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RE: [XP] Discipline

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  • Gareth Reeves
    Will whoever scoffed at discipline please return their XP card... The most effective form of punishment comes from peers. If you have team members who are
    Message 1 of 25 , Jul 11, 2001
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      Will whoever scoffed at discipline please return their XP card...

      The most effective form of punishment comes from peers. If you have team
      members who are checking crap in then you want the rest of the team who are
      working their butts off to check in good code, to get on the case of the
      developers who are not. Start off subtle, gently explain the pain that it
      inflicts on the rest of the team then get less and less subtle until it
      stops. If you have to, eventually take away their access to the repository.

      Refactoring is less straightforward and frankly it is something that most if
      not all teams suffer with. Again, I think that peer pressure is the best way
      to deal with it.

      I think that your observations about discipline are right on. In fact, it is
      my favorite thing about XP.

      Gareth
    • Martin Wegner
      Is there some reason that PairProgramming has not appealed to the better angels of their nature? ... __________________________________________________ Do You
      Message 2 of 25 , Jul 11, 2001
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        Is there some reason that PairProgramming has not appealed to the better
        angels of their nature?

        --- Brian Christopher Robinson <brian@...> wrote:
        > One of the biggest complaints I've heard about XP in specific and agile
        > methodologies in general is that they require more discipline from
        > developers that old school methodologies. People here have generally
        > scoffed at this idea and I've gone along with that, but I'm beginning to
        >
        > realize that most of the problems we've encountered on our current XP
        > project are precisely because of a lack of discipline.
        >
        > I can trace our problems back to two things. The first is not running
        > all
        > unit tests before a check in. This happens somewhat frequently, maybe
        > once
        > a week, and it invariably results in things that at best won't compile
        > and
        > at worst require major overhaul without the context of the person who
        > made
        > the original change. The second thing is a lack of refactoring. In an
        > attempt to just get things done it seems that I'll often find code that
        > is
        > quite smelly even rotten. Code that works but that is obscure and
        > obfuscated. Being one of the strong proponents of XP here it usually
        > comes
        > down to me to end up refactoring this stuff.
        >
        > I work with a bright group of guys who I consider to be about average on
        >
        > the discipline curve and I wonder if that it just a little too little
        > for
        > XP to be really successful, or at least to gain all the benefits that XP
        >
        > offers. But maybe I am missing something else and the discipline thing
        > is
        > a red herring. Thoughts?
        >
        >
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      • azami@speakeasy.net
        ... agile ... generally ... beginning to ... XP ... Actually, what I ve seen here is that most XPers claim it is a high-discipline methodology. ... thing is
        Message 3 of 25 , Jul 11, 2001
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          --- In extremeprogramming@y..., Brian Christopher Robinson
          <brian@d...> wrote:
          > One of the biggest complaints I've heard about XP in specific and
          agile
          > methodologies in general is that they require more discipline from
          > developers that old school methodologies. People here have
          generally
          > scoffed at this idea and I've gone along with that, but I'm
          beginning to
          > realize that most of the problems we've encountered on our current
          XP
          > project are precisely because of a lack of discipline.

          Actually, what I've seen here is that most XPers claim it is a
          high-discipline methodology.

          > But maybe I am missing something else and the discipline
          thing is
          > a red herring. Thoughts?

          Are you pairing? My very limited XP experience has been with Solo XP
          - basically, test-first design and refactoring - and it does demand a
          tremendous amount of discipline, actually, more than I seem to have on
          my own :-). It's HARD to be merciless in refactoring, and to keep the
          tests hypersmall, and to not do ANY coding until you have a test that
          shows you need it.

          But I sense strongly that if I were able to pair with someone, it
          would become a lot easier to be disciplined. I look forward to
          finding out for sure.

          -Matthew
          azami@...
        • Dossy
          ... I m guessing here, but I think I can trace your problems back to one thing: Your team isn t pair programming for all production code/changes. Yes, working
          Message 4 of 25 , Jul 11, 2001
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            On 2001.07.11, Brian Christopher Robinson <brian@...> wrote:
            > I can trace our problems back to two things.

            I'm guessing here, but I think I can trace your problems back to
            one thing:

            Your team isn't pair programming for all production code/changes.

            Yes, working alone requires immense amounts of self-discipline,
            which for a lot of us humans is hard to come by. However, we seem
            to be wired just right so that some of us derive even pleasure out
            of disciplining others, so pair programming gives us a legitimized
            way out for our need to be Dom's sometime.

            Of course, there may be a problem if two sub's pair together,
            but if your Coach is a good Dom, you shouldn't have much problems
            with that.

            - Dossy

            --
            Dossy Shiobara mail: dossy@...
            Panoptic Computer Network web: http://www.panoptic.com/
          • Brian Christopher Robinson
            One of the biggest complaints I ve heard about XP in specific and agile methodologies in general is that they require more discipline from developers that old
            Message 5 of 25 , Jul 11, 2001
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              One of the biggest complaints I've heard about XP in specific and agile
              methodologies in general is that they require more discipline from
              developers that old school methodologies. People here have generally
              scoffed at this idea and I've gone along with that, but I'm beginning to
              realize that most of the problems we've encountered on our current XP
              project are precisely because of a lack of discipline.

              I can trace our problems back to two things. The first is not running all
              unit tests before a check in. This happens somewhat frequently, maybe once
              a week, and it invariably results in things that at best won't compile and
              at worst require major overhaul without the context of the person who made
              the original change. The second thing is a lack of refactoring. In an
              attempt to just get things done it seems that I'll often find code that is
              quite smelly even rotten. Code that works but that is obscure and
              obfuscated. Being one of the strong proponents of XP here it usually comes
              down to me to end up refactoring this stuff.

              I work with a bright group of guys who I consider to be about average on
              the discipline curve and I wonder if that it just a little too little for
              XP to be really successful, or at least to gain all the benefits that XP
              offers. But maybe I am missing something else and the discipline thing is
              a red herring. Thoughts?
            • Miroslav Novak
              Hi, I would like to add to the bevy of response regarding applying, enforcing or otherwise instilling discipline in your team. The suggestions regarding
              Message 6 of 25 , Jul 11, 2001
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                Hi,

                I would like to add to the bevy of response regarding applying, enforcing or
                otherwise instilling discipline in your team.
                The suggestions regarding automation are all valuable ways to reinforce
                self-discipline because it is impartial feedback, and it can be very
                private.
                It allows one to shape-up with taking an ego hit.

                On the other hand, I have a question. When you are doing the refactoring of
                the smelly/rotten code, who are you pairing with?
                I hope it is one of the authors of that code. They need to eat their own
                dog food, so to speak. Either they will feel the pain, or share your pain,
                as you both try complete subsequent tasks upon this previous code. This is
                a kind of passive peer-pressure. Your pair will learn to 'view the code
                through maintenance-coloured glasses' while with you. Let them feel the
                full effect of letting their team "down", without anyone actually having to
                say it.

