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Principles vs Practices: here we go again

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  • Charlie Poole
    Hi All, Once again, we are stepping into the perennial discussion of Principles versus Practices. Somebody has already said that those who promote the first
    Message 1 of 16 , Feb 27 4:14 PM
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      Hi All,

      Once again, we are stepping into the perennial discussion of Principles versus
      Practices. Somebody has already said that those who promote the first over
      the second are part of "the problem" - whatever problem it is. I'm sure somebody
      will soon say something similar about those who lean toward the Practices side
      of the argument.

      Here are a few things I remember from past discussions, with some suggestions...

      Pretty much nobody has taken the side of Principles without practices, at least
      not in our community. Practices without principles don't have much of
      a following
      either. Pretty much everyone here seems to think we need both.

      Therefore... I suggest that we might refrain from characterizing
      others as holding
      one or the other extreme position unless they actually claim such a position
      for themselves.

      One place where people seem to differ is in which of the two anti-patterns they
      tend to worry about most. That's an emotional response and is pretty much
      determined by individual experiences.

      Therefore... I suggest we simply accept that different folks have had different
      experiences and let it go at that.

      We could waste a lot of time on the above items, but we've already done that
      in many many prior discussions. I suggest we can do better by concentrating
      on how we introduce both principles and practices to teams, keeping in mind
      that every team is different and we have to figure out what to do first in a
      given situation, just as we have to pick the first test when we are
      writing code.

      So... I'm asking: How do you decide what to introduce first when you are
      working with a new team or a team that's new to XP?

      Charlie
    • ronjeffriesacm@gmail.com
      Hi Charlie, ... If I had my druthers, I d have the team go thru an immersion-style experience where they did all the XP practices, and where we talked all
      Message 2 of 16 , Feb 27 4:23 PM
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        Hi Charlie,

        On Feb 27, 2011, at 7:14 PM, Charlie Poole <charliepoole@...> wrote:

        > So... I'm asking: How do you decide what to introduce first when you are
        > working with a new team or a team that's new to XP?

        If I had my druthers, I'd have the team go thru an immersion-style experience where they did "all" the XP practices, and where we talked all week about what they are, how they work, and why: that is, about values and principles.

        R
      • Charlie Poole
        Hi Ron, Me too. I d say that _most_ people seem to learn best by first doing something and then exploring the reasons why it works or doesn t work, rather than
        Message 3 of 16 , Feb 27 4:39 PM
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          Hi Ron,

          Me too. I'd say that _most_ people seem to learn best by first doing
          something and then exploring the reasons why it works or doesn't work,
          rather than the other way around.

          So... are we done? Or does somebody think that won't work for their
          situation? ;-)

          Charlie

          On Sun, Feb 27, 2011 at 4:23 PM, <ronjeffriesacm@...> wrote:

          >
          >
          > Hi Charlie,
          >
          >
          > On Feb 27, 2011, at 7:14 PM, Charlie Poole <charliepoole@...> wrote:
          >
          > > So... I'm asking: How do you decide what to introduce first when you are
          > > working with a new team or a team that's new to XP?
          >
          > If I had my druthers, I'd have the team go thru an immersion-style
          > experience where they did "all" the XP practices, and where we talked all
          > week about what they are, how they work, and why: that is, about values and
          > principles.
          >
          > R
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Michael Hill
          Hi Charlie... Words of wisdom from you about how to conduct the multi-logue, as ever. ... I m pretty flexible about where we begin. That having been said, the
          Message 4 of 16 , Feb 27 5:02 PM
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            Hi Charlie...

            Words of wisdom from you about how to conduct the multi-logue, as ever.

            On Sun, Feb 27, 2011 at 7:14 PM, Charlie Poole <charliepoole@...>wrote:

            >
            > So... I'm asking: How do you decide what to introduce first when you are
            > working with a new team or a team that's new to XP?
            >
            > I'm kind of a work-for-a-living kinda guy, so when I start with a new team,
            I'm pretty flexible about where we begin.

