Connecting with Mob Programming

We’ve found this to be a very effective approach to covering a lot of topics in a limited amount of time. We typically spend 45 minutes in a Lean Coffee™ session, and strive to find an action item for anything we discuss that we feel requires further action. By applying our principle of treating each other with kindness, consideration, and respect our Lean Coffee sessions are always meaningful to us.

  • You can prepare a sheet and ask the availability time of your team member who wants to be part of mob programming.
  • Working this closely with members of your team will reduce any synchronization that usually happens within a team.
  • PO would eventually get back to us and we’d re-prioritize back.
  • Use a big or dual screen to make it visible to the whole team (if co-located).
  • Woody Zuill founded the concept in 2011 and started using the technique with his team at Hunter Industries, a manufacturer of irrigation equipment.

But the only way for the mob to thrive is through collaboration, so you need to ensure everyone has a voice for it to succeed. After a team has spent a few days mob programming, we find that they’re far more likely to be using the skills that they learned in the class. They’re also learning more from each other and generally having more fun. Mob programming (or just “mobbing”) is a technique where the entire team works together on a single story at the same time, on the same computer. It takes pair programming to the next level by including everyone.

“First time” rules

All are invited to join in but are free to work alone if they so choose. Besides scheduled retrospectives, we hold retrospectives at any time we feel it will be helpful to us. When anyone on the team notices something they feel we should reflect on, we simply go ahead and do it while the experience is fresh. One important factor is how we orient ourselves to the projected screens throughout the day. In typical meeting rooms, the projector screen is at the end of the table, so almost everyone needs to turn their heads to see the screen. While this is fine for short meetings, it becomes very uncomfortable when we work this way for several hours or a whole day.

what is mob programming

Some who may be new to a language can learn from those more experienced. And more experienced developers can learn from the fresh perspective of newcomers. The specific number of team members involved is based on the requirements of the mob session. Highly experienced in leading multi-organizational teams, groups, in-shore as well as off-shore. Drives execution, and communicates on status, risks, metrics, risk-mitigation and processes across R&D.

I was invited to present our MobProgramming approach at Oredev 2013 in Malmo, Sweden. It was an exciting and wonderful experience for me , and perhaps someday I’ll post about it. We will probably use either C# or Java as the programming language for this session. However, the language is not important as long as at least several of the attendees are competent in the language we choose. It is not required that you join in the programming if you prefer to simply observe. At the end of the day you will come away from this class having experienced the joy and effectiveness of Mob Programming, as well as being equipped to continue on your own path.

Varying experience levels among the coders could also slow down the project work. This is particularly true if two developers with mismatched experiences are made to collaborate. Doing so would be a counterproductive step that could have a detrimental effect on the project.

Not only that, but anyone can also edit, copy, and paste from any shared window using a mouse and keyboard. You need to accommodate for different time zones for distributed team members. Is the Driver just an executive body or is he allowed to implement his vision?

Mob programming is a software development concept founded by Woody Zuill in 2011. According to Zuill, it involves the gathering of a whole team to work together using a single computer system at the same time. Let’s learn what mob programming is and the essential aspects of it you need to understand in order to use it effectively for a distributed team. What should the driver implement when opinions differ on the solution of a development task? Practice shows that in such situations – or when working with larger groups – the use of a Designated Navigator makes sense.

Tips for mob programming success

If the driver implements his vision, it could be very inefficient if all navigators are degraded to spectators. But if he only implements the guidelines, his expertise may fall by the wayside. The promotion of team bonding through the joint solution of a task. The possibility to solve complex tasks step by step in a team. Participants who cannot contribute anything to a concrete situation are the so-called Learners.

what is mob programming

The nature of mob programming means that non-developers can mob with developers. Sometimes it’s Directors who rarely get to code in their day to day or a Product Manager who’s curious. The point is that anyone can mob because the mob is available to help. The driver is expected to not know what to do, and by making that the default experience, mobbing becomes welcoming for developers of all skill levels. Collaboration is an intrinsic part of programming, and it needs to be done from time to time during the software development cycle. As discussed, pair and mob programming are the two main kinds of collaboration for developers.

How Can a Distributed Team Use Remote Mob Programming?