                IMHO peer-pressure has a lot more to do with "not letting the team down"
                than with "pushing the team to new heights". The latter is usually
                addressed in leadership, esprit de corps, morale, etc.

                Cheers,


                Miroslav Novak
                1-403-247-3030 p/f
                1-403-560-6171 c

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Brian Christopher Robinson [mailto:brian@...]
                Sent: Wednesday, 11 July 2001 09:15
                To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [XP] Discipline

                One of the biggest complaints I've heard about XP in specific and agile
                methodologies in general is that they require more discipline from
                developers that old school methodologies. People here have generally
                scoffed at this idea and I've gone along with that, but I'm beginning to
                realize that most of the problems we've encountered on our current XP
                project are precisely because of a lack of discipline.

                I can trace our problems back to two things. The first is not running all
                unit tests before a check in. This happens somewhat frequently, maybe once
                a week, and it invariably results in things that at best won't compile and
                at worst require major overhaul without the context of the person who made
                the original change. The second thing is a lack of refactoring. In an
                attempt to just get things done it seems that I'll often find code that is
                quite smelly even rotten. Code that works but that is obscure and
                obfuscated. Being one of the strong proponents of XP here it usually comes
                down to me to end up refactoring this stuff.

                I work with a bright group of guys who I consider to be about average on
                the discipline curve and I wonder if that it just a little too little for
                XP to be really successful, or at least to gain all the benefits that XP
                offers. But maybe I am missing something else and the discipline thing is
                a red herring. Thoughts?


                To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...

                To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...

                Don't miss XP UNIVERSE, the first US conference on XP and Agile Methods.
                see www.xpuniverse.com for details and registration.

                Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
              • J. B. Rainsberger
                ... It s true: XP requires discipline. It requires true team players who understand and buy in to the notion that if everyone just follows the rules, then
                Message 7 of 25 , Jul 11, 2001
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                  >One of the biggest complaints I've heard about XP in specific and agile
                  >methodologies in general is that they require more discipline from
                  >developers that old school methodologies. [...]

                  It's true: XP requires discipline. It requires true team players who
                  understand and buy in to the notion that if everyone just follows the rules,
                  then everyone wins.

                  >I can trace our problems back to two things. The first is not running all
                  >unit tests before a check in. [...] The second thing is a lack of
                  >refactoring. [...]

                  These could be discipline issues or they could be skills issues.

                  In the case of unit tests, either the integraters don't know how to run the
                  tests, don't know how to configure the machine to run the tests or don't
                  realize why it's imporant to run the tests. This is a knowledge/skills
                  issue. It also may be that they figure it's a waste of their time. This is a
                  discipline issue.

                  In the case of refactoring, either the developers don't know how to
                  refactor, don't know how to refactor in the particular case in front of them
                  or don't know why they should refactor. This is knowledge/skills. It also
                  may be that they figure it's a waste of their time. This is discipline.

                  If there are skills problems, then they need to pair up differently. They
                  need to pair with more skilled developers until their skills have improved.

                  If there are discipline problems, then they need to be reminded that they
                  can't get away with the things they used to get away with. If they don't
                  understand that their job has new responsibilities, explain it to them. If
                  they then don't accept that their job has new responsibilities, then they
                  may have a legitimate complaint. Management then has to decide whether the
                  developers deserve more for their efforts or they should be reprimanded for
                  not doing their job.

                  Whenever my job description changes, I like to know all about it and I like
                  to question whether I should be rewarded more for it. Management may well
                  convince me that I don't; I may well convince them that I do.

                  Maybe you could approach this with, "We have had a lot of problems
                  integrating and I think it's because the tests aren't being run often
                  enough. Are they too slow? too difficult to run? Why aren't we running the
                  tests more often?" You may get a surprising answer.

                  JBR.
                  _________________________________________________________________________
                  Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://www.hotmail.com
                • Brian C. Robinson
                  ... In terms of refactoring/code quality pair programming doesn t help. We re working in C++ but everyone but me has the body of his experience in other
                  Message 8 of 25 , Jul 11, 2001
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                    At 09:46 AM 7/11/01, you wrote:
                    >Is there some reason that PairProgramming has not appealed to the better
                    >angels of their nature?

                    In terms of refactoring/code quality pair programming doesn't help. We're
                    working in C++ but everyone but me has the body of his experience in other
                    languages (C for most). So the biggest refactoring problem is usually
                    "object orientifying" the code. We're getting better on this but there is
                    definitely a "just get it to work" attitude.
                  • Brian C. Robinson
                    ... This is a good idea. I will try to do this in the future.
                    Message 9 of 25 , Jul 11, 2001
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                      At 01:56 PM 7/11/01, you wrote:
                      >On the other hand, I have a question. When you are doing the refactoring of
                      >the smelly/rotten code, who are you pairing with?
                      >I hope it is one of the authors of that code.

                      This is a good idea. I will try to do this in the future.
                    • Martin Wegner
                      It is possible for PairProgramming to help in refactoring, both in the actual act ( two heads are better than one ) and in spreading the religion ( see how
                      Message 10 of 25 , Jul 11, 2001
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                        It is possible for PairProgramming to help in refactoring, both in the
                        actual act ("two heads are better than one") and in spreading the religion
                        ("see how refactoring makes us work faster"). That is why PairProgramming
                        is one of the tenets of XP: it helps raise all of the boats by creating a
                        team atmosphere. Hence the BetterAngels.

                        Of course, YMMV.


                        --- "Brian C. Robinson" <brian.c.robinson@...> wrote:
                        > At 09:46 AM 7/11/01, you wrote:
                        > >Is there some reason that PairProgramming has not appealed to the
                        > better
                        > >angels of their nature?
                        >
                        > In terms of refactoring/code quality pair programming doesn't help.
                        > We're
                        > working in C++ but everyone but me has the body of his experience in
                        > other
                        > languages (C for most). So the biggest refactoring problem is usually
                        > "object orientifying" the code. We're getting better on this but there
                        > is
                        > definitely a "just get it to work" attitude.
                        >
                        >
                        > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
                        >
                        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                        > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
                        >
                        > Don't miss XP UNIVERSE, the first US conference on XP and Agile Methods.
                        > see www.xpuniverse.com for details and registration.
                        >
                        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to
                        > http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
                        >
                        >


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                      • Ron Jeffries
                        A long time ago, someone brought up the notion that XP requires great discpline . If I recall correctly, Kent Beck responded that he thought not. At the time,
                        Message 11 of 25 , Apr 16, 2005
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                          A long time ago, someone brought up the notion that XP "requires
                          great discpline". If I recall correctly, Kent Beck responded that he
                          thought not. At the time, again if I recall correctly, I felt that
                          it did require discipline.

                          Now I'm not so sure. First, let's look at some definitions.

                          1. Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of
                          behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental
                          improvement.

