Introducing Mob Learning to RubySteps

Many people have been asking if I’ll do group hangouts to walk through the RubySteps exercises. I love the idea, and so I’ve been hard at work figuring out how to do it in a way that respects your time and delivers you the most possible value. I think I’ve come up with the answer: Mob Programming.

I could tell you more about Mob Programming, but I think you’re better off hearing directly from its creator, Woody Zuill:

Being on a team isn't about what you "get" from the team, but rather what you bring to the team. The idea is simple: Your place is to contribute however you best can, whenever you best can. For years, we've approached programming as an "individual" pursuit, with most of the work being done "solo". However, a funny thing happens when you start becoming good at working with others: when done right, it multiplies your goodness. You get better at helping others, and at asking questions. And everyone is sharing in the experience, learning how to work well together.

You may have heard of "Pair Programming", where two people (usually programmers, of course) work at the same computer, discussing the problem and solution as they work out the details and create some working software. Mob Programming is very similar - but with 3 to 5 or even more people helping each other understand the problem and invent the solution. There are too many benefits and details to be able to cover meaningfully here, but you can read more about it in our experience report (PDF), or at our website.

I am really excited about the experiences that Pat and the Rails Girls Summer of Code Standard Librarians have with had with Mob Programming. Most of the team came and shared a day with us (the “original” Mob Programming Team) and we all learned a lot and got a lot of work done. Amazingly, the first person to take the “drivers seat” and start translating our ideas into code was perhaps the least experienced of the Standard Librarians coders - and in a totally different coding language and environment than she was familiar with. Fantastic!

Even more, I am ['stoked', 'jazzed', 'pumped'].at_random to have Pat taking this “virtual”. While I have some experience with remote pair-programming, this is truly a big step to bringing widely distributed teams together. I look forward to hearing how you will bring your personal best to contribute and collaborate to make this a reality.

- Woody Zuill, originator of Mob Programming

In the coming weeks, I will introduce Mob Programming learning sessions covering the course content. The Mob Learning is included in your paid subscription, and is available ONLY to paid subscribers.

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