Choices: Engineering, Organizations, and Constraints

Mob Programming

What are the constraints around mob programming? Most teams have been doing it in-person. As work moves towards remote teams we are going to lose the high-fidelity of in person communication and bonding as a team. As teams become more distributed across timezones getting people together at the same time is going to be more difficult. As remote participants it is a lot harder to stay focused on people on the other side of a screen than if they were in person. One constraint that remains in place whether it is in person or remote is the increased importance of personalities gelling. Programming can be a very intense mental activity at times, and, to me, it can start to feel like letting someone in your head. You’re going to be with these people for many hours a day-there are going to be interpersonal problems. The makeup of these teams, and management of these issues is crucial for long-term success. Any issues that would have come up in a team that is not mob programming are going to be multiplied by mob programming. These are real constraints that are going to require a lot of effort on the part of people managers. The folks working very closely together are going to need to be fully mature adults capable of managing their own emotions and being socially aware. These two traits are not something we commonly find in certain areas of our industry.

One Person Per Service

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen someone fully describe what I am about to try and describe. I’m not sure anyone we have all heard of, that I could point to, has done this. I think my principle here is: crystal clear divisions of responsibilities.

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