                          2. Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training;
                          self-control.

                          3.
                          a. Control obtained by enforcing compliance or order.

                          b. A systematic method to obtain obedience: a military discipline.

                          c. A state of order based on submission to rules and authority: a
                          teacher who demanded discipline in the classroom.

                          4. Punishment intended to correct or train.

                          5. A set of rules or methods, as those regulating the practice of a
                          church or monastic order.

                          6. A branch of knowledge or teaching.

                          Now if I recall the context, the speaker was suggesting definition
                          2, that XPers must behave in a controlled way derived from
                          disciplinary training, using self control. There was probably a
                          sense of all the the 3 definitions in there as well. The idea was
                          that XP is hard because you have to exhibit great discipline, i.e.
                          self control, to stay with it.

                          Let me go through the whole list here and comment, and then perhaps
                          sum up, or perhaps just wait for comments. Responders split the
                          topic if you wish.

                          -----------------------------------------------------------------
                          1. Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of
                          behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental
                          improvement.

                          There is certainly a training or learning aspect to XP, and there
                          are certainly patterns of behavior, such as would follow from the
                          values and other notions, such as the openness / honesty dimension
                          that seems to be embedded in the accountability notion we've been
                          talking about.

                          There are many skills to XP, and many of them we have to learn. We
                          learn primarily through practice (I would argue) and when learning
                          we may have to apply self control to keep ourselves practicing and
                          learning.

                          2. Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training;
                          self-control.

                          After the training, though -- and this is the main point I was
                          reflecting on -- the practices do not seem to require great
                          discipline. They seem natural, so long as we are operating within
                          our skill region.

                          For example, I don't have to discipline myself much any more to
                          write a test, /in those areas where I'm skilled at testing/. I do
                          have to push hard to test a GUI, or to work with FIT to do an
                          acceptance test, because I'm less practiced there. I suspect that
                          if I were to use discipline to learn those areas better, then I
                          would not need so much discipline in the course of the work.

                          3.
                          a. Control obtained by enforcing compliance or order.

                          b. A systematic method to obtain obedience: a military discipline.

                          c. A state of order based on submission to rules and authority: a
                          teacher who demanded discipline in the classroom.

                          These all have in common a sense of obedience to rules and
                          authority. This has never been part of XP as I understand it, though
                          I would freely grant that often I have tried to "get people to do
                          it". That wasn't because I enjoy giving orders; I do not, nor do I
                          imagine that I have any authority anyway. It was because somehow I
                          felt that people need to practice in order to learn.

                          Even so, no matter how much I or someone else might urge people just
                          to try it, I don't think any of us imagines that we can command
                          people to do XP and get good results. Only when they embrace it can
                          we get good results. (I could be wrong -- if you do imagine that,
                          let's talk about it.)

                          Anyway, I think this definition is right out.

                          4. Punishment intended to correct or train.

                          No. XP is not punishment. That would be RUP. :)

                          5. A set of rules or methods, as those regulating the practice of a
                          church or monastic order.

                          Well, hmm. XP Version 1 is a lot like a set of rules or methods. But
                          I think they are really practices, skills, etudes as Kent once put
                          it. Not rules to follow, as in chastity, poverty, and obedience, but
                          rituals to do, from which to learn.

                          6. A branch of knowledge or teaching.

                          Yes, it seems to me that XP is one of these.
                          -----------------------------------------------------------------

                          So, to the point. I just put those definitions in because of late we
                          seem to be using the same word in different ways. I'm thinking of
                          the meanings around self control and obedience.

                          To me, XP does not require that kind of discipline in operation, as
                          I am doing XP. When I do XP it feels natural, so long as I have the
                          skills to do it.

                          When I don't have the skills to do it, basically I don't do it at
                          all, or at best I do it very poorly and without comfort. But mostly
                          I just don't do it: I don't test what I can't test.

                          And building the skills ... that takes discipline for me. It always
                          has. In school, I excelled at the things I found interesting, and
                          was terrible at the things I did not, because I did not apply myself
                          to subjects I wasn't interested in. I did the minimum work to get a
                          decent grade, never dug in for full understanding. At the time --
                          and even now -- it seemed the logical thing to do. There's an
                          infinite amount of stuff we need to know, and we have only finite
                          time. So maybe it makes sense to work on the things we love.

                          The result, though, is that when we face the world, which works best
                          when we have the right moves ingrained in us, there will be places
                          where we haven't applied ourselves with discipline, we do not have
                          the skills, and our moves will be slow, awkward, uncomfortable ...
                          and not very effective. The world will rise up and whack us in these
                          situations, and we might take that as a clue that we would profit
                          from applying a little discipline, so as to build the skill that
                          makes XP not require much discipline at all.

                          Your thoughts?

                          Ron Jeffries
                          www.XProgramming.com
                          I'm giving the best advice I have. You get to decide whether it's true for you.
                        • Ian Collins
                          ... ... Very true. Once people learn something that saves them form pain, no discipline is required to use it. I learned at a very
                          Message 12 of 25 , Apr 16, 2005
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                            Ron Jeffries wrote:

                            >A long time ago, someone brought up the notion that XP "requires
                            >great discpline". If I recall correctly, Kent Beck responded that he
                            >thought not. At the time, again if I recall correctly, I felt that
                            >it did require discipline.
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            <interesting stuff snipped>

                            >After the training, though -- and this is the main point I was
                            >reflecting on -- the practices do not seem to require great
                            >discipline. They seem natural, so long as we are operating within
                            >our skill region.
                            >
                            Very true.

                            Once people learn something that saves them form pain, no discipline is
                            required to use it. I learned at a very tender age that if I picked up
                            a piece of metal that came out of a fire I burnt my fingers. I learned
                            at at a much later age that if I ship some code without tests, it will
                            burn my fingers...

                            We take the path that causes less pain, it will take discipline to learn
                            the path, but once learned, the instinct for self preservation takes over.

                            Ian
                          • acockburn@aol.com
                            Hi, Ron This discipline discussion is going to be a bit tricky. Not that I disagree with the dictionary definitions, but rather that there is something
                            Message 13 of 25 , Apr 17, 2005
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                              Hi, Ron

                              This discipline discussion is going to be a bit tricky. Not that I disagree
                              with the dictionary definitions, but rather that there is something lurking
                              under those definitions that gets into the story. And that something is
                              something along the lines of discomfort or disagreeable ... that the word
                              discipline in its nature drags along some notion of things being uncomfortable or
                              disagreeable --- after all, if it is comfortable and agreeable, it won't take
                              discipline to do it, would it? It would just be fun and comfortable, and that
                              doesn't mesh with our notions around the word discipline.

                              Choose to disagree here.

                              e.g., People tell me that it must take a lot of discipline to work out of a
                              coffee shop as I do. They are thinking that they might just stay in bed all
                              day, or read the paper at the coffee shop. So they are thinking that I must
                              have some way of forcing myself to go down there every day, open up my laptop,
                              and type articles and books.

