Mob Programming 101

Even though we feel we had a strong increase in productivity, we do not claim that this would be repeatable in any other environment. For instance, the previous development methodology in use for this group prior to Mob Programming was the traditional phased waterfall model. Developers were working in a solo manner and on separate projects.

  • The whole team is aware of each problem, and each person helps devise every solution.
  • In working as a Mob all work is taken on in a sequential “one piece flow” manner.
  • Almost all work is handled as “working meetings” or workshops, and all the people involved in creating the software are considered to be team members, including our Partners.
  • Some teams choose to have all their developers work on solving the same problem simultaneously.

Mob programming is a modern approach to software development and comes with its own set of pros and cons. The productivity and fruitfulness of the approach lies in the credibility and dynamics of the members and not in the nature of the problem at hand. Hence the potential of this approach can be leveraged for solving difficult problems, given the best bunch of mobs to deal with it. There are no set rules for mob programming; it’s more of an experimental approach and it’s not for everyone. If you are going to implement this methodology, you have to be aware that it’s going to take time to get right. Especially if it’s something that you are going to be using a lot.

Ready to skill upyour entire team?

In this way, the team will learn concepts during training and will them apply those concepts on their real code during mobbing sessions. We’ve found this to be far more successful than just training alone. I learned the Driver/Navigator model of “strong” paring from him, as well as the Coding Dojo concept.

To lessen the chance that we’ll all get sick at the same time we have enough room for everyone to sit far enough away from each other so we aren’t sneezing or coughing on each other. We also keep hand sanitizer on our table for use when we change Drivers at the keyboard. When one of us is sick, we encourage that person to stay home. If they want to work we have them work from home rather than spread germs around to the team. To make it easier on everyone, we do not insist that people participate if they don’t feel comfortable. Everyone is expected to contribute in the way they feel they best can, but no one is forced to sit and work with the team.

This then quickly gets translated into code, and verified or validated the next day or as soon as possible. Again, the “one-piece-flow” nature of our work style makes this straightforward. The demands on developers today is that they have to not only approach all of this, but they have to be able to do it all at once.

what is mob programming

Hence, it’s more challenging to implement mob programming in a distributed team. The driver is a person who sits at the keyboard and types the code. And a navigator is a person who reviews, discusses, and makes suggestions to improve the code. There’s only one driver at a given time, and the rest of the team members are navigators.

With Mob Programming our style of continuous communication and rapid conversion of ideas into deployed, working code allows us to eliminate most of the need for email. It is not uncommon for a developer working on a project to come upon a question that they can’t answer themselves and therefore need to seek out the person with the answer. If the question blocks the developer from making further progress until they have the answer they might need to switch off to some other work. Alternatively they can make a “best guess” at the answer and confirm the correctness of the guess later. There are other ways to approach this, but regardless, none of them are better than getting the answer immediately. The mob allows us to function as a single developer but with multiple cores.

Our first mobbing session came out of an informal coffee chat. We used Slack’s /call feature for pairing so members of the team who weren’t in the informal coffee chat could join at a later time. A call in a small private group also puts pressure on the whole team to join, irrespective of their availability.

Agile Software Development

We take “baby steps”, make sure we try changes we think will be useful, and then reflect, tune and adjust. Mob programming might make you nervous about performing in a group. But the outcomes have shown that it tends to make work, stress free and almost error free since there are multiple opinions.

We express ideas, discuss problems, explore possible solutions, and share thoughts all day long. We are rarely in agreement on most things until we have had a chance to hear from everyone who has something to contribute, and have had the back and forth discussions that expand our understanding. A project manager can initiate the team to take the Mob programming approach in order to make the early stage of software development stress-free. Anyone stuck at a point in the problem will have Navigators who can bring in their expertise and keep the project development moving.

Before starting the mob session, you should know what target you want to reach. Hence, label the topic and let everyone know what it is beforehand, as this could save a lot of time. Because of its collaborative nature, mob programming can exacerbate other interpersonal challenges, like workplace Cloud Application Development: Complete Guide for 2022 politics. Well, it all depends on the team to decide whether they want to have regular mob programming daily or weekly, or they should have occasionally when required. However, for active team involvement, you can also switch roles between members randomly after a short period of time .

