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Re: [XP] Re: Real change

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  • yahoogroups@jhrothjr.com
    From: Keith Braithwaite To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 20 4:03 PM
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      From: "Keith Braithwaite"
      To: "extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com"
      Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2005 12:56 PM
      Subject: [XP] Re: Real change

      > --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "jhrothjr" <yahoogroups@j...>
      > wrote:
      >> Mary Poppendieck just posted a real interesting link on the Lean
      >> Software Development mailing list. I'm copying it here because I think
      >> it says something that really needs to be said about the difference
      >> between "improvement programs" and a complete shift in perspective.
      >> If you read between the lines carefully, it's also the start of an
      >> answer to the question: "Are you really doing XP?"
      > You know, it looks a bit to me as if Kent has kind of pulled a fast one
      > with XP. As
      > described in XPE 1 it's a largely a process for technologists, and a good
      > one: Alistair (I
      > think it was) said somewhere that XP is nearly unique amongst
      > methodologies in that it
      > pretty much works as advertised out of the box.

      Actually, all of the Agile methods work "out of the box" to the
      extent that you actually do short cycles with **production quality
      deployables** at the end of each cycle. The difference with XP
      is that it says how to do the software construction, while the rest
      of them pretty much leave that up in the air.

      As Mary and Tom say in "Lean Software Development", the
      entry point that always works is fixed length iterations. Short,
      fixed length iterations.

      > But when a team starts applying those
      > practices and the benefits start to accrue, what happens is that late,
      > over budget deliveries
      > of low-quality software get more and more rare.
      > In organisations that make their money from anything with a hefty software
      > component
      > this means that the constraint on money making moves very clearly away
      > from
      > development. Often, shoddy development really is the constraint, or else
      > can be made to
      > look like the constraint. But when the well tested, on specification
      > software keeps on
      > arriving with the customer on time, every time, iteration after iteration,
      > product and
      > account managers with ropey looking revenue figures suddenly have nothing
      > to hide their
      > own poor practice behind, and no whipping boy to take their punishment for
      > poor
      > performance.
      > It looks to me as if what agile development does is to put developers on a
      > firm footing of
      > competence and trustworthiness so that they can even start to have serious
      > converstations
      > with business. XP goes beyond that and makes the development team (now
      > respected by
      > the business) agents of change: the things an XP team asks of its
      > sponsoring business,
      > and the things that an XP team will resist the sponsoring business doing
      > introduce all
      > sorts of forces into that business. And so the conversation that
      > developers have with the
      > business becomes a very interesting one indeed. The change in emphasis
      > away from hard-
      > core technical stuff in XPE 2 seems to reflect this.
      > I think that a lot of business can't tolerate agile development, their
      > organisational immune
      > systems will reject it. If those businesses depend on software, then they
      > will fail in the
      > market. Some business that can tolerate agile development still won't be
      > able to tolerate
      > XP. But the ones that can, can use an XP team as the catalyst and lever
      > for driving amazing
      > cultural shifts right through their business, very much in a lean,
      > humanist, civilized
      > direction. As this unfolds the next few years are going to be fascinating.

      The point the article I referenced was trying to make is that it's a
      paradigm shift (a vastly overused word, I know) and it takes firm
      leadership and a substantial amount of time to shift the organizational
      culture so that the people actually "get it".

      One of the things that people frequently miss when they try to compare XP
      and Lean is that very few companies run a manufacturing operation as an
      internal department to something else. Manufacturing companies tend to be
      exactly that.

      While there are a lot of software companies, there are also a lot of
      software operations that are parts of other companies. It's very
      difficult for a captive operation to turn the rest of the operation
      around. It's easiest to turn a software consultancy around, and it's
      next easiest to turn a company whose product is software around.

      Where it does happen it's because the management already
      knows that they're in deep trouble, and are becoming highly
      suspicious of the "flavor of the month" improvement programs
      that the snake oil consultancies are selling.

      John Roth

      > Keith
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