If Pair Programming is two people working together on a single problem at the same time (pre-Covid, Pairing meant sitting side by side with one computer), then Swarming takes Pairing to the next level, with three or more people working on a problem together.
Most teams discover Swarming as they approach the end of the Sprint with multiple Sprint Backlog Items in progress. If it’s clear that not all items will get to ‘Done’, they start to swarm one or two items at a time to complete them.
More effective teams learn to swarm all items, so a team of six people might only have two items in progress at one time. Each item gets worked on by several people collaboratively until it gets to ‘Done’. Beware, Swarming is often a gateway drug to Ensemble Programming.
Scrum by Example – Overtime on a Scrum Team is an Unhealthy Sign – Swarming would have helped, just a bit.
Scrum by Example – The Story of an Incomplete Sprint – the classic example that should lead to a team discovering Swarming.
- The Kanban Story: Swarming
- Swarming: A Team-based Approach to Getting Work Done
- Swarm: Beyond pair, beyond Scrum
- Swarming: One-Piece Continuous Flow
- How Swarming Helps Agile Teams to Deliver
Agile Engineering Practices
Mark Levison has been helping Scrum teams and organizations with Agile, Scrum and Kanban style approaches since 2001. From certified scrum master training to custom Agile courses, he has helped well over 8,000 individuals, earning him respect and top rated reviews as one of the pioneers within the industry, as well as a raft of certifications from the ScrumAlliance. Mark has been a speaker at various Agile Conferences for more than 20 years, and is a published Scrum author with eBooks as well as articles on InfoQ.com, ScrumAlliance.org an AgileAlliance.org.
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