Mob Programming / Software Teaming is more relevant than ever!

We have never been in a faster-changing environment than we are today. In product development, you must create a product that your customers love but also works for the business (ref Marty Cagan). To do that, you need to be innovative and a leader in your domain. If you don’t, you risk being disrupted and falling behind. 

Software teaming enables product teams to be empowered and self-sufficient and to take a holistic view and responsibility for solving customers’ needs.  

In 2011, Woody Zuill blew all product developers’ minds, collaborating in a new, effective way that was FUN and increased knowledge sharing among team members. 

Woody Zuill in Sweden

In this blog post, we will explain why we have invited him as a master class teacher in the program and why Software Teaming is now more critical than ever.
Woody coined the concept of Mob Programming/ Software Teaming, wrote books on the topic, and traveled the world spreading the ideas. He has been programming computers for 30+ years, Agile Coach and Application Development Manager. Woody is also considered one of the founders of the ”#NoEstimates” discussion.

Woody Zuill in Sweden

You think you collaborate, but you probably don’t! 

Most teams don’t actually work as a real team. They are only a team to the name. They coordinate work or, at best, cooperate but do not collaborate. The best teams we have seen follow Woody Zuill’s definition of collaboration: “more than one person working on the same task, at the same time, in the same space (on the same computer).”

Looking back at all the teams and organizations we have helped, it is striking how the best teams have had a genuinely collaborative approach with cross-functional participants. 

They embody the concept of Software Teaming, e.g., teams that participate from all critical perspectives, such as product management, engineering, user experience, marketing, and even legal, risk, and compliance when needed. Nowadays, it is also easy to boost collaboration even more with AI.

Another benefit is the speed and innovation of teams using software teaming. As the team is self-sufficient and stakeholders can join as needed, there is high creativity, fast decision-making, and experimentation, typically many times a day.

It is important to note that this way of working goes beyond the original focus on “programming” and “software.” It is applicable to any complex and challenging initiative.

Software Teaming / Mob programming at Volvo Cars

True collaboration and cross-functional teams are more important than ever. That´s why Software Teaming is an important topic and something everyone needs to be skilled in.

Bringing in the needed perspectives in the same space to enable effective collaboration eliminates a massive amount of coordination, waiting times, meetings, and frustration. Stress and busyness are prevalent in today’s work. Software teaming can be the panacea.

What is so remarkable is that only a tiny fraction of teams today use mob programming/ SW teaming. However, to succeed in an increasingly complex and competitive landscape, it is time for a change. 

The closest most people have come to Software Teaming is a successful task force where people with different skills and expertise come together to solve a challenging problem. Often, participants remember the experience for years afterward. There is no better teambuilding. Sadly, these teams are always broken up after reaching their goal.

So, if you want to go faster, increase effectiveness, and reduce unnecessary meetings, Woody is the person to learn from. Woody is the most humble person. He doesn’t want to impose working with Software Teaming on anyone. He emphasizes that he can´t change anyone. However, he can inspire others to try it!

The most common objection against Software Teaming that Woody gets is: Do you have proof of effectiveness? His response is spot on. “There is no evidence that working individually, in silos, is more effective than working together”. Nobody asks for evidence of that.

We cannot agree more. The teams we have seen using software teaming really stand out from the rest. That is why we invited him to Leading Complexity 2024. Woody might not have proof of effectiveness, but he has numerous success stories, including those of many remote teams.

If you want to learn more from Woody, and other thought leaders, sign up to our Leading Complexity Program to join his Master Class.

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