                              From my perspective, however, writing is fun, and the coffee shop
                              envioronment is agreeable. I do have to pay attention that I make progress, but on the
                              other hand, I get bored if I don't make progress, so that's not hard.

                              Therefore from my perspective, working out of the coffee shop doesn't take
                              discipline, although I do it regularly and sometimes for long and late hours.
                              But for some people who look at the lifestyle, it seems to them that it must
                              take discipline. What I can guess is that they are seeing some level of
                              "push myself to do something uncomfortable or disagreeable" in the situation.

                              e.g., Other people I know go and do an hour's swimming or jogging at 5 a.m.
                              It would take wild horses to get me out of bed at 5 a.m. to go do exercise, so
                              I say to them, "That must take a great deal of discipline." Typically they
                              smile and say, "That's the only time of the day I have" or "I'm a morning
                              person". Some of them don't see the "discipline" there.

                              What I am seeing in their situation is the discomfort of getting our of bed
                              when I'd like to sleep longer.

                              e.g., I used to not be able to do swim practices by myself - needed a coach
                              on deck. Just at the moment, however, I'm training for 3 specific events at
                              the Master's Nationals that don't fit into their training regime. So I go and
                              do a mile of e.g. butterfly all by myself, and other nasty tortures I used to
                              never be able to do. However, I'm so focused on my meet that I only see the
                              damage of missing my workouts and not the discomfort of obliging myself to do
                              the workout. Once the meet is past, I expect I shall be completely unable to
                              go and make myself do those trainings.

                              As I would speak about it, right now it doesn't take "discipline" because I
                              want it so badly. After the meet it will take "discipline" because the
                              discomfort level will rise up high enough to fit that word.

                              Now your posting...

                              As I read your and others' postings, I notice this same pattern: /after/ you
                              have gone through the training period and are in your zone of familiar
                              behavior, holding to the consistency aspects of XP (test-first, always passing
                              unit tests, aggressive refactorings, pair programming) does not take special
                              energy or discomfort (as the coffee shop example above).

                              Other people have posted that they see the damage from not doing it and so
                              don't mind doing it (as the swimming example above).

                              And so gets the tricky part of the discussion... once it is natural,
                              comfortable, valuable, then in some way we wouldn't commonly apply the phrase "it
                              takes discipline" to it. If that holds, then we use the word discipline to
                              mean "to people in the training phase, who perhaps don't yet see the benefit,
                              and haven't integrated it into their normal activities." ---- And now here's
                              the trick : isn't everything like this? What doesn't take discipline?

                              ... well, ok, eating ice cream after dinner every Sunday night probably
                              doesn't take a lot of discipline. Daily standups don't seem to require a lot of
                              discipline; monthly retrospectives maybe take a bit more but not a lot ... how
                              do we decide internally that something has crossed the line and "takes
                              discipline to do."?

                              I still think XP takes discipline to do (per definitions 2 and 3 from your
                              list) ... introspecting, I find that I am looking at what it takes to get
                              people over the hump from not doing to doing; their level of resistance to acting
                              the practices with consistency. I don't include in the word "discipline"
                              those people for whom this has become second nature or somehow don't see
                              discomfort in the practices - a catch-22 definition! except there are plenty of
                              people who do see discomfort when they look at XP practices.

                              Alistair



                              In a message dated 4/17/2005 11:18:13 A.M. Mountain Daylight Time,
                              extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com writes:


                              Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2005 19:34:33 -0400
                              From: Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...>
                              Subject: Discipline

                              A long time ago, someone brought up the notion that XP "requires
                              great discpline". If I recall correctly, Kent Beck responded that he
                              thought not. At the time, again if I recall correctly, I felt that
                              it did require discipline.

                              Now I'm not so sure. First, let's look at some definitions.

                              1. Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of
                              behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental
                              improvement.

                              2. Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training;
                              self-control.

                              3.
                              a. Control obtained by enforcing compliance or order.

                              b. A systematic method to obtain obedience: a military discipline.

                              c. A state of order based on submission to rules and authority: a
                              teacher who demanded discipline in the classroom.

                              4. Punishment intended to correct or train.

                              5. A set of rules or methods, as those regulating the practice of a
                              church or monastic order.

                              6. A branch of knowledge or teaching.

                              Now if I recall the context, the speaker was suggesting definition
                              2, that XPers must behave in a controlled way derived from
                              disciplinary training, using self control. There was probably a
                              sense of all the the 3 definitions in there as well. The idea was
                              that XP is hard because you have to exhibit great discipline, i.e.
                              self control, to stay with it.

                              Let me go through the whole list here and comment, and then perhaps
                              sum up, or perhaps just wait for comments. Responders split the
                              topic if you wish.

                              -----------------------------------------------------------------
                              1. Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of
                              behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental
                              improvement.

                              There is certainly a training or learning aspect to XP, and there
                              are certainly patterns of behavior, such as would follow from the
                              values and other notions, such as the openness / honesty dimension
                              that seems to be embedded in the accountability notion we've been
                              talking about.

                              There are many skills to XP, and many of them we have to learn. We
                              learn primarily through practice (I would argue) and when learning
                              we may have to apply self control to keep ourselves practicing and
                              learning.

                              2. Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training;
                              self-control.

                              After the training, though -- and this is the main point I was
                              reflecting on -- the practices do not seem to require great
                              discipline. They seem natural, so long as we are operating within
                              our skill region.

                              For example, I don't have to discipline myself much any more to
                              write a test, /in those areas where I'm skilled at testing/. I do
                              have to push hard to test a GUI, or to work with FIT to do an
                              acceptance test, because I'm less practiced there. I suspect that
                              if I were to use discipline to learn those areas better, then I
                              would not need so much discipline in the course of the work.

                              3.
                              a. Control obtained by enforcing compliance or order.

                              b. A systematic method to obtain obedience: a military discipline.

                              c. A state of order based on submission to rules and authority: a
                              teacher who demanded discipline in the classroom.

                              These all have in common a sense of obedience to rules and
                              authority. This has never been part of XP as I understand it, though
                              I would freely grant that often I have tried to "get people to do
                              it". That wasn't because I enjoy giving orders; I do not, nor do I
                              imagine that I have any authority anyway. It was because somehow I
                              felt that people need to practice in order to learn.

                              Even so, no matter how much I or someone else might urge people just
                              to try it, I don't think any of us imagines that we can command
                              people to do XP and get good results. Only when they embrace it can
                              we get good results. (I could be wrong -- if you do imagine that,
                              let's talk about it.)

                              Anyway, I think this definition is right out.

                              4. Punishment intended to correct or train.

                              No. XP is not punishment. That would be RUP. :)

                              5. A set of rules or methods, as those regulating the practice of a
                              church or monastic order.

