Design

Mob Designing: the more, the merrier

I was lucky enough a few days ago to attend a fantastic keynote on Mob Programming by Alexandre Victoor, Principal Engineer at Fluo.
I was very impressed by his presentation and I asked myself: would it be possible to apply this working method to interface design?

What is Mob Programming ?

In simple words, it works like this: instead of working each one on a puzzle card, a group of developers (between 5 and 15 usually) all work together on the same card.
Each of them uses the computer keyboard for a specific time, for example 10 minutes, but in reality the one typing is only the arm executing the solutions previously discussed and negotiated from the group’s collective intelligence.

Before attending the presentation of Alexandre, I had only seen him and the other developers using this method at work and honestly I was a little skeptical about this thing of passing the keyboard every 10 minutes.
I
feel ignorant now because I thought it was not very productive, since this way every developer actually worked about an hour a day.

Afterwards Alexandre, with his kind heart and his collaborative spirit, enlightened me.

The advantages of Mob

Actually, a team that works with this method is in the long run more productive, for the following reasons:

  • Quality: The confrontation implies that the best choice of programming is preferred and therefore there will be no need to return to it in the future
  • Harmony: Everyone puts their ego aside for a common purpose and everyone’s voice counts, which then improves interpersonal relationships in the working group
  • Training: if the team is multidisciplinary, everyone will bring his knowledge and everyone will get richer every day, as if it was continuous course where we are all professors
  • Leveling: in the Mob, every idea or suggestion counts. Whether you have a junior or senior profile, you will always bring a unique and very useful point of view. With this method, the accompaniment of inexperienced profiles is therefore more constructive for everyone.
  • Knowledge: if one day someone leaves the team, everyone else will know what he was working on and there will be no loss of knowledge
  • Method: Working all together, we work all the same way – the best one.

Is Mob Designing a possible choice ?

We designers more than others tend to have an unbearable ego: our design is our masterpiece every time.
Ego-wise, Mob Designing is a certainly more ethical work methodology, capable of generating solidarity, sharing and harmony within a working group.
I was very impressed by Alexandre when, during his presentation, he pointed that Mob was perfect for developers because they are generally more shy, so that was also useful for interpersonal difficulties.

In my opinion, working in Mob in a design context would be a great asset for everyone, for those same reasons it works for programmers who invented it.
Plus, we are already used to the benefits of pairing when a UX and a UI designer work together on a project, rather than each on their own: can you imagine how great it would be if we were 5 or 6!
Instead of doing and redoing a design 10 times to see the limits, working with 6, 8 or 10 hands would allow us to get to more effective solutions in less time.
For the same principle that an ideal design process always includes user tests, I believe that Mob Designing could be considered as a continuous live user test, as the result of the collective intelligence of heterogeneous professionals.

Moreover, it is not the first time that as designers we borrow working methods from development: that’s already the case for Agile.

I look forward to experimenting and organizing a Mob Designing session for UI and UX Designers.

And you, have you ever tried?

GOTO 2017 • Mob Programming: A Whole Team Approach • Woody Zuill

Thanks again to Alexandre for his Mob Speech !

👋

Gabriella

Hi! I am a creative designer focused on circular economy and positive change. Find more about me on www.gabriellacinque.com