            That having been said, the two challenges that so often confront the team
            are a) the build environment is not suitable for TDD, and b) the planning
            theater stifles open communications.

            Which of these, or both, I choose as my initial coaching story depends on a
            variety of intangible and/or intuitive beliefs I have about which one will
            give the team a success most quickly.

            Seeya!
            Hill
            http://anarchycreek.com
            Real Help for Real Coaches


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Steven Gordon
            ... It depends on the audience. If the audience is just a development team who has permission to decide how they are going to meet their responsibility to
            Message 5 of 16 , Feb 27 5:49 PM
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              On Sun, Feb 27, 2011 at 5:39 PM, Charlie Poole <charliepoole@...> wrote:
              > Hi Ron,
              >
              > Me too. I'd say that _most_ people seem to learn best by first doing
              > something and then exploring the reasons why it works or doesn't work,
              > rather than the other way around.
              >
              > So... are we done? Or does somebody think that won't work for their
              > situation? ;-)
              >
              > Charlie
              >

              It depends on the audience. If the audience is just a development
              team who has permission to decide how they are going to meet their
              responsibility to deliver working software every week or 2, then I
              absolutely agree.

              If the audience includes the business people and management people in
              the organization, then I believe it is best to start with the
              principles and values in order to get to a place where the development
              team has permission to decide how they are going to meet their
              responsibility to deliver working software every week or 2. Then, the
              development team becomes a good audience to start with the practices.
            • Charlie Poole
              Hi Steven, ... I definitely approach management differently from the dev team but I generally start with practices there as well. It s just that they are not
              Message 6 of 16 , Feb 27 6:08 PM
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                Hi Steven,

                On Sun, Feb 27, 2011 at 5:49 PM, Steven Gordon <sgordonphd@...> wrote:
                >
                >
                >
                > On Sun, Feb 27, 2011 at 5:39 PM, Charlie Poole <charliepoole@...> wrote:
                > > Hi Ron,
                > >
                > > Me too. I'd say that _most_ people seem to learn best by first doing
                > > something and then exploring the reasons why it works or doesn't work,
                > > rather than the other way around.
                > >
                > > So... are we done? Or does somebody think that won't work for their
                > > situation? ;-)
                > >
                > > Charlie
                > >
                >
                > It depends on the audience. If the audience is just a development
                > team who has permission to decide how they are going to meet their
                > responsibility to deliver working software every week or 2, then I
                > absolutely agree.
                >
                > If the audience includes the business people and management people in
                > the organization, then I believe it is best to start with the
                > principles and values in order to get to a place where the development
                > team has permission to decide how they are going to meet their
                > responsibility to deliver working software every week or 2. Then, the
                > development team becomes a good audience to start with the practices.

                I definitely approach management differently from the dev team but
                I generally start with practices there as well. It's just that they are not
                the same practices - management practices in fact. If I'm successful,
                I'll end up with management recognizing that the team needs to figure
                out how to meet it's responsibilities.

                If that doesn't work, or if it's very clear from the beginning that management
                will have to approve any process changes, I think starting from the values
                and principles is a good way to go.

                My preference is to actually say "You can't tell the team how to work." I've
                been surprised at how often that works.

