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Re: [XP] challenge questions

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  • Robert Biddle
    My main aim was to identify the questions that would reasonably be asked about agile, so we could gather evidence. Part of my motivation comes from experience
    Message 1 of 15 , Jul 26, 2007
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      My main aim was to identify the questions that would reasonably
      be asked about agile, so we could gather evidence.

      Part of my motivation comes from experience with people in industry who
      are skeptical because too much of what they read about agile is
      clearly argument and advocacy, either in general, or for people
      promoting their own services.

      By "evidence", I was meaning to include a wide range, but I did
      mean something other than our arguments. Our course, many of our
      arguments are based on our experiences, but if so then I want to the
      experience to be documented.

      So, I would include people's blog entries or web articles.
      There is also the "agile narratives" program:

      There are magazine articles.
      There are also experience reports at the XP and Agile conferences.
      And there are research papers, at the XP and Agile conferences.

      I was also thinking maybe those questions would help index all those
      articles, and set an agenda for more to be written.


      J. B. Rainsberger wrote:
      > Robert Biddle wrote:
      >> But my aim was not to get quick answers for these questions, but rather
      >> to suggest we collect convincing examples and experience that provide
      >> evidence on which to base the answers.
      > I find this difficult to do, because so much of the convincing examples
      > and experience are in the small--they come too quickly for me to spend
      > time writing about them, and they're too personal for people to care
      > about them. I've been trained by others not to bother.
      > I do tell a story about what convinced me that TDD worked well. I find
      > it compelling enough that I put it in the introduction to my book. Is
      > the kind of thing you're suggesting we collect?
      > -----
      > If you have ever met me, either online or in person, then
      > perhaps you have heard me tell this story.
      > I was working on a large project at the IBM labs in
      > Toronto. It was in the middle of the year 2000, long
      > after the Y2K craze had ended, and I had spent nearly
      > three months working on a component scheduled for
      > delivery in about one month. The defects were coming in
      > steadily from our testing department, and each fix was
      > just another patch on top of an increasingly disgusting
      > Big Ball of Mud. It was around that time that I read a
      > draft of Extreme Programming Installed, by Ron Jeffries,
      > Ann Anderson, and Chet Hendrickson. With the help of the
      > Internet, this draft led me to www.junit.org, where I
      > learned about this great new tool for testing Java code,
      > called JUnit. Within minutes I knew this would help my
      > cause.
      > Soon after this, I marched into my manager’s office and
      > announced that there was no way I would be able to patch
      > the existing code to fix the remaining defects in time to
      > deliver. The code had become too complicated to
      > understand. I could not predict how many new defects I
      > would inject while fixing the ones we knew about. We
      > simply were not getting feedback quickly enough. “Send me
      > home,” I told him, “and let me write it all again from
      > scratch. I’ll use JUnit to test it as I go. It will
      > work.” He did. When it came down to it, what choice did
      > he have?
      > Even before I knew how to use JUnit effectively, I
      > rewrote three months’ worth of code in nine long days,
      > with JUnit by my side. What had originally taken well
      > over 500 hours of effort and didn’t work had been rebuilt
      > in about 100 hours, including a suite of over 125 tests.
      > That was enough for me—I was hooked on JUnit.
      > -----
      > Take care.
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