Published: Fri 01 May 2015
I first saw this video of
a couple of years back. Mob Programming is pair programming taken one
step further, the whole team is based around a single machine. The
developers rotate regularly and those who are not driving can add
feedback, make suggestions or simply watch and learn. Everyone should be
placed on a level playing field. I will admit to being highly sceptical
of Mob Programming at first.
I advocate walking skeletons to ensure we are on the "right path" when
We wanted to do these as a team, during our planning and tasking phase.
I suggested mobbing rather than watching a solo developer on a projector
and it turned out to be quite fun. We also learned a few new tricks such
as keyboard shortcuts or IDE techniques along the way.
There were a few rough edges, mainly due to the setup used. A laptop
around a screen proved difficult and this in turned seemed to put
pressure on individuals. In repeat sessions we have used a dedicated
space, with a proper machine and large screen or projector. The ten
minute rotation is enough to allow focus, while not being too long
While Mob Programming is a relatively new experience for myself, it is
proving quite valuable as technique to help develop a walking skeleton.
Currently we have not used Mob Programming for full time development. As
it stands, I would find it hard to recommend this for some development
tasks. Additionally I can think of developers and managers that would
simply resist any suggestion of mob programming. Unfortunately for some
teams this may be too much of a hard sell.
The end result of a mobbing session is a task board filled up with minor
tasks such as improving test coverage, refactoring, or edge cases. The
core functionality is delivered as a team. Combined with the walking
skeleton Mob Programming solves some of the key
traditional tasking and planning
and is well worth an experiment.
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