Using Mobbing to learn TDD

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

Mob programming is emerging as a technique well-suited for solving complex problems that require diverse ideas and skills to be combined as well as exploring and understanding a complicated domain — such as learning a new programming language or a technical discipline.

Can this technique help a scrum team get better at Test-Driven Development ? Or even learn how to do TDD ? In this post I want to focus on just that question.

I had an opportunity to support several scrum teams get comfortable with using TDD in their day-2-day work and decided to try out using mobbing as a technique for the team to practice TDD. The teams had a wide range of experience with TDD and almost none of them had any experience with mobbing. What they did have, however, was a strong need to learn and apply test-driven development and a very open mind. The teams started with code katas and, since the sessions were rather short (90–120 mins) we were mostly using the strong-style mobbing technique. Over time the team gradually moved to less stricter styles of mobbing.

The approach turned out much better than I had hoped.

This last benefit is probably also the most profound. From seeing wild ideas work wonderfully unexpectedly, to seeing the quite genius in the team for the first time in her entirety, there were quite a few startling discoveries.

I personally feel that mobbing for a TDD code kata could be a good exercise for any team to better understand each other and collaborate better even if the normal work doesn’t require mobbing/ TDD. Below are some resources that I found very useful in this exercise:

I’m eager to know how you have experimented with making TDD and other agile practices more accessible to development teams ? What resources have helped you and your teams ? Feel free to share in a comment.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store