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Re: Scrum, and Revolution

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  • Rob Myers
    Hi, Kay, et al, ... Most of my first-person XP success stories involve avoiding horrors, so I m not sure if they meet your criteria. When I joined Jim Shore
    Message 1 of 167 , Dec 15 1:59 PM
      Hi, Kay, et al,

      --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "Kay" <tranzpupy@...> wrote:

      > So anybody have tales of software horrors that were *solved* by agile practices??
      >
      > Kay Pentecost

      Most of my first-person XP success stories involve avoiding horrors, so I'm not sure if they meet your criteria. When I joined Jim Shore in 2001, he had already switched the team to XP, and had apparently solved many quality and throughput issues caused by up-front design and manual testing. Occasionally I would encounter some unrefactored early designed-up-front code; but for the most part the code was a delight to work in, and practically defect-free.

      I have some great first-person stories about how teams using XP practices with pride and self-discipline were able to create big, rapid wins for the stakeholders (I call them "Black Swan user-stories"). I've summarized them in the link, below, and intend to elaborate someday on my blog.

      http://www.quora.com/Does-test-driven-development-TDD-really-improve-software-quality/answer/Rob-Myers

      Yes, the emphasis is on TDD, but all of these teams included pairing, CI, etc. I find that when you start to tug at TDD, you find that CI and pairing are connected to it. When you start to engage in all three (or four, if you count TDD as two of the XP practices: test-first and merciless refactoring), then phased software development starts to look more and more ridiculous, and a Scrum or Kanban wrapper for visualizing and prioritizing the work leaves you with Extremely (Valuable) Programming. ;-)

      Two other places to look for XP success stories are at Menlo Innovations in Ann Arbor, MI (Richard Sheridan will gladly give you a tour and describe their successes), and Pivotal Labs in San Francisco (Rob Mee is not a vocal promoter of process, preferring to quietly use XP to build phenomenal software for a variety of clients).

      Both shops were built around the premise that XP practices actually work, and their growth and successes are testament to that. Now, they're also experienced and savvy businessmen, so I'd say that XP is necessary but not sufficient to handle Black Swan user-stories.

      I hope that helps.

      Happy Holidays!

      Rob


      Rob Myers
      Rob.Myers@...
      Twitter: @agilecoach
      http://www.agileInstitute.com/
    • Tom Rossen
      Rob, Thanks for your kind offer. I am currently gainfully employed - until Feb. 2, when my current contract runs out. Northern Trust renewed it as many times
      Message 167 of 167 , Dec 30 8:02 PM
        Rob,

        Thanks for your kind offer. I am currently gainfully employed - until Feb.
        2, when my current contract runs out. Northern Trust renewed it as many
        times as they could, but there's a hard limit of 1.5 years.

        Re the high-performing teams: it's funny, but I really think I prefer
        working with an organization that's struggling with Agile. I'm extremely
        curious as to why XP practices, which seemed so obvious and satisfying when
        I first read Kent Beck's book years ago, are so frustrating for developers
        and managers who aren't used to them and didn't volunteer for them. I was
        rather seriously burned on my previous engagement when the company was
        acquired by a conglomerate and the policy of openness to Agile suddenly
        evaporated, so my insistence on TDD - which no longer seems as doomed as it
        would have been just a year ago, based on what I'm seeing now in the
        Chicago area - is protection against that sort of thing.

        So I'm curious about the high-performing teams you mention - at least in
        the Chicago area: I don't intend to relocate or commute a long distance (I
        worked in Madison, WI for several years after the dot-com-bomb wiped out
        the Chicago market - not a fun commute).

        Tom


        On Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 2:30 PM, Rob Myers <rob.myers@...>wrote:

        > **
        >
        >
        > Tom,
        >
        > Thanks for the supportive reply!
        >
        >
        > > 35 years in my case, and amen! Here's a snippet from the cover letter
        > I've
        > > been sending out recently:
        >
        > Tom, if you are not currently gainfully employed, I can point you to a few
        > truly high-performing teams across the country. They are in the minority,
        > as most software/IT organizations struggle to change those
        > command-and-control cultures, and to foster passion and creativity in both
        > Product and Development areas.
        >
        > > *I just thought of an analogy to explain why I am so single-minded about
        >
        > > TDD. Suppose you need an operation and you're looking for a hospital to
        > do
        > > it. A major hospital sends you a wonderful brochure explaining how
        > > successful they are, what a high-tech surgical suite they have,, etc.,
        > etc.
        > > But when you call up and ask them whether the surgeons wash their hands
        > > before operating, they say, "Why would we want to do that?" Oh yes,
        > > surgery was practiced for centuries before surgeons ever scrubbed up -
        > it's
        > > a great tradition. But I don't think you'd want to have anything to do
        > with
        > > a hospital like that. That's how I feel about TDD. It's a matter of
        > > funda**mental
        > > software hygiene. *
        >
        > It's a perfect analogy. Scott Bain uses this in his book /Emergent Design/
        > as one example of how software development is similar to surgery. (Aside:
        > Apologies if I popped an original-idea bubble: So often I find I think of
        > something original, only to spot it in a blog post the next day. It's the
        > Newton-Leibniz Effect ;-) The medical field provides an analogy that gets
        > us much farther than bridge-building. Of course, no analogy is perfect, but
        > I often find myself thinking "Doctor, it hurts when I do *this*!" ;-)
        >
        > Happy Holidays!
        >
        >
        > Rob
        >
        > Rob.Myers@...
        > Twitter: @agilecoach
        > http://www.agileInstitute.com/
        >
        >
        >


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