At Agile 2013 I had many great conversations. One of the best questions I was asked was “what will we be talking about in 2 years?” There are so many things happening here. I will be doing a post to summarize my conference experience. However there is one sessions standing out in my experience. Mob programming – a whole team approach conducted by Woody Zuill and his mob. (For those on Twitter you might identify Woody with the #NoEstimates hashtag.)

Mob programming is such as great handle for their approach. Woody doesn’t tell you this is the right thing. He’s really only sharing their story. The approach is simple … All the brilliant people, working on the same problem, at the same time on the same computer. They work together, one person driving at the keyboard in 15 minute shifts while everyone else navigates. The navigators are the ones having the discussion, doing research and guiding the driver. The driver is really just a smart input device. No one ever goes off to concentrate and work on their own. In the end this team does what works.  Check out a day of mob programming:

I think Woody and his mob have accomplished what the rest of us are after.  I see many benefits such as:

  • Where many of us have stand-ups to eliminate wasteful status meetings and keep the team connected.In mob programming the daily standup would be wasteful as everyone already knows what is happening.
  • Bugs rarely escape to production. When they are uncovered the mob quickly goes after them.
  • There are no hand-offs as the whole team is working on the same thing at the same time on the same computer.
  • Their productivity rates are significant

Is mob programming for everyone? I’m not sure. However, I for one will continue to follow Woody and the mob. I will be looking for how I can help my clients move closer to this state.

If you want to learn more I suggest you follow Woody and his mob at: or Woody’s blog at

Building Great Teams

Building Great Teams

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