That’s right, I do give a mob workshop called “Learning to Learn in a Mob”. The idea is to answer the following questions: What if you introduce a new technology no one in the mob had worked with before? What if you suddenly need knowledge in the team that nobody has? Does mobbing still prove to be an efficient way of learning in that case?
We had this very situation in my team two years ago. The one person that had set up our whole infrastructure left the company, and we had the huge task of moving everything to Kubernetes and AWS. No one knew how to do it, and we wanted to avoid such a bottleneck again, so we did it together as a mob.
The mob session that evolved from my personal experience is an experiment by nature, and with each group results might differ. The underlying hypothesis is the following:
“We believe that learning ____________ as a mob will result in valuable hands-on knowledge within a short time.
We’ll know we have succeeded when we have noted down ____ new insights within ____min of mobbing.”
To fill in the blanks, we first collect topics that people wanted to learn about yet never did. We filter out any topic where someone on the mob already has experience or knowledge, then the mob votes on their chosen topic. Then I ask them to guesstimate how many insights they will have within the time we have for mobbing.
While the mob is working on their chosen challenge, they gather any insight anyone has in the group on a board. After the agreed time is over we debrief their findings and do a short retro how things went.
As facilitator it’s amazing to observe the mob. Usually people need a bit of support to get things going, as people either never worked on a mob before or at least not in that constellation. Also usually, I can retreat to the back of the room quickly, ready to help them further in case needed. I use this time to take notes of my own observations, and the insights people have and even express yet might not realize themselves. It’s amazing to hear all the “oohs” and “aahs”, to see them frown, lean forward or back, to observe the evolving mob dynamic, and in well-working constellations see energy and laughter filling the room.
I have to say, it’s one of my most favorite mob sessions to facilitate! And I’m always learning so much myself.