                Charlie

                >
              • Curtis Cooley
                ... versus ... somebody ... side ... suggestions... ... least ... position ... they ... different ... that ... concentrating ... mind ... a ... I so did not
                Message 7 of 16 , Feb 27 6:16 PM
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                  On Feb 27, 2011 4:14 PM, "Charlie Poole" <charliepoole@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Hi All,
                  >
                  > Once again, we are stepping into the perennial discussion of Principles
                  versus
                  > Practices. Somebody has already said that those who promote the first over
                  > the second are part of "the problem" - whatever problem it is. I'm sure
                  somebody
                  > will soon say something similar about those who lean toward the Practices
                  side
                  > of the argument.
                  >
                  > Here are a few things I remember from past discussions, with some
                  suggestions...
                  >
                  > Pretty much nobody has taken the side of Principles without practices, at
                  least
                  > not in our community. Practices without principles don't have much of
                  > a following
                  > either. Pretty much everyone here seems to think we need both.
                  >
                  > Therefore... I suggest that we might refrain from characterizing
                  > others as holding
                  > one or the other extreme position unless they actually claim such a
                  position
                  > for themselves.
                  >
                  > One place where people seem to differ is in which of the two anti-patterns
                  they
                  > tend to worry about most. That's an emotional response and is pretty much
                  > determined by individual experiences.
                  >
                  > Therefore... I suggest we simply accept that different folks have had
                  different
                  > experiences and let it go at that.
                  >
                  > We could waste a lot of time on the above items, but we've already done
                  that
                  > in many many prior discussions. I suggest we can do better by
                  concentrating
                  > on how we introduce both principles and practices to teams, keeping in
                  mind
                  > that every team is different and we have to figure out what to do first in
                  a
                  > given situation, just as we have to pick the first test when we are
                  > writing code.
                  >
                  > So... I'm asking: How do you decide what to introduce first when you are
                  > working with a new team or a team that's new to XP?
                  >

                  I so did not want to start a practices vs principles discussion. If I recall
                  correctly, I said depending on the team, I might start with one or the other
                  but I certainly did not intend to leave the impression that I think either
                  is more important.

                  Of course I leave open the possibility that I do not recall correctly.


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Adam Sroka
                  ... I might have been better off not to put it that way. I have spoken to individuals who believe that good practices are emergent if your values and
                  Message 8 of 16 , Feb 27 6:39 PM
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                    On Sun, Feb 27, 2011 at 4:14 PM, Charlie Poole <charliepoole@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Hi All,
                    >
                    > Once again, we are stepping into the perennial discussion of Principles versus
                    > Practices. Somebody has already said that those who promote the first over
                    > the second are part of "the problem" - whatever problem it is. I'm sure somebody
                    > will soon say something similar about those who lean toward the Practices side
                    > of the argument.
                    >

                    I might have been better off not to put it that way. I have spoken to
                    individuals who believe that good practices are emergent if your
                    values and principles align with Agile. I have also spoken to
                    individuals who believe that principles are emergent once you start
                    practicing XP. I have seen both approaches work to some degree, and if
                    I had to pick one I would start with the XP practices and discuss the
                    principles along the way (As Ron suggested.)

                    My point in the previous thread was that neither principles nor
                    practices are emergent properties and that we have to approach both at
                    nearly the same time. I believe that highlighting one or the other is
                    a poor general solution, though it might work in some specific
                    situation. I also believe that "principles vs. practices" is a false
                    dichotomy since neither is particularly useful without the other.

                    > Here are a few things I remember from past discussions, with some suggestions...
                    >
                    > Pretty much nobody has taken the side of Principles without practices, at least
                    > not in our community. Practices without principles don't have much of
                    > a following
                    > either. Pretty much everyone here seems to think we need both.
                    >

                    Yes. Like I said I have met individuals who believe that you can start
                    with one and the other will emerge. I don't know anyone who truly
                    claims they are not both important.

                    > Therefore... I suggest that we might refrain from characterizing
                    > others as holding
                    > one or the other extreme position unless they actually claim such a position
                    > for themselves.
                    >

                    I agree.

                    FWIW, it wasn't my intent to imply that any particular individual,
                    other than myself, believed any particular thing. I was stating my own
                    position not attacking someone else's. I may have said something in
                    the abstract that made it sound like I disagreed with something, but I
                    didn't intend to go after any person in particular.

