part, try doing the whole program in secret and pass it if things come to worst.
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#4 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: Nightmareish partner programming

Posted 24 September 2012 - 03:24 AM

Another vote for option 1. But cover yourself by having your own solution available just in case everything goes pair shaped. If it gets close to the deadline with no improvement then speak to your teacher explaining what you have tried. This is when I suggest showing him your solution. Make sure he knows it is based on the work you did in the pair project before your partner rewrote it.
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#5 IngeniousHax  Icon User is offline

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Re: Nightmareish partner programming

Posted 25 September 2012 - 12:37 PM

Thank you guys. That has helped a bit. I have already attempted splitting the assignments in to modules as well, but the problems repeat.
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#6 Warfarin  Icon User is offline

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Re: Nightmareish partner programming

Posted 25 September 2012 - 12:58 PM

I had this problem when I was in school as well (except we had 4 on a team). One person would not get their code in so we could put it all together and submit. We followed Number 1 then when that failed and our grade was now on the line we opted for number 2. We did tell that person we were going to the professor before we did. Suprisingly enough she beat us to the professor and told him what was going on.
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#7 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: Nightmareish partner programming

Posted 25 September 2012 - 01:03 PM

Just do the project on your own, & turn in your own work. Screw'em.

If you can back up your own claims, then let that individual sink. The project is what is important :)
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#8 AnalyticLunatic  Icon User is offline

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Re: Nightmareish partner programming

Posted 25 September 2012 - 01:04 PM

View PostWarfarin, on 25 September 2012 - 12:58 PM, said:

I had this problem when I was in school as well (except we had 4 on a team). One person would not get their code in so we could put it all together and submit. We followed Number 1 then when that failed and our grade was now on the line we opted for number 2. We did tell that person we were going to the professor before we did. Suprisingly enough she beat us to the professor and told him what was going on.


And assuming you had a sensible professor, they told you 4 (especially the individual) to work together and finish things up?

That, or:

1. You had an awesome professor who told that individual tough luck.
2. You had an asinine professor who told the group to be sure and include the individual more?
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#9 Warfarin  Icon User is offline

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Re: Nightmareish partner programming

Posted 25 September 2012 - 01:05 PM

Sadly I have had to do that as well in my college carrer.

actually had a good professor that graded us on what we did even though the program wouldn't work (cause code was missing).
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#10 DarenR  Icon User is offline

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Re: Nightmareish partner programming

Posted 25 September 2012 - 01:33 PM

I also had this issue in one of my courses.
team of 4 doing an entire software engineering scope from the ground up.
1 of our members decided he didnt need to come to any of the meetings nor do things that the other 3 of us decided on.
finally we went to the professor after having a chat with the said student.
professor---"do the project anyways as a threesome and upon finishing it, include said students work."
professor then took the completed work and questioned said student as to why their work did not match ours. His reply was that our group would not include him in discussions.
professor to him with the 4 of us there together --"so what grade do you think you should get?--
he says an "a"
professor to us--"what grade should he get?"
us--- "what ever you want to give him as long as it doesnt bring our grade down"
professor to him---" you will recieve a 0 for not meeting the requirements of this group project, the rest of your group however will get a 98/100.
him---"but but

This post has been edited by DarenR: 26 September 2012 - 05:14 AM

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#11 AnalyticLunatic  Icon User is offline

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Re: Nightmareish partner programming

Posted 25 September 2012 - 01:45 PM

Better an unwanted uncooperative group member than an unwanted uncooperative roommate! :sweatdrop:
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#12 cfoley  Icon User is offline

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Re: Nightmareish partner programming

Posted 26 September 2012 - 04:39 AM

Don't talk that way about your boyfriend/girlfriend.
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#13 smacdav  Icon User is offline

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Re: Nightmareish partner programming

Posted 26 September 2012 - 08:23 AM

View Postno2pencil, on 25 September 2012 - 04:03 PM, said:

Just do the project on your own, & turn in your own work. Screw'em.

If you can back up your own claims, then let that individual sink. The project is what is important :)


Bad advice.

When I used to teach programming, if a student came to me complaining that someone in their group wasn't working out, I would ask them if they had talked to the person about it. If they had not or were unwilling to then I talked to the person(s) in question and asked for a report from each person in the group to be turned in with the assignment. I had a form to use (and sometimes asked for this from everyone even if they didn't have a complaint), but the point is that I would assign the final grade only after taking these reports into account. If one person didn't pull their share of the load then they didn't get much credit for the work. My students seemed satisfied with this solution.

One thing I did not tolerate, however, was somebody simply doing the work on their own without consulting me first. That received little to no credit, even if it was well done. The reason: most of my assignments were individual work, so when I assigned a team, part of what I was looking for was how well people could work in a team. If a person simply struck out on their own then that showed a lack of cooperation/teamwork.
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#14 Warfarin  Icon User is offline

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Re: Nightmareish partner programming

Posted 26 September 2012 - 08:28 AM

Agreed and when I did say screw it and did all the work on my own it was after I talked to the professor and let them know what was going on.
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#15 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is offline

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Re: Nightmareish partner programming

Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:36 AM

View Postsmacdav, on 26 September 2012 - 10:23 AM, said:

Bad advice.

When I used to teach programming, if a student came to me complaining that someone in their group wasn't working out, I would ask them if they had talked to the person about it. If they had not or were unwilling to then I talked to the person(s) in question and asked for a report from each person in the group to be turned in with the assignment. I had a form to use (and sometimes asked for this from everyone even if they didn't have a complaint), but the point is that I would assign the final grade only after taking these reports into account. If one person didn't pull their share of the load then they didn't get much credit for the work. My students seemed satisfied with this solution.

One thing I did not tolerate, however, was somebody simply doing the work on their own without consulting me first. That received little to no credit, even if it was well done. The reason: most of my assignments were individual work, so when I assigned a team, part of what I was looking for was how well people could work in a team. If a person simply struck out on their own then that showed a lack of cooperation/teamwork.



QFT. This sort of thing happens in the real world all the time, you need to be able to deal with it. Sometimes you need to bring in managerial oversight, but that should always be treated as a last resort, and when you go to a supervisor (boss, prof, PM, whatever) you're always going to want to have a complete list of "what I've tried" that you can show.

"What I've tried" should include schedule of work, division of labor, repository policy (small, frequent commits that do not break the build, not massive bundles of change dropped over everyone else's work), use of the issues list for task management, written agreement on design decision, and so forth. Overkill, sure, but it's a project, treat it as if you were serious about it, even if it's for school.
If you've tried to implement serious standards, and one person has rejected that, then you can go to the professor and ask for advice. This is key - you're not asking for them to do something, you're asking them for guidance, which is their job. You're the one who's going to have to do something.
When you ask for advice, you should have a goal. And here you want to be a little careful: are you looking for "what should I do to salvage this project" or "what should I do to salvage my grade"? The latter is probably not your best bet, either in school or after school.
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