                              Well, hmm. XP Version 1 is a lot like a set of rules or methods. But
                              I think they are really practices, skills, etudes as Kent once put
                              it. Not rules to follow, as in chastity, poverty, and obedience, but
                              rituals to do, from which to learn.

                              6. A branch of knowledge or teaching.

                              Yes, it seems to me that XP is one of these.
                              -----------------------------------------------------------------

                              So, to the point. I just put those definitions in because of late we
                              seem to be using the same word in different ways. I'm thinking of
                              the meanings around self control and obedience.

                              To me, XP does not require that kind of discipline in operation, as
                              I am doing XP. When I do XP it feels natural, so long as I have the
                              skills to do it.

                              When I don't have the skills to do it, basically I don't do it at
                              all, or at best I do it very poorly and without comfort. But mostly
                              I just don't do it: I don't test what I can't test.

                              And building the skills ... that takes discipline for me. It always
                              has. In school, I excelled at the things I found interesting, and
                              was terrible at the things I did not, because I did not apply myself
                              to subjects I wasn't interested in. I did the minimum work to get a
                              decent grade, never dug in for full understanding. At the time --
                              and even now -- it seemed the logical thing to do. There's an
                              infinite amount of stuff we need to know, and we have only finite
                              time. So maybe it makes sense to work on the things we love.

                              The result, though, is that when we face the world, which works best
                              when we have the right moves ingrained in us, there will be places
                              where we haven't applied ourselves with discipline, we do not have
                              the skills, and our moves will be slow, awkward, uncomfortable ...
                              and not very effective. The world will rise up and whack us in these
                              situations, and we might take that as a clue that we would profit
                              from applying a little discipline, so as to build the skill that
                              makes XP not require much discipline at all.

                              Your thoughts?






                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            • Ron Jeffries
                              ... My brother does Master s swimming. Swam in from Alcatraz. Does all kinds of odd things. ... I need to find the way to exercise that doesn t require
                              Message 14 of 25 , Apr 17, 2005
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                                On Sunday, April 17, 2005, at 6:18:24 PM, acockburn@... wrote:

                                > e.g., I used to not be able to do swim practices by myself - needed a coach
                                > on deck. Just at the moment, however, I'm training for 3 specific events at
                                > the Master's Nationals that don't fit into their training regime. So I go and
                                > do a mile of e.g. butterfly all by myself, and other nasty tortures I used to
                                > never be able to do. However, I'm so focused on my meet that I only see the
                                > damage of missing my workouts and not the discomfort of obliging myself to do
                                > the workout. Once the meet is past, I expect I shall be completely unable to
                                > go and make myself do those trainings.

                                My brother does Master's swimming. Swam in from Alcatraz. Does all
                                kinds of odd things.

                                > As I would speak about it, right now it doesn't take "discipline" because I
                                > want it so badly. After the meet it will take "discipline" because the
                                > discomfort level will rise up high enough to fit that word.

                                I need to find the way to exercise that doesn't require discipline,
                                because it's hard to get in touch with it otherwise. That's what I
                                works for me with taiji -- I actually LIKE it.

                                > ...

                                > I still think XP takes discipline to do (per definitions 2 and 3 from your
                                > list) ... introspecting, I find that I am looking at what it takes to get
                                > people over the hump from not doing to doing; their level of resistance to acting
                                > the practices with consistency. I don't include in the word "discipline"
                                > those people for whom this has become second nature or somehow don't see
                                > discomfort in the practices - a catch-22 definition!

                                Yes, I thought I was making a similar point. It can take discipline
                                to "get to" XP, and after that, it doesn't any more. What is
                                interesting, though, is that some of the practices /never/ took much
                                discipline to do (for me) and others did. That suggests that there
                                might be people for whom none of them require discipline -- instead
                                they like them well enough on first try to stick with them from the
                                fun of it.

                                > except there are plenty of
                                > people who do see discomfort when they look at XP practices.

                                I would say that they /imagine/ discomfort when they look. We know,
                                for example, that a high percentage of programmers think they would
                                not like pair programming, but an equally high percentage, having
                                tried it, actually do like it.

                                But in fact, I think that for most people, at least some of the
                                practices of XP ... or for that matter, Crystal Clear ... probably
                                do cause enough discomfort to require discipline to push through.

                                And then ... maybe not so much. I think it's an interesting topic.

                                Somewhere, you said:

                                > Choose to disagree here.

                                I don't see anything to disagree with in what you said, at least
                                nothing that couldn't be sorted out in a coffee shop, if we had the
                                discipline ...

                                Ron Jeffries
                                www.XProgramming.com
                                To be on the wire is life. The rest is waiting. --Karl Wallenda
                              • Adrian Howard
                                On 17 Apr 2005, at 00:59, Ian Collins wrote: [snip] ... I sometimes talk about agile practices having inertia/momentum. It takes a chunk of effort to get over
                                Message 15 of 25 , Apr 18, 2005
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                                  On 17 Apr 2005, at 00:59, Ian Collins wrote:
                                  [snip]
                                  >> After the training, though -- and this is the main point I was
                                  >> reflecting on -- the practices do not seem to require great
                                  >> discipline. They seem natural, so long as we are operating within
                                  >> our skill region.
                                  >>
                                  > Very true.
                                  >
                                  > Once people learn something that saves them form pain, no discipline is
                                  > required to use it. I learned at a very tender age that if I picked up
                                  > a piece of metal that came out of a fire I burnt my fingers. I learned
                                  > at at a much later age that if I ship some code without tests, it will
                                  > burn my fingers...
                                  >
                                  > We take the path that causes less pain, it will take discipline to
                                  > learn
                                  > the path, but once learned, the instinct for self preservation takes
                                  > over.

                                  I sometimes talk about agile practices having inertia/momentum. It
                                  takes a chunk of effort to get over the initial inertia, but once well
                                  started there momentum keeps them going with very little effort.

                                  Cheers,

                                  Adrian
                                • Steven J. Owens
                                  ... I m not sure if this is the origin of the phrase, but I m pretty sure Alistair Cockburn used the phrase high discipline to characterize XP in one of his
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Apr 20, 2005
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                                    On Sat, Apr 16, 2005 at 07:34:33PM -0400, Ron Jeffries wrote:
                                    > A long time ago, someone brought up the notion that XP "requires
                                    > great discpline". If I recall correctly, Kent Beck responded that he
                                    > thought not. At the time, again if I recall correctly, I felt that
                                    > it did require discipline.

                                    I'm not sure if this is the origin of the phrase, but I'm pretty
                                    sure Alistair Cockburn used the phrase "high discipline" to
                                    characterize XP in one of his books. Googling on: "alistair cockburn"
                                    "high discipline" turns up this as the first hit:

                                    "eXtreme Programming and Clear are opposite with regard to discipline
                                    and tolerance. XP sits at the end of the band with fewest written work
                                    products and strictest standards. It relies on strict adherence to
                                    design standards, programming standards, pair programming, aggressive
                                    code refactoring, and fully 100% running unit tests. In keeping with a
                                    low-tolerance, high-discipline methodology, it includes the role of
                                    "coach" and various group mechanisms to keep the practices in place."