                    > One place where people seem to differ is in which of the two anti-patterns they
                    > tend to worry about most. That's an emotional response and is pretty much
                    > determined by individual experiences.
                    >
                    > Therefore... I suggest we simply accept that different folks have had different
                    > experiences and let it go at that.
                    >
                    > We could waste a lot of time on the above items, but we've already done that
                    > in many many prior discussions. I suggest we can do better by concentrating
                    > on how we introduce both principles and practices to teams, keeping in mind
                    > that every team is different and we have to figure out what to do first in a
                    > given situation, just as we have to pick the first test when we are
                    > writing code.
                    >
                    > So... I'm asking: How do you decide what to introduce first when you are
                    > working with a new team or a team that's new to XP?
                    >

                    I think it depends on where we are introduced to the organization. If
                    we are introduced through management then we probably need to first
                    educate management about why they should value the things that the
                    team(s) are doing. If we are starting with the team then it might make
                    more sense to just start doing it and talk about why we are doing it
                    along the way.
                  • Charlie Poole
                    Hi Adam, Snipping.... ... I thought about pointing out this difference in my own post but I really don t have a good enough understanding of what folks mean by
                    Message 9 of 16 , Feb 27 7:04 PM
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                      Hi Adam,

                      Snipping....

                      On Sun, Feb 27, 2011 at 6:39 PM, Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@...> wrote:
                      > I have spoken to
                      > individuals who believe that good practices are emergent if your
                      > values and principles align with Agile. I have also spoken to
                      > individuals who believe that principles are emergent once you start
                      > practicing XP.

                      I thought about pointing out this difference in my own post but I really don't
                      have a good enough understanding of what folks mean by "emergence"
                      in this context. I suspect different folks mean different things.

                      I'm pretty sure that doing XP practices won't make you suddenly value
                      Simplicity, Feedback, etc. if you didn't hold them as values
                      initially. Similarly,
                      I don't think that all teams with the right values will re-invent XP practices
                      automatically.

                      When I've asked folks for details about emergence, it often has amounted
                      to what you and I are calling introducing both practices and values gradually
                      and at the same time.

                      Anyway, notions of emergence are valuable to those who want to
                      construct theories of organizational change, not so much to coaches.

                      > FWIW, it wasn't my intent to imply that any particular individual,
                      > other than myself, believed any particular thing. I was stating my own
                      > position not attacking someone else's. I may have said something in
                      > the abstract that made it sound like I disagreed with something, but I
                      > didn't intend to go after any person in particular.

                      FWIW, nothing in my post was intended as a shot against any particular
                      person either. :-)

                      > > So... I'm asking: How do you decide what to introduce first when you are
                      > > working with a new team or a team that's new to XP?
                      > >
                      >
                      > I think it depends on where we are introduced to the organization. If
                      > we are introduced through management then we probably need to first
                      > educate management about why they should value the things that the
                      > team(s) are doing. If we are starting with the team then it might make
                      > more sense to just start doing it and talk about why we are doing it
                      > along the way.

                      I agree that what we do with management and what we do with the
                      team itself are necessarily going to be different. My general feeling
                      is that it's outside the scope of either the values or the practices of
                      XP in most cases.

                      Charlie
                    • Chet Hendrickson
                      Hello Charlie, ... suddenly makes a the difference here. My experience was that doing the practices caused me to embrace the values. This is an example of
                      Message 10 of 16 , Feb 28 7:43 AM
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                        Hello Charlie,

                        Sunday, February 27, 2011, 10:04:54 PM, you wrote:

                        > Hi Adam,

                        > Snipping....

                        > On Sun, Feb 27, 2011 at 6:39 PM, Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@...> wrote:
                        >> I have spoken to
                        >> individuals who believe that good practices are emergent if your
                        >> values and principles align with Agile. I have also spoken to
                        >> individuals who believe that principles are emergent once you start
                        >> practicing XP.

                        > I thought about pointing out this difference in my own post but I really don't
                        > have a good enough understanding of what folks mean by "emergence"
                        > in this context. I suspect different folks mean different things.

                        > I'm pretty sure that doing XP practices won't make you suddenly value
                        > Simplicity, Feedback, etc. if you didn't hold them as values
                        > initially.

                        'suddenly' makes a the difference here. My experience was that doing
                        the practices caused me to embrace the values. This is an example of
                        the notion of behaving yourself into a new way of thinking. My guess
                        is you can start at either end and mostly reach the other. Some, but
                        not all, of the practices can be discovered in this way.




