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Re: [XP] Accounting for the Value of incomplete work.

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  • Steven J. Owens
    Hi guys, ... For some reason this comment brought to mind the discussion last month about needing to be a really good deveopler to execute XP. I ll abstain
    Message 1 of 59 , Sep 30, 2005
      Hi guys,

      On Fri, Sep 30, 2005 at 06:59:51PM -0400, Ron Jeffries wrote:
      > > Anyway I digress, but I think you can see where the confusion and
      > > uncertainty come from. It's hard to argue with tests, and without
      > > them things are difficult.
      > Very much so. I see the customer acceptance tests as a key part of
      > the discipline of Agile software development.

      For some reason this comment brought to mind the discussion last
      month about needing to be a really good deveopler to execute XP. I'll
      abstain from judging the ability levels of "most developers", but
      something occurred to me that may make a good counter-example of why
      though XP requires cultivating strong habitual XP practices (aka
      Alistair's "high discipline"), XP is in fact _less_ dependent on high
      skills/abilities of the developers.

      The following isn't explained as clearly as I'd like, but I was
      reading Ron's comment above, and trying to think of how we'd do
      executable acceptance tests, and what kind of overhead it would add to
      the company, and what kinds of problems it would catch. We don't do
      acceptance testing; I'm not sure if we _could_ do acceptance testing
      usefully. Some of this is due to the nature of our product; we're not
      quite all the way to the shrink-wrap end of the spectrum, but more to
      that extreme than to the "internal IT project" extreme.

      Regardless, functional tests would certainly be good, and I'd
      like to add them. But I don't think they'd have prevented any of the
      few "acceptance-y" problems we've encountered in the past three years,
      where a feature got in front of the end-user and it turned out that
      wasn't what they really needed. On the other hand, part of why we've
      avoided most of the typical tug-of-war is (even if I do say so myself)
      that we've focused on really good communication, investigation, and
      incremental design (a combination of "simplest thing" and "most
      business value", applied iteratively to each feature).

      I can see _that_ process being something that would fall apart if
      this was being performed by developers with poorer
      communication/investigation/design skills. I wonder what other XP
      practices we could examine from that perspective.

      On an unrelated note:

      > RJ>> However, a wise man once pointed out to me that if a good team plans
      > RJ>> too little work, nothing bad will happen. They'll get done early,
      > RJ>> ask for more work, and get it done too. That makes for a nice happy
      > RJ>> surprise.

      This topic came up just moments ago (in the context of explaining
      the "yesterday's weather" principle). What made it click for the
      explainee was when I said "bizfolk are generally a lot happier about
      the person who produces 80 widgets a week like clockwork, than with
      the person whose average output is 120 widgets a week, but it randomly
      bounces between 40 widgets and 240 widgets."

      Steven J. Owens

      "I'm going to make broad, sweeping generalizations and strong,
      declarative statements, because otherwise I'll be here all night and
      this document will be four times longer and much less fun to read.
      Take it all with a grain of salt." - http://darksleep.com/notablog
    • Kay A. Pentecost
      Hi, Ramon, and Everybody, I d like to apologize for being a little defensive and rude in the message you responded to. It doesn t do any good to be aware of
      Message 59 of 59 , Oct 8, 2005
        Hi, Ramon, and Everybody,

        I'd like to apologize for being a little defensive and rude in the message
        you responded to.

        It doesn't do any good to be aware of verbal abuse if I'm going to abuse
        people with it. <wry smile>.

        Just for future reference, a "backhanded compliment" is not a compliment,
        but an insult that pretends to be an insult.

        Here's some examples:

        "You did really well on the test, for someone as stupid as you are."
        "That's a really pretty dress. It covers up your figure flaws."
        "Nice programming job. I wish you'd think that clearly more often."

        Kay Pentecost

        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
        > [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Ramon Leon
        > Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2005 3:38 PM
        > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: RE: [XP] Re: Accounting for the Value of incomplete work.
        > > > Context is everything, words are meaningless without it,
        > > and the word
        > > > idiot in the original context was not an insult, it was a
        > > backhanded
        > > > compliment.
        > >
        > > I agree. Have you checked the meaning of the phrase
        > > "backhanded compliment"?
        > >
        > > You keep using that word. I do not think it means, what you
        > > think it means.
        > It means exactly what I meant it to mean.
        > > > You seem more concerned with the choice of words than with the
        > > > intended message, but language isn't about words, it's about
        > > > communication, listen to what was said, now how it was said, and
        > > > assume good faith, you'll find things less insulting.
        > >
        > > Thank you for your concern over my response to things, and
        > > your instruction for my future behavior.
        > >
        > > FWIW, I didn't find it insulting. I was offering my
        > > (somewhat educated) viewpoint.
        > Well, seems that educated viewpoint is causing you some communication
        > troubles, but that's OK, us uneducated folk seem to understand each
        > other just fine!
        > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
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