  • Without that, it might become hard for a driver to understand the navigators’ instructions while maintaining their keystroke and implementing the instructions in the codebase.
  • But in the end, we focus on consensus and not on conflict resolution.
  • We’re accustomed to thinking of resource efficiency in terms of busyness and visible production.
  • The basic setup isn’t complicated, but is very different from the typical cubicle arrangement.

The most valuable benefits we saw with mob programming was the strength of our relationships after we started doing them. It was so effective, we Your Digital Lending Platform noticed it immediately following the first session. Feedback was easier to give and receive because it wasn’t a judgement but a collaboration.

A Mix of Activites and Sessions

One interesting thing we have noticed is that when we add a new member to the team they become contributors almost immediately by bringing new ideas and coding skills to the team. In reverse, they quickly learn the nature of the project we are working on and “learn as they earn”; the new developer is providing value while they learn the ins and outs of the business logic we are developing. This also shows up when we have visitors join the team for a day.

  • Tell all attendees to decline all other meetings during those days.
  • If in Pair Programming engineers work in pairs, in Mob Programming the whole ‘mob’ of engineers works together.
  • Agile World Resources are provided as free resources to anyone seeking to learn more and are shared under a creative commons attribution license.
  • The success of mob programming depends on the collaborative nature of the developers coming together to form the Mob.
  • This enables the decision arrived at to be relevant and agreeable to everyone on the team, thus ensuring the team’s maximum cooperation and completion the project without any redundancies.

Set your Out of Office reminder if you are mobbing for an extended period of time. Tell all attendees to decline all other meetings during those days. We have found that it works well for us and it might work for you. However, rather than recommending it we are merely sharing our experiences. We do believe that it is worthwhile to investigate the concept and see if there are parts of it that will work for you.

While few would claim that they “live to work”, we find that our lives are greatly enriched by working together as a team. We follow a very sustainable approach which keeps us engaged and interested in our work. We pay attention to our physical and mental health and strive to provide an environment where everyone can excel in their work, and excel in their lives. This helps us to do our best thinking and invent the best solutions we are capable of creating. We are all constantly advancing our careers by learning and expanding our skills and capabilities.

Anything more than barely sufficient uses time and effort with no return, unnecessarily complicates the project, increases the chance for bugs and problems, and makes maintenance and enhancements more difficult. Our preferred communication hierarchy is 1) Face-To-Face, Side-By-Side, 2) phone and screen share, 3) instant message, 4) email. We never move to the next level unless it’s the only option to keep things moving.

Embedded software development: specifics and areas of application

These ideas mesh very nicely with my thinking and the things I’ve experienced and observed in Mob Programming. Learn by doing, then have just the right amount of reflection and talk to fuel another round of immersion learning. The team is always seeking to improve through frequent retrospectives matched up with concrete action items.

Documents are often written long before there is any way to validate their correctness, and often the person who wrote the document is no longer available to help when questions arise. Here are some of the problem areas that seemed to just fade away as we built our Mob Programming and collaboration skills. I’ll be doing a half day workshop on Mob Programming, along with 3 other workshops covering 2 days. I’d like to hear your story, and we can post it here for everyone to read if you would like. Just ping me here in the comments, or send me an email at mobprogramming at gmail dot com. In the last month or so I’ve visited about 10 teams that are using Mob Programming on a regular basis, and over the last year I would guess I’ve visited over 50 teams “Mobbing” all over the world.

Myths about mob programming

However, I do believe the problem of the multicore programmer is a real one. I also believe this problem is becoming more prevalent as time continues. I cannot wait to read or hear about how other people solve this problem.

Alongside software coding, mob programming teams also work on other facets of software development. These include understanding user requirements, designing, testing, deploying, and even working with the customer closely to understand their needs. Do you believe that a software development team needs to follow a certain methodology or approach to reach its maximum productivity level?

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