                                    http://alistair.cockburn.us/crystal/articles/jmc/justintimemethodologyconstruction.html

                                    > After the training, though -- and this is the main point I was
                                    > reflecting on -- the practices do not seem to require great
                                    > discipline. They seem natural, so long as we are operating within
                                    > our skill region.

                                    I can't speak to what the intent of "high discipline" was, but I
                                    will note that I've observed certain patterns of behavior in myself.

                                    There are habits that I've trained myself to have, that make my
                                    life easier. Little things, like keeping an area clear and orderly,
                                    or keeping my sink empty by washing dishes constantly as I use them,
                                    or emptying the ice cube tray into a tupperware container and
                                    refilling it, instead of just taking the three ice cubes I need out of
                                    it. Even using CVS can get to be a chore at times, (though part of
                                    this may be inherent in some of CVS's lacks - sandboxed changes would
                                    be the big one here). These are really useful and handy, but I've
                                    noticed that it's really easy to slip out of the habit, and then I
                                    have to make a concerted effort to get back into it.

                                    It may have something to do with indirect convenience vs. direct
                                    convenience. I really like tai chi, and I really like the effects of
                                    doing tai chi regularly, but it's really easy to slip into the habit
                                    of skipping a class one week, then two weeks, then three weeks...
                                    Usually I make some excuse to myself (my current excuse is that I just
                                    sold my house and I'm using up all my spare time packing and moving
                                    :-). I have to make a concerted effort to get back in the habit of
                                    going to class.

                                    On the other hand, there are other habits I've ingrained that
                                    take no effort at all to maintain. Maybe because they're less
                                    inconvenient, or require less forethought or planning, or require less
                                    distraction from my main focus.

                                    > The result, though, is that when we face the world, which works best
                                    > when we have the right moves ingrained in us, there will be places
                                    > where we haven't applied ourselves with discipline, we do not have
                                    > the skills, and our moves will be slow, awkward, uncomfortable ...
                                    > and not very effective. The world will rise up and whack us in these
                                    > situations, and we might take that as a clue that we would profit
                                    > from applying a little discipline, so as to build the skill that
                                    > makes XP not require much discipline at all.

                                    This is an intruiging point; surely the degree of distraction is
                                    related to the degree of skill (or lack of) at the particular
                                    practice. Is there some "threshold" of competence, where a particular
                                    practice is so internalized in your mental development process that it
                                    ceases to be a noticable distraction?

                                    > Your thoughts?

                                    Mainly "it's hard" :-).

                                    --
                                    Steven J. Owens
                                    puff@...

                                    "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
                                  • Ron Jeffries
                                    Hi Steven, I remember Alistair s comment kicking off that earlier discussion as well, and suspect that you have googled out an early part of that discussion.
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Apr 21, 2005
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                                      Hi Steven,

                                      I remember Alistair's comment kicking off that earlier discussion as
                                      well, and suspect that you have googled out an early part of that
                                      discussion. Good googling!

                                      On Wednesday, April 20, 2005, at 6:31:20 PM, Steven J. Owens wrote:

                                      >> After the training, though -- and this is the main point I was
                                      >> reflecting on -- the practices do not seem to require great
                                      >> discipline. They seem natural, so long as we are operating within
                                      >> our skill region.

                                      > I can't speak to what the intent of "high discipline" was, but I
                                      > will note that I've observed certain patterns of behavior in myself.

                                      > There are habits that I've trained myself to have, that make my
                                      > life easier. Little things, like keeping an area clear and orderly,
                                      > or keeping my sink empty by washing dishes constantly as I use them,
                                      > or emptying the ice cube tray into a tupperware container and
                                      > refilling it, instead of just taking the three ice cubes I need out of
                                      > it. Even using CVS can get to be a chore at times, (though part of
                                      > this may be inherent in some of CVS's lacks - sandboxed changes would
                                      > be the big one here). These are really useful and handy, but I've
                                      > noticed that it's really easy to slip out of the habit, and then I
                                      > have to make a concerted effort to get back into it.

                                      I honor your experience and your observations of it. I have similar
                                      experiences in some areas, notably keeping my surroundings neat. I
                                      do prefer them neat, but can slip away because early transgressions
                                      do not hurt. Then one day I go mad, do you hear me, mad, because
                                      things are chaotic all around me.

                                      I'm not sure whether keeping my space clean is "high discipline" or
                                      not. I guess it might be.

                                      > It may have something to do with indirect convenience vs. direct
                                      > convenience. I really like tai chi, and I really like the effects of
                                      > doing tai chi regularly, but it's really easy to slip into the habit
                                      > of skipping a class one week, then two weeks, then three weeks...
                                      > Usually I make some excuse to myself (my current excuse is that I just
                                      > sold my house and I'm using up all my spare time packing and moving
                                      > :-). I have to make a concerted effort to get back in the habit of
                                      > going to class.

                                      Yes. I had about six weeks of travel that took me away from my tai
                                      chi class, and then I feel and injured myself rather severely, in
                                      ways that make the horse stance very far from something I'd care to
                                      do. I suspect that when I finally get back to class, I'll be weak
                                      and clumsy and may not enjoy it. I'm not sure whether I'll fall
                                      right back into going ... sure hope that I do.

                                      > On the other hand, there are other habits I've ingrained that
                                      > take no effort at all to maintain. Maybe because they're less
                                      > inconvenient, or require less forethought or planning, or require less
                                      > distraction from my main focus.

                                      Yes. My hypothesis is/was that this is how it "should" be. That
                                      everything we do "should" be as natural as that. I realize that this
                                      view might be unpopular among Calvinists and such, but still, I find
                                      that my best habits are often quite easy to maintain.

                                      >> The result, though, is that when we face the world, which works best
                                      >> when we have the right moves ingrained in us, there will be places
                                      >> where we haven't applied ourselves with discipline, we do not have
                                      >> the skills, and our moves will be slow, awkward, uncomfortable ...
                                      >> and not very effective. The world will rise up and whack us in these
                                      >> situations, and we might take that as a clue that we would profit
                                      >> from applying a little discipline, so as to build the skill that
                                      >> makes XP not require much discipline at all.

                                      > This is an intruiging point; surely the degree of distraction is
                                      > related to the degree of skill (or lack of) at the particular
                                      > practice. Is there some "threshold" of competence, where a particular
                                      > practice is so internalized in your mental development process that it
                                      > ceases to be a noticable distraction?

                                      That's what I'm wondering, too ... and hoping.

                                      >> Your thoughts?

                                      > Mainly "it's hard" :-).

                                      Maybe "it's hard" is natures way of telling us that we aren't good
                                      at it yet. Or maybe we were put here to suffer. I lean toward the
                                      former explanation.

