Mob Programming


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Mob Programming

A Whole Team Approach

About the Book

"All the brilliant minds working together on the same thing, at the same time, in the same space, and at the same computer" - We call it "Mob Programming". With dual projectors, one computer, two keyboards, and a very collaborative approach we use this approach to super-charge our development efforts and deliver high value software quickly.

In this book we share our "Mob Programming" style. We'll cover the techniques we use in our daily work , how we discovered this way of working, the benefits we see from "Mobbing", the problems we've overcome, and how you can incorporate some of our ideas even though you don't have a way to adopt Mob Programming full time.

About the Authors

Woody Zuill
Woody Zuill

I'm Woody Zuill. I’ve been programming computers for over 30 years, and I'm currently the Agile Coach for a development team - the "Mob". For the past 15+ years I've worked continuously as an Agile Coach and/or developer in both large and small environments, and have trained over 20 teams and 200+ developers in Agile practices. I believe code must be simple, clean, testable, and maintainable so we can respond to change while quickly delivering working software. I have a passion for bringing unmaintainable code back into a manageable, healthy state.

Kevin Meadows

I have been working with software since the days of dual floppy drives (remember those?). I have worked in environments ranging from scientific research to small startups to large enterprise outfits. Along the way I always found the process of software development to be especially interesting. After watching so many Waterfall projects crash and burn and thinking "there has to be a better way" I could not help but wonder "what took so long?" when Agile methods finally appeared. When Woody showed me Mobbing I realized it was the next logical step.