                        > Similarly,
                        > I don't think that all teams with the right values will re-invent XP practices
                        > automatically.

                        > When I've asked folks for details about emergence, it often has amounted
                        > to what you and I are calling introducing both practices and values gradually
                        > and at the same time.

                        > Anyway, notions of emergence are valuable to those who want to
                        > construct theories of organizational change, not so much to coaches.

                        >> FWIW, it wasn't my intent to imply that any particular individual,
                        >> other than myself, believed any particular thing. I was stating my own
                        >> position not attacking someone else's. I may have said something in
                        >> the abstract that made it sound like I disagreed with something, but I
                        >> didn't intend to go after any person in particular.

                        > FWIW, nothing in my post was intended as a shot against any particular
                        > person either. :-)

                        >> > So... I'm asking: How do you decide what to introduce first when you are
                        >> > working with a new team or a team that's new to XP?
                        >> >
                        >>
                        >> I think it depends on where we are introduced to the organization. If
                        >> we are introduced through management then we probably need to first
                        >> educate management about why they should value the things that the
                        >> team(s) are doing. If we are starting with the team then it might make
                        >> more sense to just start doing it and talk about why we are doing it
                        >> along the way.

                        > I agree that what we do with management and what we do with the
                        > team itself are necessarily going to be different. My general feeling
                        > is that it's outside the scope of either the values or the practices of
                        > XP in most cases.

                        > Charlie

                        >


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                        --
                        Best regards,
                        Chet Hendrickson mailto:lists@...
                        Check out our upcoming CSM Plus courses @
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                      • Steven Gordon
                        On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 8:43 AM, Chet Hendrickson ... Even a totally new coachless Scrum team not trained in XP practices would not have to discover these
                        Message 11 of 16 , Feb 28 7:58 AM
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                          On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 8:43 AM, Chet Hendrickson
                          <lists@...> wrote:
                          > Hello Charlie,
                          >
                          > Sunday, February 27, 2011, 10:04:54 PM, you wrote:
                          >
                          >> Hi Adam,
                          >
                          >> Snipping....
                          >
                          >> On Sun, Feb 27, 2011 at 6:39 PM, Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@...> wrote:
                          >>> I have spoken to
                          >>> individuals who believe that good practices are emergent if your
                          >>> values and principles align with Agile. I have also spoken to
                          >>> individuals who believe that principles are emergent once you start
                          >>> practicing XP.
                          >
                          >> I thought about pointing out this difference in my own post but I really don't
                          >> have a good enough understanding of what folks mean by "emergence"
                          >> in this context. I suspect different folks mean different things.
                          >
                          >> I'm pretty sure that doing XP practices won't make you suddenly value
                          >> Simplicity, Feedback, etc. if you didn't hold them as values
                          >> initially.
                          >
                          > 'suddenly' makes a the difference here.  My experience was that doing
                          > the practices caused me to embrace the values.  This is an example of
                          > the notion of behaving yourself into a new way of thinking.  My guess
                          > is you can start at either end and mostly reach the other.  Some, but
                          > not all, of the practices can be discovered in this way.
                          >

                          Even a totally new coachless Scrum team not trained in XP practices
                          would not have to "discover" these practices. They are easily found
                          on the internet, if they are looking for solutions to the problems
                          they are running into trying to deliver high quality software every 2
                          weeks.

                          The key is that they would have had to bought into the values and
                          principles sufficiently to be reflecting on their current development
                          issues and care enough to search for candidate solutions.
                        • Charlie Poole
                          Hi Chet, On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 7:43 AM, Chet Hendrickson ... That s interesting to me. Don t you think you were at least pre-disposed towards those
                          Message 12 of 16 , Feb 28 8:08 AM
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                            Hi Chet,

                            On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 7:43 AM, Chet Hendrickson
                            <lists@...> wrote:
                            >> I'm pretty sure that doing XP practices won't make you suddenly value
                            >> Simplicity, Feedback, etc. if you didn't hold them as values
                            >> initially.
                            >
                            > 'suddenly' makes a the difference here.  My experience was that doing
                            > the practices caused me to embrace the values.  This is an example of
                            > the notion of behaving yourself into a new way of thinking.  My guess
                            > is you can start at either end and mostly reach the other.  Some, but
                            > not all, of the practices can be discovered in this way.

