on 10 December 2000
This is the first book on software planning which I've found to be an entertaining read, as well as presenting valuable information and ideas. Even better, it's short enough to read in an evening. The perspective is very much on improving the interface between techies and business people, an area which is weak in most organisations. The mood is practical (aggressively so!) rather than theoretical; this is a book which might genuinely change some of the ways we work. If it turns out that XP is not for you (it won't suit all environments, for sure) then you should at least understand it so that you reject it for the right reasons.
on 8 May 2009
This weekend I've managed to read Planning Extreme Programming by Kent Beck & Martin Fowler, I've been rather impressed by the book, the first edition is dated October 2000 so it's almost 10 years old now, in this post I'll share some notes I've taken during the reading, mostly related to the similarities with Scrum.
Kent and Fowler launched a survey on the XP mailing list asking which size of an iteration was more popular, they got only 37 replies, in these days the list has around 9000 users, with hundreds of messages every week...
Stand-ups meetings, release planning, iteration planning, concept of done: all well described here.
Have a short meeting once a day so everybody knows what's going on, and what's not.
At the end of each iteration, the whole team would gather round and watch the developers demo the work in which each had been involved in the preceding three weeks.
A story is done when the function of that story is demonstrated to the customer and the customer agrees that the functionality substantially fulfils what is expected.
There are no burn down or burn up charts, but few graphs are suggested (including Story Progress, does it sounds familiar?)
There's no backlog but the stories are prioritized and the ones with lower priority put into a drawer.
Wrap future stories with a rubber band and stick
them safely in a drawer.
Pairing is mentioned just a couple of times (I'm sure just because is implied), and the first time at half of the book.
There's even a first idea of retrospective:
If you have the ceremonial pushing of the acceptance test button
at lunch on the last Friday of the iteration, you can spend the rest of the day talking about your process.
There's no scrum master, indeed, scrum wasn't born but the tracker role sounds a lot like the SM one...
This person, the tracker, keeps an eye on which tasks are done and
how much is left on outstanding tasks.
Fine grain tracking
Last but not least there's a mention to the pomodoro technique:
(Francesco Cirillo told us he bought a half-hour kitchen timer in the shape of a tomato, so they now refer to a "six-tomato task.")
Great book, it gave me the impression that Scrum just adds some names and defines in a deeper details ideas and practises that have been written years before.
I've just started to read Agile Project Management with Scrum to better understand what Scrum really adds, XP, so far, honestly seems to me more lean than Scrum.
on 2 February 2001
If you need guidance on rolling out the "management" of extreme programming within and to organisations... Its a light read, but one that you can return to again for inspiration and courage. The stories speak to the heart of anyone who has worked on software development and wondered why it doesn't always turn out as planned...
The fundamental principle behind the XP approach to all projects and development is to use the simplest possible working interaction model. Beck & Fowler have arrived at the conclusion that simple models are the only way to scale software engineering capacity and capability. They assert that this approach will work effectively over long periods of time without introducing pathologies that kill the innovation and empowerment that are hallmarks of creativity based information industry.
Beck's hidden agenda appears to be that by building simple self-similar (benign) operational systems, which in turn produce powerful coherent behaviour; this in turn empowers and allows creativity, innovation and personal growth.