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Re: [XP] Re: OT - Same "stupid" arguments, and old methodologies--Cindee Andres

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  • Ron Jeffries
    ... Hi Cindee ... it s nice to hear from you. I hope that Kent will pass this reply on to you. ... I fondly hope that I m neither confused nor jealous. In
    Message 1 of 125 , Feb 1, 2005
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      On Tuesday, February 1, 2005, at 2:53:56 AM, Kent Beck wrote:

      > A message from Cindee:

      > As I am not a member of this list, I asked Kent for the opportunity to
      > respond to Ron's recent post with regard to myself.

      Hi Cindee ... it's nice to hear from you. I hope that Kent will pass
      this reply on to you.

      > Ron:

      > Kent Beck came up with the definition and application of XP that you have
      > used and publicly valued for many years. We have just released a new and
      > hopefully clearer version of that definition and application. From your
      > recent post it appears that you are confused about and jealous of my role in
      > the writing of the new edition of Extreme Programming Explained.

      I fondly hope that I'm neither confused nor jealous. In setting up
      the dichotomy I'll return to below, I referred in an early paragraph
      to the two of you as the authors. In a subsequent paragraph, I said
      something about having programmed with Kent, and I wanted to
      preserve the parallelism only to make clear where I had learned what
      I learned from him (and, if I recall the paragraph clearly, from
      others).

      > My role in the writing of this book was mainly editorial; pushing for
      > clarity, thoroughness, supported claims, logic, sensible progressions and
      > groupings, flow and word choice. Though the many spirited discussions and
      > marked up proofs that passed between us did make for a better book, only a
      > few of the better examples came from me. The ideas expressed, the voice and
      > the body of the book are Kent's. This was not easy work, but I think the
      > results were worth the effort.

      They were well worth the effort. We don't know each other well, but
      I believe that I can see the effects of your work, and your spirit,
      in there. No one else could have contributed what you have to the
      book, and to Kent. Honestly it would not enter my mind that I could
      make much of a contribution to Kent's vision. He has made great
      contributions to my vision, and I take responsibility for whatever
      good and not so good I've done with that.

      > It seems to me that you are setting up a false dichotomy: either XP is
      > Kent's definition and therefore worthless or everybody's definition and
      > therefore valuable. Neither of these is necessarily true. The word "cold" is
      > defined by Webster in the dictionary. However, though it may mean something
      > very different in absolute temperature to someone in Norway than it does to
      > someone in the Phillipines (or even between me and my best friend), that
      > does not change the value of the concept defined by Webster as "cold".

      I am not, certainly not, saying that Kent's definition is worthless.
      It's precious. I also didn't say that everyone's was valuable; I'm
      pretty sure I said that theirs was also worthless in the same sense
      that Kent's is: SOLELY as a hard definition.

      I am indeed setting up a dichotomy, and it may well be false, though
      I don't think so. I am saying, as you suggest I am, that either XP
      is Kent's definition, or it is that of the community.

      However I'm saying that /neither/ Kent's nor the community's
      definition is a definition of XP that is useful for answering
      specific questions like these:

      Is this team right here doing XP or not?

      If a team were doing such and so, would they still be doing XP?

      I hold questions like those to be unanswerable. I'll try, perhaps,
      to address that further in another note. I think that similar but
      different questions are answerable, such as:

      How might this team right here improve their situation in a way
      that's consistent with XP?

      What role might practice such and so have in a team that was
      trying to work in XP style?

      An early poster in this thread seemed to me to be looking for hard
      answers to IS / IS NOT questions, and I was trying to express that
      my belief is that there are none and that they are not the most
      valuable questions one might ask. To at least some parts of the
      readership, I seem not to have done a very good job of expressing
      that.

      Now again, XP, whatever it is, is most valuable, and Kent's and your
      contribution to XP and the community are unparalleled. I admire
      Kent's and your work greatly and value it personally.

      My concern in the posting is only with the value of any of XP's
      various written descriptions, /as hard definitions/ of what is or is
      not "XP". I may be quite wrong, but I do not think there can be that
      kind of a definition of it. As you suggest, whether it is cold here
      in Michigan depends on the individual. I think it's getting warm,
      but that's because I was here last week.

      To me, it's like that with XP. Very valuable ideas, differently
      understood and applied, and no real way of uncovering whether
      anyone's understanding or actions are "XP". And I could be wrong
      about that: perhaps there is a hard definition of IS / IS NOT for
      XP. If there is, I don't know it, and I'd like to.

      But value? XP is of immense value and it wouldn't exist without
      Kent, and it wouldn't be the same at all without you.

      > You have not coded with me, nor will you ever, because I don't code. I am a
      > social scientist, not a programmer. I have been observing software
      > communities and individuals for more than 20 years now. Some have found my
      > insights useful in their work. I find people ever so much more interesting
      > and complex than the code they write.

      I suspected that you did not code, but did not know. In any case I
      was just holding the parallelism in my construction, because when I
      wrote the paragraph without you in it it seemed to me that you had
      mysteriously disappeared. From our few and brief meetings, I'm sure
      that if I were ever lucky enough to work with you, I'd learn a lot.
      Over the years that I've known Kent, he has often referred to you
      and the things he has learned from you that have enriched his life
      and his thoughts about the work.

      I'm sorry if my parallel construction caused you any distress. Early
      on, I included your name intentionally to recognize explicitly your
      contribution to the second edition, and then perhaps did not find a
      graceful way to unwind that reference. No "slant" of any kind was
      intended.

      > Thank you for this opportunity to clarify my position with regard to
      > software development and XP in particular.

      Thanks for doing so. I hope that this clarifies that my intention
      was only to address the possible existence of a hard definition for
      IS / IS NOT regarding XP. To me, XP and you two's work is of immense
      value.

      Ron Jeffries
      www.XProgramming.com
      It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare,
      it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. --Seneca
    • Edmund Schweppe
      ... With appropriate reference to Kay Pentecost and her appreciation for humorous posts, as well as to your own well-known automotive preferences, might I
      Message 125 of 125 , Feb 15, 2005
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        Ron Jeffries wrote:

        > I much prefer to be in close accord with
        > those I respect.

        With appropriate reference to Kay Pentecost and her appreciation for
        humorous posts, as well as to your own well-known automotive
        preferences, might I humbly suggest that he who wishes to be in close
        Accord not drive BMWs?

        --
        Edmund Schweppe -- schweppe@... -- http://schweppe.home.tiac.net
        The opinions expressed herein are at best coincidentally related to
        those of any past, present or future employer.
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