The software engineering discipline is beleaguered by numerous wastes nicely highlighted by Mary and Tom Poppendieck in their book Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit. They have described that the seven wastes of software development are delays, handoffs, task switching, partially done work, extra features, relearning, and defects.
Pairing, Swarming, Mobbing, and Fractals are a few techniques that have been practiced to reduce the wastes in software development.
Swarming/Mobbing reduces the wastes in the software development cycle by creating a collaborative, real-time validating environment that tackles issues related to the understanding of requirements and design, hand-offs, delays, task switching, defects, and relearning.
Swarming enables knowledge sharing and real-time collaboration. Due to this, swarming has proven to be an excellent teaming technique for resolving complex issues in fast-paced organizations where results have to be demonstrated almost immediately. Swarming helps in removing bottlenecks arising out of gaps in the technical understanding (Skill, domain knowledge) and leads to a highly amplified learning environment. It reduces queues, wait time, and handoffs. Swarming raises the process efficiency due to WIP Limit, which leads to increased velocity. Fractals reduce the communication complexities in the larger teams, decrease the tendency of social loafing, and bring in increased focus and commitment.
However, the fractal construct and practicing swarming technique require a change in the work style for everyone involved. And change doesn't come easy and quickly. Teams must be coached on these constructs and practices to secure their buy-in. The change will be effective when the team feels that the change is not forced upon them.
I wish to speak on these aspects and share my experience through a case study as to how Swarming techniques when used with Fractal constructs helped in speeding up the development process and greatly increased the velocity of the scrum teams in a sustained manner.