#MobWhiteboarding – It´s MobProgramming for your group sessions at the whiteboard

Ever heard of MobWhiteboarding? If not; don´t worry, we invented the name and I will try to explain it in this blog post.

But maybe you have heard of the super hot MobProgramming movement? MobProgramming intends to spread knowledge within a group from one person to many, by letting one person do the actual typing on a big screen, and the rest of the group watch and tell him or her what to write. It may sound crazy, but at least for us its a great tool to have in our toolbox, and we have had great success in implementing MobProgramming.

So what is MobWhiteboarding then?

The other day we were sitting down in a meeting and a colleague tried to explain the topology of our new Docker cluster. As you normally do, the colleague stood up by the whiteboard and started drawing boxes and explaining everything to the group. I started saying polite things like “yes”, “aha” and “I understand” at most. Had this been an other day I would have forgotten most of the information in an hour, and not really understood what he told us.

This time we did it in an other way. I took the pen and started acting as a drawing proxy (Driver in MobProg) . Trying to draw what my colleague tried to explain. It turns out that if you try to draw something like a topology from what some one tells you, you have to ask relevant question; “Is there a load balancer on port 443, or is it on the other machine?”, “How does this relate to that? How do they communicate?”. Suddenly the whole group was engaged and had a pretty deep understanding of the topology, just like when we do MobProgramming. We explained it together!

We have done this a couple of times since then, and I am still surprised how much more I get out of a session at the whiteboard.

I give you the name: MobWhiteboarding

Ok, this might be something other people already do, but I have never heard of it and it really works out for us. So I gave it a name: MobWhiteboarding. I hope we are on to something with this …

Please let me know what you learn if you try #MobWhiteboarding.

/ Patric

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