                            That's interesting to me. Don't you think you were at least pre-disposed
                            towards those particular values? It's hard for me to imagine that someone
                            who truly valued - for example - complexity for its own sake would be
                            likely to change to valuing simplicity by following the practices. Of course,
                            someone with such a disposition might be unlikely to follow the practices
                            in the first place.

                            I do agree that there comes a point when everything - the practices,
                            principles, values - just clicks. It was certainly that way for me. But I
                            found the values to coincide pretty well with things I had always
                            believed, so it wasn't so much of a conversion as a realization.

                            Charlie
                          • Charlie Poole
                            Hi Steven, ... Although you were responding to Chet, it was I who first used discover. Sometimes, I think I have carefully picked the perfect word, but then
                            Message 13 of 16 , Feb 28 8:13 AM
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                              Hi Steven,

                              On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 7:58 AM, Steven Gordon <sgordonphd@...> wrote:
                              > Even a totally new coachless Scrum team not trained in XP practices
                              > would not have to "discover" these practices. They are easily found
                              > on the internet, if they are looking for solutions to the problems
                              > they are running into trying to deliver high quality software every 2
                              > weeks.

                              Although you were responding to Chet, it was I who first used "discover."

                              Sometimes, I think I have carefully picked the perfect word, but then
                              it turns out not to be so for other people. :-( I used "discover" rather
                              than "invent" to mean exactly what you are describing. In spite of
                              the fact that they are easily found, many teams simply do not
                              discover these solutions.

                              > The key is that they would have had to bought into the values and
                              > principles sufficiently to be reflecting on their current development
                              > issues and care enough to search for candidate solutions.

                              Yes, and to not reject certain solutions out of hand as being
                              inapplicable to their situation.

                              Charlie
                              >
                            • ronjeffriesacm@gmail.com
                              Hi, Steven, ... I encounter too many teams who are stuck and who do not turn to these practices, to be comfortable believing that they will in fact find them.
                              Message 14 of 16 , Feb 28 8:44 AM
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                                Hi, Steven,

                                On Feb 28, 2011, at 10:58 AM, Steven Gordon <sgordonphd@...> wrote:

                                > Even a totally new coachless Scrum team not trained in XP practices
                                > would not have to "discover" these practices. They are easily found
                                > on the internet, if they are looking for solutions to the problems
                                > they are running into trying to deliver high quality software every 2
                                > weeks.

                                I encounter too many teams who are stuck and who do not turn to these practices, to be comfortable believing that they will in fact find them.
                                >
                                > The key is that they would have had to bought into the values and
                                > principles sufficiently to be reflecting on their current development
                                > issues and care enough to search for candidate solutions.

                                But, you see, to buy into the values and principles, one often needs to experience their effects in action. They are not, despite my wishing otherwise, intuitively obvious.

                                I believe that mindful practice can allow for a growing understanding of what is going on. I believe that even if the values and principles are held, today's "pretty good" practices are not obviously practical even when teams have heard of them. Few, if any, people seem to get TDD right on their own.

                                In practice(!), I would introduce both, as already described. If I had to introduce only one, I would start with practice, as it delivers benefit immediately, and reinforces itself. But as some have pointed out already, this is a false dichotomy. We can always present and work with both, moving back and forth as the moment requires.

                                R
                              • Steven Gordon
                                My experience agrees with yours. I was quibbling with the word discover, which I read as equivalent to invent. Teams should easily be able to find articles on
                                Message 15 of 16 , Feb 28 10:26 AM
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                                  My experience agrees with yours.

