How we start with trust and vulnerable in our developer training

· February 3, 2020

In the </salt> accelerated learning program we emphasizes learning in groups throughout the entire boot camp. We do this through the use of mob programming that is not only a great way to solve problems together but also puts learning front and center. I’ve yet to sit down with any mob and not learn a new thing (I’ve tried 40+ so far.)

But there’s a thing that needs to be in place in order for the learning to be allowed to flow freely; psychological safety. We try to create a psychological safe space through two tools:

  • Trust
  • Vulnerability

Let me, very breifly, expand on how we use this in our training.


We build trust in the mob through some different exercises, but the underlying thought is that from the great book 5 dysfunctions of a team

You trust people you know - so let’s get to know eachother well first

Therefor the first exercise we run with the teams is one from this book that I’ve written up here.


The second thing that will foster not only learning but also a psychological safe space is to dare (and be allowed) to be vulnerable within your team and the the school. Without this learning is heavily suffering.

Hence one of the first exercises of the </salt> boot camp is oral. The entire class are required to repeat after me:

I don’t know

I don’t understand.

Heck … I don’t even have the foggiest idea

When doing team-based learning (as mob programming is all about) it is paramount that everyone dares to air their questions, confusion and need for help. I’ve found that in saying it once in a big group, and in a bit of a fun way, increase the likelihood of people saying it again.

We see how the mobs that starts to share their questions with eachother early also are taking better care of each other and the understanding comes more prominent in focus, rather than finishing the exercises.


Trusting the people in your close group increase the likelihood of daring to be vulnerable.

Being vulnerable is the start of learning and sharing.

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