Mob Programming

Last night I attended a session on Mob Programming and Working well together, with guest speaker Woody Zuill, who claims to be one of the founders of the practice. The session was at the coop digital building at Federation House in Manchester city centre.

I attended with a few work friends straight after work, and was luckily only a few minutes walk away. The evening started with networking, and people just getting to know each other before the main talk with a few beers. Woody talked his experience in the industry, and how mob programming came about, and how much more work an be achieved working in this way, although the velocity cannot be measured so its difficult to prove. It made me realise the small amount of mobbing I have done so far in my career, is probably not as structured as it should be, and certainly not what Woody would consider mobbing!

He showed photos from all around the world, with companies he has converted to use Mob Programming, some interesting photos of companies with 3x80inch screens, looked a bit scary! He pointed us to a github page where you can run a client that will tell you when the next person is up for being the driver, but this feels a bit too strict in my opinion.

Woody really sold it to us though, the benefits such as the whole squad constantly being up to date with the latest changes, less meetings, quicker answers, shorter feedback loops, squad engagement higher etc. One thing I thought about was that mobbing full on all the time must be really draining, mentally but he summed it up really well with this statement: Relaxed, Sustainable Be prepared to contribute The right thing At the right time In the right way

He also spoke about how to work well together, and the basis of this is built with individuals and interactions, kindness, consideration and respect, which seems kind of obvious but it’s a nice reference point. He mentioned that being too loud and overpowering takes the light off quieter individuals, and when mobbing or working in a squad, it’s important to get the balance right with listening, not over thinking, including quieter members of the squad and having consideration and respect for the other squad members.

I managed to grab some of the slides, which is a good read and took away a quote he left us with which I found interesting

“The value of anothers’ experience, is to give us hope. Not to tell us how, or whether to proceed”

link to slides

Written on January 25, 2017.