Mob programming: Brilliant people working on the same task, at the same time, in the same space, and on the same computer

The mob programming-legend Woody Zuill was guest of our colleagues from TUI Nordics in Stockholm last Thursday. He held a TUIx talk, a masterclass and workshops concerning the central topic of the day called Mob programming. The trend in the world of programming shows a group of colleagues working together on the same source code inspires each other directly. As Woody phrases it:

 “Brilliant people working on the same thing, at the same time, in the same space, and on the same computer.”

As a way of working Mob programing can be applied to most departments, not only coding and technology development. Several brains working on one problem is always better than one sole brain. There isn’t one specific right way to do something - but every problem can have diverse solutions.

Alexander Huber, Managing Director TUI Nordic, shows his impressions as follows: “Mob programming seems to be a good way to get things done in IT development. But even more so, it is a way of working that can be applied across any business area.” This goes hand in hand with how we work in TUI Nordics: learning together, learning from each other, and enjoying what we do. “When you work together, rather than apart, you will be aligned and always think one step ahead. Working together can sometimes seem to take a longer time. But it creates quality and outcomes. And ultimately, it saves time, as you reduce wasted efforts due to lack of alignment or missing pieces of information.”

Mob programming works in the following way: The team distinguishes two roles: one member designates as a“driver” and the rest of the team operate as “navigators”. The driver’s main task is to produce the code whereas the “navigators” are sharing their thought processes and comments on what is being produced in front of them. It is a global phenomenon used by teams across the world, from New Delhi and San Francisco to Tokyo and Buenos Aires.
TUI in the Nordics has used this approach for years which has led to higher quality. That improved efficiency and increases the sense of community and collaboration within the team. In addition, we have recently upgraded our mob station to include a cutting edge approach to this alternative work style.