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122589Let's make things worse...

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  • Willem Bogaerts
    Sep 8, 2006
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      Imagine a death march project. You are way behind schedule. You have to
      deliver _something_ now. Anything. Or your client will rightfully walk
      away without paying. Oh, and you know that your client will not accept
      what you deliver. You deliver mainly to buy time. He will very clearly
      tell you what is wrong. And then you'll have to deliver something again,
      but something better. He may call it off if this one feature does not
      work right....

      Sounds awful. But somehow also very familiar. This is the point where
      waterfall projects get shorter releases. Where the customer's voice gets
      more important than the design document written by the development
      company. Where communication is painfully clear and quite frequent.
      Where it becomes clear that it is the customer who decides if the work
      is accepted, not some document.

      So let's see a software project as in your worse nightmares. Assume
      every project to become a never-ending story. And unpredictable. And,
      instead of becoming a farmer or something, you keep on doing those
      horrible IT projects.
      Now if you _know_ that it is a never-ending story, you would probably
      adopt some very agile tactics: you'd split the project (and the payment)
      up in chunks. You'd make acceptation a condition for further
      development. And if the customer always has something to complain, make
      him watch you, so he can't complain afterwards that it is "obviously" wrong.

      So I can see an agile method as a homeopathic treatment of a software
      project. It is worsening the symptoms to stimulate the self-healing

      This line of thought could explain aversion against XP with managers.
      Those managers would try anything in the world to suppress the symptoms
      of a never-ending story, as soon as possible, to cure it.

      So instead of best practices turned to the extreme, I sometimes see XP
      as a preparation for the worst.

      ... 'cause then it can only get better.

      Best regards,
      Willem Bogaerts
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