                                      Ron Jeffries
                                      www.XProgramming.com
                                      To Fly, Flip Away Backhanded -- Master Frisbee
                                    • Brad Appleton
                                      What Ive noticed first-hand is that discipline can be a relative term. I remember having a conversation with someone I would label as old school . To him,
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Apr 25, 2005
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                                        What Ive noticed first-hand is that discipline can be a relative term. I
                                        remember having a conversation with someone I would label as "old
                                        school". To him, discipline in software development involved having the
                                        discipline to create the necessary up-front documentation (requirements,
                                        design descriptions) before writing the code. And then any time the code
                                        got updated, making sure you updated the requirements and the docs.

                                        The idea of refactoring and eliminating redundancy between information
                                        in the requirements, design descriptions, models, code, test+build
                                        plans, etc. seemed lazy or undisciplined to him.

                                        To me, those things were drudgery: having the "discipline" to do
                                        manually the terribly tedious things that my head tells me "there outta
                                        be a way" to automate somehow.

                                        To me, discipline was forcing yourself to work in really really small
                                        task, integrate continuously, wrote the test before you wrote the code,
                                        write code so clearly that most comments become duplication with the
                                        code, and refactor mercilessly after every change.

                                        I came to the personal realization that both or indeed forms of
                                        discipline. Theyre just disciplined about different things based on
                                        differing sets of values (and, IMHO, differing definitions of
                                        "maintainability" - which to him seemed to be synonomous with
                                        "thoroughly and exhaustively documented"

                                        That's why, although I like much of the book "Balancing Agility and
                                        Discipline" I really loathe the title because the implication is that
                                        agility is undisciplined or even anti-discipline. It isnt. It IS a
                                        different set of values and beliefs than the plan-based predictive
                                        development "camp".

                                        But both are disciplined. It's just that they are each discplined about
                                        different things based on their values. Now when someone asks me about
                                        "discipline" with regard to development, I try to ask "about what?" and
                                        follow up with "and what does that get ne?" or "and why is that important?"
                                        --
                                        Brad Appleton <brad@...> www.bradapp.net
                                        Software CM Patterns (www.scmpatterns.com)
                                        Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration
                                        "And miles to go before I sleep" --Robert Frost
                                      • Ron Jeffries
                                        ... Brad ... can you say more about what meaning (or meanings?) discipline has for you? I m getting two meanings here, I think, something like: 1.
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Apr 26, 2005
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                                          On Tuesday, April 26, 2005, at 1:07:47 AM, Brad Appleton wrote:

                                          > But both are disciplined. It's just that they are each discplined about
                                          > different things based on their values. Now when someone asks me about
                                          > "discipline" with regard to development, I try to ask "about what?" and
                                          > follow up with "and what does that get ne?" or "and why is that important?"

                                          Brad ... can you say more about what meaning (or meanings?)
                                          "discipline" has for you?

                                          I'm getting two meanings here, I think, something like:

                                          1. Discipline: Drudgery. Necessary work which has to be pushed out
                                          even though no one really wants to do it.

                                          2. Discipline: Regularity. Necessary work occurs predictably and
                                          as needed, almost like clockwork.

                                          Thanks,

                                          Ron Jeffries
                                          www.XProgramming.com
                                          Analysis kills spontaneity.
                                          The grain once ground into flour germinates no more. -- Henri Amiel
                                        • Steven J. Owens
                                          ... I think his point is that both require discipline, just aimed at different tasks, to achieve different ends. -- Steven J. Owens puff@darksleep.com I m
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Apr 27, 2005
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                                            On Tue, Apr 26, 2005 at 05:47:59AM -0400, Ron Jeffries wrote:
                                            >
                                            > On Tuesday, April 26, 2005, at 1:07:47 AM, Brad Appleton wrote:
                                            >
                                            > > But both are disciplined. It's just that they are each discplined about
                                            > > different things based on their values. Now when someone asks me about
                                            > > "discipline" with regard to development, I try to ask "about what?" and
                                            > > follow up with "and what does that get ne?" or "and why is that important?"
                                            >
                                            > Brad ... can you say more about what meaning (or meanings?)
                                            > "discipline" has for you?
                                            >
                                            > I'm getting two meanings here, I think, something like:
                                            >
                                            > 1. Discipline: Drudgery. Necessary work which has to be pushed out
                                            > even though no one really wants to do it.
                                            >
                                            > 2. Discipline: Regularity. Necessary work occurs predictably and
                                            > as needed, almost like clockwork.

                                            I think his point is that both require discipline, just aimed at
                                            different tasks, to achieve different ends.

                                            --
                                            Steven J. Owens
                                            puff@...

                                            "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
                                          • Ron Jeffries
                                            ... I think so too, but the two kinds of discipline I m drawing out here, don t feel to me as if they should use the same word to describe them. Ron Jeffries
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Apr 27, 2005
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                                              On Wednesday, April 27, 2005, at 3:41:17 AM, Steven J. Owens wrote:

                                              >> Brad ... can you say more about what meaning (or meanings?)
                                              >> "discipline" has for you?
                                              >>
                                              >> I'm getting two meanings here, I think, something like:
                                              >>
                                              >> 1. Discipline: Drudgery. Necessary work which has to be pushed out
                                              >> even though no one really wants to do it.
                                              >>
                                              >> 2. Discipline: Regularity. Necessary work occurs predictably and
                                              >> as needed, almost like clockwork.

                                              > I think his point is that both require discipline, just aimed at
                                              > different tasks, to achieve different ends.

                                              I think so too, but the two kinds of discipline I'm drawing out
                                              here, don't feel to me as if they should use the same word to
                                              describe them.

                                              Ron Jeffries
                                              www.XProgramming.com
                                              He who will not apply new remedies must expect old evils. -- Francis Bacon
                                            • Jim Standley
                                              I don t think we need two terms for the work. The very same work may invoke very different reactions from two people or the same person over time. Maybe we
                                              Message 22 of 25 , Apr 27, 2005
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                                                I don't think we need two terms for the work. The very same work may
                                                invoke very different reactions from two people or the same person over
                                                time. Maybe we need two words for how the work feels to them right now.

                                                I like calling XP "high discipline" because it has a number of things
                                                you really have to do right for the best result. If you start cutting
                                                corners, it doesn't work as well. And it leaves no place for corner
                                                cutters to hide, a great plus. Other methods might be lower discipline
                                                because they allow people to get away with skipping parts they don't like.

