My understanding of programmers temperament and my experience on the job have led me to the conclusion that the optimal number of programmers on a project team is oneunless you have a programming genius as a partner. In that case, the optimal size of the programming team is most definitely two.
It can happenfinding a genius for a partner. For many years I teamed up with Garry Reinhard to write the code that became IBMs first online apparel programming package. Our strengths combined magically. I supplied the idea and design of the package, and was skilled at working smoothly with IBM management, and Garry provided unbelievably powerful coding and systems integration.
Another important reason that we succeeded as a team is that we were both driven to work seven days a week to make the project successful. If you are a driven programmer who will work overtime to accomplish your goals but are paired with a colleague who is a nine-to- fiver, your collaboration will be unpleasant, and probably unsuccessful .
Finding someone in corporate programming who can complement your skills is a goal that you should be striving for throughout your career. Many of the tiny startup companies that became multi-billion-dollar software or technology companies started with exactly two partners , each of whom complemented the skills of the other.