Agile Book Club: Pairing & Mobbing (with Woody Zuill and Chris Lucian)

Pair programming and its descendant, mob programming, are two of the strangest ideas to come out of Extreme Programming. They’re also surprisingly effective. In this session, we looking at mobbing in depth. We’re joined by two of mob programming’s pioneers: Woody Zuill and Chris Lucian.

Woody Zuill is an Agile and Lean Software Development guide who has been programming computers for almost 40 years. He is an originator and pioneer of the Mob Programming approach to teamwork in software development, and a founder of the “No Estimates” discussion.

Chris Lucian is the director of software development at Hunter Industries, a founder of mob programming, co-host of the Mob Mentality show, and international keynote speaker. He’s passionate about the advancement of software craftsmanship and machine learning.

📖 Collective Code Ownership
📖 Pair Programming
📖 Mob Programming

🎙 Discussion prompts:

  • Pairing and mobbing are based on an underlying appreciation of collective code ownership—the idea that it’s good and desirable for the whole team to be responsible for all its code. How have you seen people respond to this idea, and how have you helped them accept it?

  • What tricks and tools do you use to make remote pairing and mobbing work well?

  • People often worry that pairing and mobbing won’t work for introverts. Although that fear is often overstated, what can teams do to make pairing and mobbing safe and enjoyable for everyone involved?

  • What are the tradeoffs between pairing and mobbing? Are there any situations where one is a better choice than the other?

About the Book Club

From October 2021 to August 2022, I hosted a call-in talk show based on the second edition of The Art of Agile Development. The series used the book as a jumping-off point for wide-ranging discussions about Agile ideas and practices, and had a star-studded guest list.

For an archive of past sessions, visit the book club index. For more about the book, visit the Art of Agile Development home page.

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