What is it Like to be an Introverted Mob Programmer?

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Life as an Introverted Mobber

Our latest experience report is by Aaron Griffith. Aaron shares what its like to be an introvert on a mob programming team. I was introduced to Aaron by some of his enthusiastic, extroverted teammates at Agile 2015. We were chatting about how they enjoy being mobbers. I asked, “Are you extroverts?” They said, “Most definitely.” I remarked, sure it must be great being a mob programmer if you are an extrovert, but how about us introverts? That’s when they introduced me to Aaron.

After a short discussion, Aaron graciously agreed to write a report about his experiences because, well, he’s trying to step outside of his comfort zone. He enjoys being a mob programmer and he’s an introvert, too.

With mob programming, developers work together as a team. One person is the driver at the keyboard; the rest play the role of Navigator, giving the driver advice. It is the Navigators responsibility to discuss and formulate what should be coded and the responsibility of the Driver, to translate the ideas and guidance of the Navigators into code. The mob rotates Drivers every few minutes. This is intense, personal interaction, all day long. How do introverts stand up to this challenge?

Mob programming involves lots of intense teamwork; it also involves a lot of social interaction with new people, too, especially if you mob like the folks at Hunter Industries do. They frequently welcome others to join them for a day or a few hours. The rotation of who is in the mob changes frequently as guests come and go. And their mob is prone to energetic discussions.

Yet, as you find by reading Aaron’s report, he enjoys being part of a mob, even though there are times he needs to pull away and recharge his batteries. And that’s important. For a mob to work effectively, team members need to learn how to take breaks, deal graciously with conflicts, and to effectivey contribute-whether they are introverted or not.

If you’d like to share what you’ve learned on your agile journey, I encourage you to consider writing an experience report. The Agile Experience Report Initiative is interested in hearing your ideas and helping you tell your story. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me, the program director, Rebecca Wirfs-Brock at experiences at agilealliance dot org.


About the Author

Rebecca is President of Wirfs-Brock Associates and former Director of the Agile Experience Report Initiative. She helps organizations and individuals hone their design and architecture skills, improve system quality and manage technical debt. In addition to coaching and mentoring she conducts workshops on agile architecture, design heuristics, and pragmatic software design. She invented the set of design practices known as Responsibility-Driven Design (RDD) and by accident started the x-DD meme.

Rebecca is also a shepherd for the XP 2023 Experience Report Track. She is on the Board of the Hillside Group and writes patterns and essays about sustainable architecture, agile QA, and design heuristics. If you want to share experiences or wisdom in pattern form, Rebecca can help you turn your itch for writing into the written word.
Read her blog at www.wirfs-brock.com/blog and find articles and patterns and essays on her resources page, www.wirfs-brock.com/Resources.html

This is an Agile Alliance community blog post. Opinions represented are personal and belong solely to the author. They do not represent opinion or policy of Agile Alliance.

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