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XP Crash and Burn (Re: [XP] Poll results for extremeprogramming)

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  • ericheikkila@yahoo.com
    ... acctually got ... release. I ... agile ... time to ... working ... humanity as ... for at ... get paid ... we ... Sometimes ... replaced (4 ... months. ...
    Message 1 of 20 , Oct 1, 2001
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      --- In extremeprogramming@y..., "C. Keith Ray" <ckeithray@h...> wrote:
      > on 9/30/01 4:13 PM, Niclas Olofsson at gurun@a... wrote:
      >
      > > Steve Freeman wrote:
      > >> I don't yet understand what you mean by this project crashing and
      > >> burning. Did it fail to deliver? Did the team break up? Did it
      > >> deliver, but the wrong thing?
      > >
      > > If delivery is everything, well then it was a success. I
      acctually got
      > > this question (if it was a success or not) after our first
      release. I
      > > said that no, it is not. Obviously there was more to it than just
      > > delivery. We wanted to try XP and if nothing else, foster a more
      agile
      > > working environment. That project failed but we stopped it in
      time to
      > > start another project, with the same agenda when it comes to code
      > > delivery. That time with only a minimal and experienced crew,
      working
      > > day and night, entirely focuzed on deliver at a surtain date.
      > > That (new) project, I kidd you not, made no attempt to claim
      humanity as
      > > a parameter and it will probably cost us most of the motivation
      for at
      > > least 2-3 very devoted developers (me included) the next couple of
      > > months. It's a startup, we can't afford the delay and we don't
      get paid
      > > overtime.
      > >
      > > I think you could say that the team broke up. Before this project
      we
      > > used to resort to gaming at least a couple of nights a week.
      Sometimes
      > > even at lunch time. We don't do that anymore.
      >
      > So... the original XP project was 8 developers for 4 months,
      replaced (4
      > months after initiation?) by a non-XP project of 3 developers for 2
      months.
      >
      > Do you think things would have been better if the original XP
      project had
      > been 4 people instead of 8?
      >
      > Do you think things would have been better if the original XP
      project had
      > two-week iterations?
      >
      > Do you think things would have been better if the original XP
      project had
      > used "Process Reviews" for an hour each iteration?
      >
      > You mentioned that refactoring led to feelings of "lack of respect"
      > (experienced people not respecting the less-experienced?) and
      > "newbies even told me that they think XP gives to little
      > visibility to themselves"
      > does this mean that the less-experienced ended up resenting the
      > more-experienced?
      >
      > I know that refactoring code "behind someone's back" can lead to
      > resentment... did your team pair-program with the original coder
      when
      > refactoring their code?
      >
      > Refactoring code "in front of someone's back" can also lead to
      resentment,
      > if you not very diplomatic about it.
      >
      > However, if the code was written by a pair rather than a solo,
      there is
      > usually less personal feelings about the code. Was all code
      produced by
      > pairs?
      >
      > Could you describe how successful your team was at doing these
      practices...
      > * Release and Iteration Planning
      > * Programmers sign up for tasks
      > * Pair programming
      > * On-site customer
      > * Small releases
      > * Metaphor
      > * Unit Tests (test-first)
      > * Acceptance Tests
      > * Merciless Refactoring
      > * Simple design
      > * Collective code ownership
      > * Coding Standard
      > * Continuous integration
      > * Open workspace
      > * Sustainable Pace aka 40-hour week
      >
      > (I notice that <http://www.extremeprogramming.org/rules.html>
      says "Fix XP
      > when it breaks".)


      Good questions.

      As far as the 'refactoring behind someones back' stuff goes....WTF is
      that all about? It's not *your* code, it's *our* (the teams) code.
      Get over it. Your code is ugly, and can always be improved. Time to
      put the egos away and get some real work done.

      -Eric
    • Jim McFarland
      ... Related to this discussion of the blame for a possible XP project failure is another issue I think is important. That issue is that in my career, I have
      Message 2 of 20 , Oct 1, 2001
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        --- In extremeprogramming@y..., Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@a...> wrote:
        > Around Sunday, September 30, 2001, 8:29:01 PM, C. Keith Ray wrote:
        >
        > > Could you describe how successful your team was at doing these practices...
        >
        > Great question, Keith! ;->

        Related to this discussion of the blame for a possible XP project failure is another issue I think is important. That issue is that in my career, I have yet to see a company/team that executed their process to perfection. Whether the process was ad hoc, heavyweight, lightweight, RUP, XP, etc., there were always mistakes made, and the process was violated at some point. I think that the measure of success has usually been in how disciplined the team members were in sticking with the process when things got tough. The really successful projects I have been on had very disciplined, mature developers who both prevented crisis situations and stepped up when things did get tough.