About the Contributors





Nancy Van Schooenderwoert
Nancy Van Schooenderwoert

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Part One: Introduction
  • 1.1 What is Mob Programming?
    • How We Started
    • What’s in a Name?
    • Why this Book?
  • 1.2 Set the Stage for Great Things
    • It’s About the Environment
    • We Work Better when We Work Together.
    • The Stage was Set
  • 1.3 A View of the Room
    • A little peek at what it looks like
  • 1.4 See for Yourself
    • Watch a video of a full day of work in only 3 minutes!
  • 1.5 How We Discovered Mob Programming
    • The Driver-Navigator Model
    • The Coding Dojo Sessions
    • Studying and Practicing Together
    • The Next (In)Obvious Steps
  • 1.6 Quick Start Guide
  • Part Two: The Details
  • 2.1 The Team
    • The Mob Programming Team
  • 2.2 The Workspace Setup
    • Introduction
    • The Area
    • The Computer
    • Projectors or Monitors
    • Keyboard/Mouse
    • Chairs and Tables
    • Telephone and Email
    • Ergonomics
    • Private Work Area
  • 2.3 The Driver-Navigator Model In-Depth
    • The Navigators and Navigation
    • The Driver and Driving
    • The Consultation - The Pause for Clarity
    • Conflicting Ideas
    • An Example
    • Rotating the Roles
    • A Timer
    • Summary
  • 2.4 Why Would We Work This Way?
    • There are Many Benefits from Working as a Mob Programming team
    • It’s a Trick Question
    • The Typical Answers
    • The Real Answer: We Work this Way Because the Team Decided to Work this Way
    • Provide a Safe Place Where We can Discover Awesomeness
  • 2.5 How Can We Work This Way?
    • A Principle to Live By
    • It’s the People, not the Code
    • Our Story
    • Kindness, Consideration, and Respect
  • Part Three: Productivity
  • 3.1 The Productivity Question
    • How Can Five People At One Computer Be Productive?
    • Changing the question
    • What we found with Mob Programming
    • Another way to think about it
  • 3.2 Problems That Faded Away
    • It’s The System?
    • A Backpacking Trip
    • Management Overhead
    • Working Well Together
    • What’s Coming Up in the Next Chapters
  • 3.3 Problem: Faulty Communications
    • Communication problems are pervasive, numerous, and paralyzing.
    • Problem: Getting Answers to Questions can take a lot of time.
    • Problem: Communication by Email
    • Problem: Communication by Documentation
  • 3.4 Problem: Issues with Decision Making
    • Decisions are a Good Thing
  • 3.5 Problem: Doing More Than What is Barely Sufficient
    • Should We Ever do More than Enough?
    • Examples of “Too Much”
    • How Mob Programming has Helped
    • Conclusion
  • 3.6 Problem: Technical Debt
    • The Alligator in the Pond
    • It Faded Away
    • The Many Forms of Technical Debt
    • Conclusion
  • 3.7 Problem: Thrashing
    • Distractions, Context Switching, Interruptions: This is Thrashing
    • Thrashing of Programmers
    • Who Gets Thrashed?
    • Why is Thrashing Harmful?
    • How it Faded Away for Us
    • Recap
  • 3.8 Problem: Politics
    • Many faces of politics
    • It Faded Away
  • 3.9 Problem: Meetings
    • “Please, sir, I want some more meetings.”
  • 3.10 A Simple Cost Analysis of Mob Programming
    • Sensitivity Analysis
    • Summary
    • References
  • 3.11 The Power of Flow
    • References
  • Part Four: A Few Other Things
  • 4.1 What is the Ideal Number of Team Members?
  • 4.2 Continuous Learning
    • Providing an Environment where Learning is “Amplified”
    • Study and Practice Together
    • Friday Afternoon Practice
    • Mob Programming and Learning
    • Our Morning Hour of Learning
    • Amplifying Learning
  • 4.3 Exposed
    • The Fear of Being Exposed
    • Why It Might be Frightening
    • What can we do about this?
    • Mistakes are Part of the Process
    • This is Voluntary
    • Conclusion
  • 4.4 Ergonomics, Health, and Sanity
    • Let’s Take Care of Ourselves
    • Projectors, Chairs, Keyboards, and Screens
    • Stretching, Talking Walks, Taking Breaks
    • Preventing the Spread of Illness
    • Sanity
    • In Conclusion
  • 4.5 Retrospectives: Reflect, Tune, and Adjust Frequently
    • If You Only have Time to get Good at One Thing, Start with Retrospectives
    • An Example of a Typical Retrospective
    • An Affinity Mapping Example
    • Give it a Name
    • Here is What We Decided to Try
    • A Daily Practice Period
    • Another Retrospective, Another Step Forward: The 12 Days of Index
    • Things to Notice
    • The Takeaway
  • 4.6 Turn Up The Good
    • Something that Works Well: Turn Up the Good
    • Solving Problems - What’s Wrong with That?
    • Turn Up The Good
  • 4.7 Relaxed and Sustainable
    • This is Wearing Us Out!
    • The Problem
    • We Don’t Need to Be a Hero
    • Take a Break
    • Make it Sustainable
  • 4.8 Barriers to Mob Programming
    • My Manager Won’t Let Us
    • We Don’t Have a Space to Do It
    • We Don’t Know How to Get Started
    • Our Teams Don’t Even Want to Pair Program
    • The Tech Lead Coded While Everyone Watched
    • We were Exhausted After a Few Hours
    • We aren’t Really Very Agile.
  • 4.9 Remote Mob Programming
    • Introduction
    • Advantages to Working Remotely
    • Can We “Turn Up The Good” on Working Remotely?
    • How do we do this?
    • Are we Effective when we are Remote?
    • Things to Watch Out For
    • Exploring and Experimenting
  • 4.10 Frequently Asked Questions
  • 4.11 Do We Recommend Mob Programming?
    • Everyone Wants to Know: Do You Recommend Mob Programming?
    • To Whose Advantage?
    • It is Not a Panacea
    • If You Decide to Try It
  • Part Five: Experience Reports
  • 5.1 Teaching Mob Programming
  • 5.2 Using Mob Programming as a Training Tool
  • 5.3 Mob Programming for the Introverted
    • Introduction
    • Background
    • Observations of Mob Life
    • Mob Programming as an Introvert
    • Change and Growth
    • What I Have Learned
    • Acknowledgements
    • References
  • 5.4 Corgibytes Adopts Mob Programming
  • 5.5 Sticky Mob Programming
  • Appendix 1 - The Agile Manifesto
  • Appendix 2 - Twelve Principles of Agile Software
  • Notes

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