                                                Ron Jeffries wrote:
                                                > On Wednesday, April 27, 2005, at 3:41:17 AM, Steven J. Owens wrote:
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >>>Brad ... can you say more about what meaning (or meanings?)
                                                >>>"discipline" has for you?
                                                >>>
                                                >>>I'm getting two meanings here, I think, something like:
                                                >>>
                                                >>> 1. Discipline: Drudgery. Necessary work which has to be pushed out
                                                >>> even though no one really wants to do it.
                                                >>>
                                                >>> 2. Discipline: Regularity. Necessary work occurs predictably and
                                                >>> as needed, almost like clockwork.
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >> I think his point is that both require discipline, just aimed at
                                                >>different tasks, to achieve different ends.
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > I think so too, but the two kinds of discipline I'm drawing out
                                                > here, don't feel to me as if they should use the same word to
                                                > describe them.
                                                >
                                                > Ron Jeffries
                                                > www.XProgramming.com
                                                > He who will not apply new remedies must expect old evils. -- Francis Bacon
                                                >
                                              • Brad Appleton
                                                Hi Ron ... The above seems close to the definition I would use. Often times some co-workers would call me disciplined when I felt it didnt apply, because I
                                                Message 23 of 25 , Apr 27, 2005
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                                                  Hi Ron

                                                  Ron Jeffries wrote:
                                                  > Brad ... can you say more about what meaning (or meanings?)
                                                  > "discipline" has for you?
                                                  >
                                                  > I'm getting two meanings here, I think, something like:
                                                  >
                                                  > 1. Discipline: Drudgery. Necessary work which has to be pushed out
                                                  > even though no one really wants to do it.

                                                  The above seems close to the definition I would use. Often times some
                                                  co-workers would call me "disciplined" when I felt it didnt apply,
                                                  because I was doing something that I was motivated to do (really wanted
                                                  to do it). I felt that it "didnt count" as "disciplined" unless it was
                                                  something I wasnt necessarily wanting to do. I guess Im considering
                                                  "discipline" to be a character trait.

                                                  > 2. Discipline: Regularity. Necessary work occurs predictably and
                                                  > as needed, almost like clockwork.

                                                  I wouldnt usually use the word "discipline" for the above because I dont
                                                  see how its being used to describe a person or group of persons. I might
                                                  say "systematic" instead.

                                                  I suppose if I did use the 2nd definition above, then perhaps "Agility
                                                  -vs- Discipline" might almost make sense, except that I still think XP
                                                  and many other agile do define a "discipline" (set of practices and
                                                  guidelines to be systematically executed, even if reflection and
                                                  adaptation are part of it). I acknowledge that some agile methods (e.g.,
                                                  Highsmith's ASD, Scrum) dont excplicitly dictate much in the way of
                                                  development practices.

                                                  --
                                                  Brad Appleton <brad@...> www.bradapp.net
                                                  Software CM Patterns (www.scmpatterns.com)
                                                  Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration
                                                  "And miles to go before I sleep" --Robert Frost
                                                • Toby Tripp
                                                  I m wondering if we can draw a parallel from the military definition of discipline. As I interpret it, discipline is that quality that drives a group or
                                                  Message 24 of 25 , Apr 28, 2005
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                                                    I'm wondering if we can draw a parallel from the military definition of
                                                    discipline. As I interpret it, discipline is that quality that drives a
                                                    group or individual to follow a specific agreed upon practice instead of
                                                    some alternative that might be "easier." I'm not feeling a separation
                                                    between "drudgery" and "regularity" here, to borrow Ron's terms.

                                                    Allow me to elaborate briefly. Common indicators of discipline in the
                                                    military are the cleanliness of the barracks and the maintenance of the
                                                    vehicles. I certainly considered these to be monotonous tasks, but at the
                                                    same time they became highly automatic. In fact, I still to this day --for
                                                    whatever insane reason-- order my closet in a military fashion (drives my
                                                    wife a little crazy). The motivation came both from the culture and from
                                                    drilling.

                                                    I hope I'm not disrupting the thread over much with what now seems like a
                                                    wild tangent, but I thought an alternative view-point on the subject might
                                                    be valuable.

                                                    On 4/26/05, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                                                    >
                                                    >
                                                    > On Tuesday, April 26, 2005, at 1:07:47 AM, Brad Appleton wrote:
                                                    >
                                                    > > But both are disciplined. It's just that they are each discplined about
                                                    > > different things based on their values. Now when someone asks me about
                                                    > > "discipline" with regard to development, I try to ask "about what?" and
                                                    > > follow up with "and what does that get ne?" or "and why is that
                                                    > important?"
                                                    >
                                                    > Brad ... can you say more about what meaning (or meanings?)
                                                    > "discipline" has for you?
                                                    >
                                                    > I'm getting two meanings here, I think, something like:
                                                    >
                                                    > 1. Discipline: Drudgery. Necessary work which has to be pushed out
                                                    > even though no one really wants to do it.
                                                    >
                                                    > 2. Discipline: Regularity. Necessary work occurs predictably and
                                                    > as needed, almost like clockwork.
                                                    >
                                                    > Thanks,
                                                    >
                                                    > Ron Jeffries
                                                    > www.XProgramming.com <http://www.XProgramming.com>
                                                    > Analysis kills spontaneity.
                                                    > The grain once ground into flour germinates no more. -- Henri Amiel
                                                    >
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                                                    --
                                                    Toby Tripp

                                                    They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
                                                    safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
                                                    -- Benjamin Franklin
                                                    Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759


                                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                                  • Friedrich Brunzema
                                                    Hi, couple of thoughts on discipline. I agree that XP requires discipline in how you work - test first, refactoring, integrating, planning, release planning
                                                    Message 25 of 25 , Apr 29, 2005
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                                                      Hi,

                                                      couple of thoughts on discipline. I agree that XP requires discipline
                                                      in how you work - test first, refactoring, integrating, planning,
                                                      release planning etc. I also agree that doing things in a way that
                                                      are beneficial, yet "painful" because they are unfamiliar and/or hard
                                                      (exercise, holding retrospectives) is an aspect of discipline. Many
                                                      commented that once you get into a rhythm, things get easier, and I
                                                      agree as well. But if you still do the things that you should, and
                                                      these come "naturally" does this mean you are less disciplined? I
                                                      think not.

                                                      If you have been working in a non-XP environment for a long time, then
                                                      switch to XP and its practices, its also easy to be tempted not to
                                                      write that little thing test first. I have experienced this many
                                                      times while programming. I think that's why XP has the role of a
                                                      coach, whose job it is to remind people to work as per our working
                                                      agreements.

                                                      Another aspect of discipline is to have the discipline to look for
                                                      things that don't work, and try to improve them. The neat thing about
                                                      XP is that it does offer good principles and practices that are very
                                                      synergistic and powerful. But if you do XP by the book without
                                                      regards to your own situation, pedantically following XP2E practices,
                                                      you may miss a chance to alter a practice slightly to better meet your
                                                      situation. So when talking about discipline to "follow a set of
                                                      rules/practices, working agreements", the weird thing is that those
                                                      practices & working agreements may and should probably change and
                                                      evolve over time.


                                                      Friedrich Brunzema
                                                      Extreme Programmer & Coach
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