        I have been on non-XP teams which produced high quality work without getting burned out, and have also been on XP teams which did not achieve high quality. It leads me to believe that it is people more than the specific process that matter most. It also brings up the issue of how well XP can do in an imperfect world? I tend to think that successful XP depends on highly disciplined developers, which seem to be the minority in my experience. XP also seems to be a fragile as any other process model. If people do not stick with the process all the time, an XP team could make a bigger mess than a team using a less extreme process model who also does not stick to the process all the time. The teams who have the high discipline and skill levels will succeed more often, no matter process is in place, or even despite the process, which I have also seen. Anyway, just an observation...

        later...
        jim
      • Brian C. Robinson
        ... Visibility in terms of showing off to the boss? I started my current job in January having just graduated with my BS in CS in December. I ve tried very
        Message 3 of 20 , Oct 1, 2001
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          At 11:34 PM 9/29/01, you wrote:
          >We never managed to satisfy the egos either. 2 of the newbies even told
          >me that they think XP gives to little visibility to themselves.
          >Personally I fail to see the relevance of that, but I still suspect it
          >to be part of why it failed, perhaps some of them even wanted it too.

          Visibility in terms of showing off to the boss? I started my current job
          in January having just graduated with my BS in CS in December. I've tried
          very hard to not only do good work but help the team do good work and
          people have noticed. I got a mid year raise which is uncommon in my
          company due to an annual raise schedule. I feel like the environment of an
          XP project has really allowed me to toot my own horn more than if I was
          sitting in my cube with my headphones on all day.

          Of course, my goal isn't to increase my standing in the company but to
          create good software and have a good time. It might all be an attitude thing.
        • Matthew Davis
          ... When the two are not the same, you do not fully understand the code you are refactoring. -Matthew azami@speakeasy.net
          Message 4 of 20 , Oct 1, 2001
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            --- In extremeprogramming@y..., emeade@g... wrote:
            > Your right, a lot of refactoring is improving the readablity of the
            > code, but don't forget another goal of refactoring is improving the
            > design of the code.

            When the two are not the same, you do not fully understand the code
            you are refactoring.

            -Matthew
            azami@...
          • Matthew Davis
            ... is ... to ... You know, I wish someone here would refactor _my_ code. I m probably the only one really commited to improving our (legacy) source base,
            Message 5 of 20 , Oct 1, 2001
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              --- In extremeprogramming@y..., ericheikkila@y... wrote:
              > As far as the 'refactoring behind someones back' stuff goes....WTF
              is
              > that all about? It's not *your* code, it's *our* (the teams) code.
              > Get over it. Your code is ugly, and can always be improved. Time
              to
              > put the egos away and get some real work done.

              You know, I wish someone here would refactor _my_ code. I'm probably
              the only one really commited to improving our (legacy) source base,
              even though everyone admits it's a good idea.

              I think my code is good, and I'm not 100% sure I'd take it well if
              someone refactored it, but I _am_ 100% sure that if someone can
              improve my code, I can learn from what they do.

              So: along with "don't get p4d if someone improves your code" I'd add
              "don't hesitate to improve someone else's code".

              -Matthew
              azami@...
            • Steve Ropa
              Of course, you can always give them the visibility they desire. Depending on their personalities, you can show them that visibility as a newbie isn t
              Message 6 of 20 , Oct 2, 2001
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                Of course, you can always give them the visibility they desire. Depending on
                their personalities, you can show them that visibility as a newbie isn't
                everything its cracked up to be, by having them present some idea or pet
                project to the rest of the team. Then let the team examine it extremely
                closely and publicly. I suspect, however that it isn't visibility they are
                lacking as much as attention. Spending a little extra time with them one on
                one, or even pairing with them yourself(assuming you are the coach) might
                make the difference.

