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Equality of Voice in a Mob or Ensemble

    One of the most common questions I get about mob programming is the following:

    "How often should any one person be navigating?"

Find equality of voice when Mob Programming

    I hear stories of how one senior is just navigating he entire team, or a group of associate developers butting heads. I will give you my simple answer first and then dig in to elaborate.

    If you have 4 people in the mob, ideally every person should speak about 25% of the time. That is in a mob roughly equal equality of voice is a key indicator to the health of a mob. This hopefully should be true for the day but sometimes this need to be measured over the course of weeks in a situation of large skill diversity.

Practicing skills together makes you a better team.

    When I was mob programming for the first time, I found myself speaking a majority of the time. I would come home and not talk much at all to my family because I was so exhausted from speaking all day. Shortly after my voice began to hurt, I brought it up in a retrospective. I think over time we identified that equality of voice means that each person on the team is getting a chance to navigate and exercise the skills being learned. This also means that they can get feedback on their navigation decisions.

Eating together, even when remote can make you a better team.

    Later other practices emerged like "My turn to learn" which dealt with the issues in different ways.
In a mob or ensemble, if you find yourself speaking less than an equal amount, more, or there is inequality of voice between other members, retro on the topic or try to guide the team toward better.


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