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[XP] Re: Sizing Agile projects

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  • seidolce1960
    ... Ron, Sorry to offend you. It was meant to point out the scientific method is the basis of all credible science today. It is something most us learned a
    Message 1 of 583 , Feb 3, 2008
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      --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
      > Hello, seidolce1960. On Sunday, February 3, 2008, at 8:28:40 AM,
      > you wrote:
      > > Ron wrote:
      > >> Let me turn this question back to you, David. Are you asserting that
      > >> the only way to know something is to measure it?
      > >>
      > >> If so ... how do you know that?
      > > Yes, it is called the scientific method something most of us
      > > learned in middle school.
      > > If software professionals reject the notation of the application
      > > of the scientific method they should not be called a computer
      > > scientist or software engineer. Both of these titles imply usage
      > > of the scientific method.
      > The above sentences read as if they are intended to be a snide
      > put-down. They do not address my questions, however.
      > My first question was whether the scientific method represents, in
      > your view, the //only// way to know something.
      > As it happens, in my extended sojourn through technical education,
      > I learned a lot about the scientific method, although when I was in
      > middle school the ideas were conflated with those of alchemy, which
      > was big at the time.
      > It's worth noting that the degree called "computer science" even by
      > the highest-rated universities (mine is from Michigan), is almost
      > never based on the scientific method per se. While it might be a
      > better world if the term really implied use of the scientific
      > method, in computer science it never has and perhaps never will.
      > I also suffered through quite a lot of engineering education, and
      > nothing was further from the minds of those educators than actual
      > science. Engineering was a discipline of calculation based on
      > provided recipes values -- often giant books full of them -- not on
      > anything like the hypothesis-forming-testing approach that the
      > scientific method is popularly thought to be.
      > Finally, we might want to consider that it is the hypothesis-forming
      > aspect of the scientific method which is at once the least
      > understood and the most powerful. Science does not consist in
      > collecting a bunch of numbers and looking for patterns in them.
      > Science is about imagining what might be true and searching for
      > evidence that will tell us if it is ... or isn't.
      > Then I spent many years working in the world, trying to figure out
      > what to do and when to do it, trying to figure out what works and
      > what does not. I have come to the tentative conclusion that software
      > development, while it might rely on scientific discoveries, and
      > while it might be amenable to some kind of measurements, is
      > primarily a social activity, not a scientific one.
      > Let me underline that. Software development is primarily a social
      > activity, not a scientific or technical one. The things that all the
      > people do on a software project far outweigh in effect the technical
      > aspects of how they estimate, how they test, and so on. Those other
      > things matter, certainly, but they are at the weak end of the lever.
      > As we put it in the Agile Manifesto:
      > Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
      > Now again to my questions, please:
      > Are you asserting that the /only/ way to know something is to
      > measure it?
      > If so ... how do you know that?
      > Ron Jeffries
      > www.XProgramming.com
      > If you don't have the courage to say what you think,
      > there isn't much use in thinking it, is there?
      > --Thomas Jay Peckish II

      Sorry to offend you. It was meant to point out the scientific method is the basis of all
      credible science today. It is something most us learned a long time ago. A debate on the
      value of the scientific method is nothing but absurd.

      Of course there are other ways to know and to learn outside of the scientific method.
      There are many other ways. There are other ways to understand. But there is only one way
      to prove something that is with facts. Philosophers like Ayn Rand would disagree with me
      on this point.

      If measurement cannot not be applied to software development process, then Agile cannot
      not be proved wrong or right and neither can traditional methods.

      In hypothesis testing we set up the test, so the burden of proof is on the new method or
      treatment. The burden of proof is upon Agile to proof it is better method.

      The behavioral sciences have adopted the scientific measurement too. Psychologist
      measure behavior and they published articles. There some great article I give my students
      in Statistics. It is called "Unskilled and Unaware" and "The False Hope Syndrome" It points
      out things like, 85% of people that are obese do not think they are even overweight
      (especially males). That people are really good at convincing themselves they are doing
      fine when they are not.

      Back to my original posting which was encouraging people to measure and compare. If the
      software development process cannot not be measured as so many here maintain, then
      you can't prove or disprove Agile is a better methodology.

      On the other hand perhaps measurement is discouraged because there is a fear in having
      individuals measure their own environments.

      Again, if people are not going to adopt the scientific method, they should not label themselves a computer "scientist" or an "engineer" both scientist and engineer imply
      usage of the scientific method.

      David Longstreet
      Software Economist
    • John A. De Goes
      Hi Dale, ... Agreed. It s comparatively easy to find a source of waste and reduce it. Logically, if you didn t introduce any other form of waste whilst making
      Message 583 of 583 , Mar 6, 2008
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        Hi Dale,

        On Feb 28, 2008, at 6:00 PM, Dale Emery wrote:
        > Yeah. There's an idea tickling my brain, and slowly connecting lots of
        > other loose threads: A really good way to think about productivity
        > is not
        > to think about productivity per se, but instead about cost. In your
        > example, you've eliminated a cost, and allowed people to infer an
        > increase
        > in productivity.

        Agreed. It's comparatively easy to find a source of waste and reduce
        it. Logically, if you didn't introduce any other form of waste whilst
        making this change, then you must have increased productivity, metric
        or no.

        > Here's a half-baked idea: To some extent, each new request from an
        > existing
        > customer expresses satisfaction with our prior performance. (That
        > is, how
        > likely are they to recommend you to themselves?)

        Hmm, I'm not so sure about this. There's a certain cost associated
        with transitioning to a new provider. There's the cost of locating
        that provider, the cost of negotiations, the cost of transferring
        assets to the new provider, the cost of allocating time in the busy
        schedule of the new provider, and the ramp-up costs of the new
        provider becoming acquainted with the existing assets. All of which,
        combined, exceed by many orders of magnitude the cost of a new request
        -- even if the cost of said request is far higher than it should be,
        and its implementation leaves much to be desired.

        If a customer starts new projects with you, however, then that does
        say something about how satisfied they are with your performance.


        John A. De Goes
        N-BRAIN, Inc.
        [n minds are better than n-1]
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