Why do all these new fads (Pair/Mob programming, open office, stand up meetings, etc…) assume everyone works the same way? I can imagine there are teams this works well with, but I can imagine others that this is absolute hell with. Don’t forget to drop me a line if you decide to try mob programming and then have any conclusions to share. I can completely see the value of having the PO very available during coding.

This is similar to Pair programming – an agile software development technique in which two programmers work together at one workstation. One, the Driver, writes code while the other, the Observer or Navigator, reviews each line of code as it is typed in. With Mob Programming the collaboration is extended to everyone on the team, while still using a single computer for writing the code and inputting it into the code base. Mob Programming or mobbing works on the concepts of lean software development and extreme programming.

  • In some situations you do not get credit for helping others and must focus on your own work.
  • These ideas mesh very nicely with my thinking and the things I’ve experienced and observed in Mob Programming.
  • Everyone, though focusing on different parts, keeps the current context in mind and never loses sight of why these changes are made.
  • Mob Programming prevents thrashing through its use of single piece flow, and reduces the impact of thrashing because others on the team can continue on even if one team member is asked to switch contexts.

Helping others happens naturally because the end result of the team depends on us working well together. One example of “Developer Level Politics” is how willing people are to help each other. In some organizations with the typical performance appraisals to determine bonuses, raises, and promotions and you will be judged on how well you get your work done. In some situations you do not get credit for helping others and must focus on your own work. Helping someone else uses up the time available for working on your own work. While a code review might reveal these things, code reviews are done “after the fact”, and unless the code review for both solutions are done by the same person the pattern will likely remain hidden.

Why have a Mob Programming Conference?

What is worse is that all of this is happening at the same time. I have witnessed “Mob Programming” provide a solution to the need of a developer to multitask. While most of our time will be spent on actual coding and working together, we’ll also have a few talks , some retrospectives, some Open Space style sessions, and some Lean Coffee sessions.

  • Helping someone else uses up the time available for working on your own work.
  • And last but not least, there can be a Timekeeper who initiates the role change of Driver, Designated Navigator and the other participants.
  • This solves some of the common silo problems which occur when there is only one person who is a point of contact.
  • One reason we use this practice is so everyone on the team is aware of all team-­‐related interactions with people from outside the team.

So, you can call on members from different development teams at your organization. After all, mob programming is also about spreading knowledge to make a strong and cross-functional team. Additionally we have an extended study session most Fridays to do a more intense study for 2 or 3 hours.

Mob Programming

We do not make step-by-step improvements, on the contrary, we implement innovative solutions that radically change software development for the better. We help organizations solve their impediments and move beyond traditional ways of work. Mob programming What is Ruby involves a lot of interactions within the team. To reach this level of communication, we have adopted a principle to always treat each other with kindness and respect. The POs start to give input about different scenarios that should be taken care of.

Mobbing comes out of work that Woody Zuill and his team pioneered at Hunter Industries and is quickly spreading across the industry. We’ve been using it in our practice for several years now and find it to be one of the most useful tools we have. We each have our own separate work area to use whenever anyone would like to work alone. We have small desk areas in a separate annex to the main Apache Avro Java 1 7 6 API team area. These are configured as either sit-­‐down or stand-­‐up workstations depending on what each individual prefers, and each team member has their own computer, dual monitors, drawers, phone, etc. When in the private area we can still hear and pay attention to the main “mobbing” area if we like, or we can wear headphones or otherwise “tune-­‐out” what everyone else is working on.

Everyone keeps switching roles, meaning no one person will be at the system all the time. If building systems from the ground up to solve real-world problems interests you, our Engineering blog has stories about other challenges we have encountered. Visit our Engineering career page to find out about our open positions. Learn about how we’re hiring to design the future together – a future that is digital by default. A mob that’s discoverable, so people can drop in and drop out, ensures that the mob doesn’t “die off” and people can take a break.

Most teams will bring poorly written stories and/or acceptance criteria into the mobbing session. There will be a tendency to dive right into code but don’t allow this until the story, with acceptance criteria, has been fixed. It’s important to stress that without clear stories and acceptance criteria, we don’t really know what we’re supposed to be working on. Allow the team to decide when they want to take breaks although we ensure they don’t go more than 90 minutes without one. Mobbing, like pairing, can be draining and we need an explicit break. However, anything you need can be learned in the doing along the way, as long as you dedicate yourselves to treat each other with kindness, consideration, and respect.

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