                Ideally you look for "youngsters" like Brian here, but if your programmers
                are just too into "visibility", maybe they are in the wrong organization.
                To paraphrase Mr.Fowler "change your programmer, or change your programmer"

                > -----Original Message-----
                > From: Brian C. Robinson [mailto:brian.c.robinson@...]
                > Sent: Monday, October 01, 2001 12:16 PM
                > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                > Subject: Re: XP Crash and Burn (Re: [XP] Poll results for
                > extremeprogramming)
                >
                >
                > At 11:34 PM 9/29/01, you wrote:
                > >We never managed to satisfy the egos either. 2 of the
                > newbies even told
                > >me that they think XP gives to little visibility to themselves.
                > >Personally I fail to see the relevance of that, but I still
                > suspect it
                > >to be part of why it failed, perhaps some of them even wanted it too.
                >
                > Visibility in terms of showing off to the boss? I started my
                > current job
                > in January having just graduated with my BS in CS in
                > December. I've tried
                > very hard to not only do good work but help the team do good work and
                > people have noticed. I got a mid year raise which is uncommon in my
                > company due to an annual raise schedule. I feel like the
                > environment of an
                > XP project has really allowed me to toot my own horn more
                > than if I was
                > sitting in my cube with my headphones on all day.
                >
                > Of course, my goal isn't to increase my standing in the
                > company but to
                > create good software and have a good time. It might all be
                > an attitude thing.
                >
                >
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                >
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                >
              • Dale Emery
                Hi Steve, ... Or perhaps appreciation. Dale
                Message 7 of 20 , Oct 2, 2001
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                  Hi Steve,

                  > I suspect, however that it isn't visibility they are lacking as
                  > much as attention.

                  Or perhaps appreciation.

                  Dale
                • Kenneth Tyler
                  The East Bay Extreme Programming User Group is meeting this Tuesday at 7 PM at the Coquelet Coffee Shop in Berkeley. Our meetings are informal and always
                  Message 8 of 20 , Oct 2, 2001
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                    The East Bay Extreme Programming User Group is meeting this Tuesday at 7
                    PM at the Coquelet Coffee Shop in Berkeley. Our meetings are informal and
                    always include a lot of discussion about recent work, good books, and other
                    good things to know from the participants

                    This week we are looking at Features, how are they generated and
                    prioritized, as part of a
                    month spent thinking about the "client" side of xp. You can see the full
                    schedule at
                    www.tinyxp.com

                    See you there,
                    Kenneth Tyler, 510 849 0788
                    Here is the location information.
                    The Coquelet Cafe Restaurant is located at 2000 University Ave, Berkeley,
                    CA 94704 (it's four or five blocks away from the downtown Berkeley Bart
                    Station and parking is usually not too bad after six o'clock)
                    http://www.mapquest.com/cgi-bin/ia_find?link=btwn%2Ftwn-map_results&random=1
                    168&event=find_search&uid=u0yeudpbj5.6daee%3Ab01wbnu6y&SNVData=3mad3-9.fy%25
                    28at2u67_%2529f82u67%253bah7-%253d%253a%2528_%253d%253abad672%253d%253d1su67
                    2%253d0%2Crb%253b7&country=United+States&address=2000%20University%20Ave&cit
                    y=Berkeley&State=CA&Zip=94704&Find+Map=Get+Map





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                  • Steve Ropa
                    Dale, Exactly. Sometimes I think we forget how important a little Hey, good job! is. One of the nice things about a common work environment is that every
                    Message 9 of 20 , Oct 2, 2001
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                      Dale,

                      Exactly. Sometimes I think we forget how important a little "Hey, good
                      job!" is. One of the nice things about a common work environment is that
                      every pat on the back becomes a public pat on the back.

                      > -----Original Message-----
                      > From: Dale Emery [mailto:dale@...]
                      > Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2001 9:05 AM
                      > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                      > Subject: XP Crash and Burn (Re: [XP] Poll results for
                      > extremeprogramming)
                      >
                      >
                      > Hi Steve,
                      >
                      > > I suspect, however that it isn't visibility they are lacking as
                      > > much as attention.
                      >
                      > Or perhaps appreciation.
                      >
                      > Dale
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
                      >
                      > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                      > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
                      >
                      > ad-free courtesy of objectmentor.com
                      >
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                      >
                      >
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