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Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change Paperback – 5 Oct 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (5 Oct. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201616416
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201616415
  • Product Dimensions: 18.6 x 1.1 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 312,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Kent Beck's eXtreme Programming eXplained provides an intriguing high-level overview of the author's Extreme Programming (XP) software development methodology. Written for IS managers, project leaders or programmers, this guide provides a glimpse at the principles behind XP and its potential advantages for small to mid-sized software development teams.

The book intends to describe what XP is, its guiding principles and how it works. Simply written, the book avoids case studies and concrete details in demonstrating the efficacy of XP. Instead, the author demonstrates how XP relies on simplicity, unit testing, programming in pairs, communal ownership of code and customer input on software for to motivate code improvement during the development process. As the author notes, these principles are not new, but when combined, their synergy fosters a new and arguably better way to build and maintain software. Throughout the book, the author presents and explains these principles, such as "rapid feedback" and "play to win," which form the basis of XP.

Generally speaking, XP changes the way programmers work. The book is good at delineating new roles for programmers and managers who Beck calls "coaches." The most striking characteristic of XP is that programmers work in pairs and that testing is an intrinsic part of the coding process. In a later section, the author even shows where XP works and where it doesn't, and offers suggestions for migrating teams and organizations over to the XP process.

In the afterword, the author recounts the experiences that led him to develop and refine XP, an insightful section that should inspire any organisation to adopt XP. This book serves as a useful introduction to the philosophy and practice of XP for the manager or programmer who want a potentially better way to build software. --Richard Dragan, Amazon.com

Topics covered: Extreme Programming (XP) software methodology, principles, XP team roles, facilities design, testing, refactoring, the XP software lifecycle, adopting XP.

From the Back Cover

Software development projects can be fun, productive, and even daring. Yet they can consistently deliver value to a business and remain under control.

Extreme Programming (XP) was conceived and developed to address the specific needs of software development conducted by small teams in the face of vague and changing requirements. This new lightweight methodology challenges many conventional tenets, including the long-held assumption that the cost of changing a piece of software necessarily rises dramatically over the course of time. XP recognizes that projects have to work to achieve this reduction in cost and exploit the savings once they have been earned.

Fundamentals of XP include:

  • Distinguishing between the decisions to be made by business interests and those to be made by project stakeholders.
  • Writing unit tests before programming and keeping all of the tests running at all times.
  • Integrating and testing the whole system--several times a day.
  • Producing all software in pairs, two programmers at one screen.
  • Starting projects with a simple design that constantly evolves to add needed flexibility and remove unneeded complexity.
  • Putting a minimal system into production quickly and growing it in whatever directions prove most valuable.

Why is XP so controversial? Some sacred cows don't make the cut in XP:

  • Don't force team members to specialize and become analysts, architects, programmers, testers, and integrators--every XP programmer participates in all of these critical activities every day.
  • Don't conduct complete up-front analysis and design--an XP project starts with a quick analysis of the entire system, and XP programmers continue to make analysis and design decisions throughout development.
  • Develop infrastructure and frameworks as you develop your application, not up-front--delivering business value is the heartbeat that drives XP projects.
  • Don't write and maintain implementation documentation--communication in XP projects occurs face-to-face, or through efficient tests and carefully written code.

You may love XP, or you may hate it, but Extreme Programming Explained will force you to take a fresh look at how you develop software.



0201616416B04062001

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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By michael.hanks@talk21.com on 29 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
An interesting read on the techniques that Kent Beck has found to work best when developing software. I personally wouldn't see myself adopting XP to the letter. But it does put a perspective on things and makes you doubt the way you do certain things when writing software. Developers need to be reminded that their way is not necessarily the best way and this book provides very useful ideas on how to improve your game. Most of the ideas are appealing because they clearly would make life easier in the long term, but the downside being they require significant change or investment in the short term. This book has definitely inspired me to rethink my way of working. Now all I need to do is implement those ideas...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 28 Jun. 2000
Format: Paperback
This book offers simple, crystal clear guidance on how to make small teams develop software faster with higher quality. I think ultimately the system can offer programmers an environment in which they can have a lot more fun doing their work. Following the system will, I am sure lead to participants feelling better about their work and give golden opportunities to develop new skills faster through pair programming with more experienced engineers.
I think the pair programming concept is the biggest challenge to established ideas - but it really works - I have tried it many times.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Aug. 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is the essential first primer for anyone wondering what XP is, whether evaluating it for their own project or having joined an XP team. An accessible short read that will have you looking at non-XP projects in a different light. XP and all its rules are hard to take on board particularly the more radical rules like pair programming, the planning game, and collective ownership. I haven't met anyone who has personal experience of 100% XP though everyone appears to be doing something thats "a bit like" XP, read this and see if your team really is XP then go and make it XP.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
The semi-formal introduction to managing uncertainty through an analogy with Options and their pricing was very insightful and revealing. Though brief, that section alone cogently makes the case for replacing speculative software feature building time with early product releases and customer feedback. This feedback then drives directed feature building instead. A book with many good ideas aimed at the software development manager or lead techie.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Mar. 2001
Format: Paperback
I found this a really easy book to read. Written in a style that could be rapidly understood. My only real mis-giving is that the process described just seems to be too easy. I'd like to see it work in real life before I bet my company's hard earned money on it.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By ivan_r_moore@hotmail.com on 5 Nov. 1999
Format: Paperback
Not only describes XP very well, but also explains why it works. It is full of practical and useful insights (even more so than 'The Mythical Man Month') - it's obviously the result of real experience rather than being theoretical. It deserves to become a sw development classic.
It's easy to read - much more so than the XP wiki sites - which by their nature are rather 'bitty'. Although the wiki sites contain more detailed discussions about the practices, the book explains why the practices work together.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Nov. 1999
Format: Paperback
An excellent book. Distilled programming wisdom. Provides a micro-process for software development. An excellent recipe for small hyper productive development teams.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Dec. 2001
Format: Paperback
Beck gives some very interesting arguments, and I would recommened this book to developers and managers just to hear him out and read about some interesting ideas.
Ultimately I feel XP is a great idea but just not workable in the real world. Beck himself acknowledges that a lot of projects just won't be able to use XP (e.g. fixed price, more than 10 staff on the team, projects using legacy systems and many more). I don't know about the other readers, but I have worked on many projects and none of them fit Beck's profile for an XP project.
If you find youself in the fortunate position of working on a green field project with a small and experienced team and an 'educated' customer this may work. I'd recommend Fowler's Refactoring if you want to deal with changing requirements, and any book by Steve McConnell for good advice on working on development projects. Beck is well worth reading, he knows his stuff, but I can't say this book is a 'must have'.
The bibliography is fascinating though, it certainly makes a change from the usual collection of learned by rather dry engineering texts!
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