                                  I was quibbling with the word discover, which I read as equivalent to
                                  invent.

                                  Teams should easily be able to find articles on the internet that make the
                                  case that TDD addresses the exact problems they are experiencing. Learning
                                  to do TDD effectively is indeed quite a different story than learning that
                                  it exists and appears useful.

                                  On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 9:44 AM, <ronjeffriesacm@...> wrote:

                                  >
                                  >
                                  > Hi, Steven,
                                  >
                                  >
                                  > On Feb 28, 2011, at 10:58 AM, Steven Gordon <sgordonphd@...> wrote:
                                  >
                                  > > Even a totally new coachless Scrum team not trained in XP practices
                                  > > would not have to "discover" these practices. They are easily found
                                  > > on the internet, if they are looking for solutions to the problems
                                  > > they are running into trying to deliver high quality software every 2
                                  > > weeks.
                                  >
                                  > I encounter too many teams who are stuck and who do not turn to these
                                  > practices, to be comfortable believing that they will in fact find them.
                                  >
                                  > >
                                  > > The key is that they would have had to bought into the values and
                                  > > principles sufficiently to be reflecting on their current development
                                  > > issues and care enough to search for candidate solutions.
                                  >
                                  > But, you see, to buy into the values and principles, one often needs to
                                  > experience their effects in action. They are not, despite my wishing
                                  > otherwise, intuitively obvious.
                                  >
                                  > I believe that mindful practice can allow for a growing understanding of
                                  > what is going on. I believe that even if the values and principles are held,
                                  > today's "pretty good" practices are not obviously practical even when teams
                                  > have heard of them. Few, if any, people seem to get TDD right on their own.
                                  >
                                  > In practice(!), I would introduce both, as already described. If I had to
                                  > introduce only one, I would start with practice, as it delivers benefit
                                  > immediately, and reinforces itself. But as some have pointed out already,
                                  > this is a false dichotomy. We can always present and work with both, moving
                                  > back and forth as the moment requires.
                                  >
                                  > R
                                  >


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • Adam Sroka
                                  ... Yes. The only caveat I would add is that I often see teams try to avoid things that appear difficult even if they recognize the potential value. So, you
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Feb 28 10:45 AM
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                                    On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 10:26 AM, Steven Gordon <sgordonphd@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > My experience agrees with yours.
                                    >
                                    > I was quibbling with the word discover, which I read as equivalent to
                                    > invent.
                                    >
                                    > Teams should easily be able to find articles on the internet that make the
                                    > case that TDD addresses the exact problems they are experiencing. Learning
                                    > to do TDD effectively is indeed quite a different story than learning that
                                    > it exists and appears useful.
                                    >

                                    Yes. The only caveat I would add is that I often see teams try to
                                    avoid things that appear difficult even if they recognize the
                                    potential value. So, you end up with some variation of "TDD is great,
                                    but it won't work here, because..." And it becomes clear (usually
                                    quickly) that someone saw it as a good idea and someone else nipped it
                                    in the bud because it appeared too hard. There is a lot of work
                                    involved in doing something like TDD. You can introduce the basic
                                    Scrum framework in a few days, but actually doing TDD well takes
                                    months of practice (at least.)

                                    Going back to my martial arts analogy, effective techniques aren't
                                    "discovered" because there is a lot of physical training involved.
                                    People will stick to what is familiar to them. They will synthesize by
                                    combining things that they already know in innovative ways, but it is
                                    rare to see something new. Usually you need someone who knows what
                                    they are doing to walk you through it several times. Then you need to
                                    practice it *a lot*. Only then is there much of a chance that you'll
                                    be able to use it.

                                    There is an emotional element involved as well (in both disciplines.)
                                    What people think will work for them is largely driven by their
                                    individual identity. You don't /really/ find out what works for you
                                    until you test it (e.g. in the ring, or by creating working software
                                    with it.) That can be a very sobering experience, because sometimes
                                    you find out that you suck at the things you thought you were good at,
                                    and you need to improve in ways that weren't even on your radar.
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