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[XP] Story and defect History [was: Re: XP project tracking tool : xplanner]

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  • Pierre Boudreau
    The biggest problem I have with story cards is the lack of historical tracking. The reason I would use something like XPlanner is to have a database of
    Message 1 of 14 , Aug 31, 2002
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      The biggest problem I have with story cards is the lack of historical
      tracking. The reason I would use something like XPlanner is to have a
      database of stories and tasks that could eventually be searched when the
      number of stories gets high after a few years on a project.

      My memory is not the sharpest instrument in my toolbox and I can't see it
      being very quick to search through a few thousand cards to find a note I
      remember seing the customer write on a story card a year ago.

      For those who have been doing XP on a project for at least a few years:

      1- Do you have a standard for keeping supporting documents (like tax tables,
      hardware configuration documents, API documentations for third party stuff,
      ...) along with the story cards?

      2- Do you link story numbers on cards to a tracking database like Rational
      Clear Quest, Test Track Pro, Bugzilla, ...? If so, did you run into any
      problems with this?

      3- In general, what kinds of problems have you encountered when you get up
      to thousands of stories?

      4- Has anyone started with cards and switched to a database when the number
      got too high to handle? How did that go?
    • peerthought_announce
      Pierre, If you are interesting in having version controlled, indexed, searchable story cards (which you can attach files to!) in XP, you should check out
      Message 2 of 14 , Aug 31, 2002
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        Pierre,

        If you are interesting in having version controlled, indexed,
        searchable story cards (which you can attach files to!) in XP, you
        should check out http://www.peerthought.com

        Old cards can be 'archived', yet are still searchable! :)

        Regards,
        Matthew Smith, Founder
        Peerthought, LLC.

        --- In extremeprogramming@y..., "Pierre Boudreau" <pier@n...> wrote:
        > The biggest problem I have with story cards is the lack of
        historical
        > tracking. The reason I would use something like XPlanner is to
        have a
        > database of stories and tasks that could eventually be searched
        when the
        > number of stories gets high after a few years on a project.
        >
        > My memory is not the sharpest instrument in my toolbox and I can't
        see it
        > being very quick to search through a few thousand cards to find a
        note I
        > remember seing the customer write on a story card a year ago.
        >
        > For those who have been doing XP on a project for at least a few
        years:
        >
        > 1- Do you have a standard for keeping supporting documents (like
        tax tables,
        > hardware configuration documents, API documentations for third
        party stuff,
        > ...) along with the story cards?
        >
        > 2- Do you link story numbers on cards to a tracking database like
        Rational
        > Clear Quest, Test Track Pro, Bugzilla, ...? If so, did you run
        into any
        > problems with this?
        >
        > 3- In general, what kinds of problems have you encountered when you
        get up
        > to thousands of stories?
        >
        > 4- Has anyone started with cards and switched to a database when
        the number
        > got too high to handle? How did that go?
      • Ron Jeffries
        ... Can you please give an example of something written on a story card a year ago that you might like to remember? Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com
        Message 3 of 14 , Aug 31, 2002
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          Around Saturday, August 31, 2002, 1:44:24 PM, Pierre Boudreau wrote:

          > The biggest problem I have with story cards is the lack of historical
          > tracking. The reason I would use something like XPlanner is to have a
          > database of stories and tasks that could eventually be searched when the
          > number of stories gets high after a few years on a project.

          > My memory is not the sharpest instrument in my toolbox and I can't see it
          > being very quick to search through a few thousand cards to find a note I
          > remember seing the customer write on a story card a year ago.

          Can you please give an example of something written on a story card a
          year ago that you might like to remember?

          Ron Jeffries
          www.XProgramming.com
          Yesterday's code should be as good as we could make it yesterday.
          The fact that we know more today, and are more capable today,
          is good news about today, not bad news about yesterday.
        • Pierre Boudreau
          ... it ... The best thing I can think of is the following (fictitious example made up using real facts): The customer writes a story to build a report. The
          Message 4 of 14 , Aug 31, 2002
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            > > The biggest problem I have with story cards is the lack of historical
            > > tracking. The reason I would use something like XPlanner is to have a
            > > database of stories and tasks that could eventually be searched when the
            > > number of stories gets high after a few years on a project.
            >
            > > My memory is not the sharpest instrument in my toolbox and I can't see
            it
            > > being very quick to search through a few thousand cards to find a note I
            > > remember seing the customer write on a story card a year ago.
            >
            > Can you please give an example of something written on a story card a
            > year ago that you might like to remember?

            The best thing I can think of is the following (fictitious example made up
            using real facts):

            The customer writes a story to build a report. The printer used has some
            limitations that restrict how the report is designed. The first idea the
            customer had went outside these limitations so the story was adjusted and
            the reasoning behind the change was noted on the card.

            A year later, the customer wants another report that is similar to the
            previous one. He hands me the story and I immediately remember doing
            something similar a year ago and having problems with it. I look through
            the printer specifications, but I can't see any problems, but I am sure it
            is the same as before, but my tiny brain can't remember what the problem
            was. If I could just find that D*!@ card, I could figure it out...
          • Ron Jeffries
            ... Could that information have been put into the code? Perhaps in a test that shows the printer can t do that? Or a method name in the printing code? I ask
            Message 5 of 14 , Aug 31, 2002
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              Around Saturday, August 31, 2002, 6:39:21 PM, Pierre Boudreau wrote:

              >> Can you please give an example of something written on a story card a
              >> year ago that you might like to remember?

              > The best thing I can think of is the following (fictitious example made up
              > using real facts):

              > The customer writes a story to build a report. The printer used has some
              > limitations that restrict how the report is designed. The first idea the
              > customer had went outside these limitations so the story was adjusted and
              > the reasoning behind the change was noted on the card.

              > A year later, the customer wants another report that is similar to the
              > previous one. He hands me the story and I immediately remember doing
              > something similar a year ago and having problems with it. I look through
              > the printer specifications, but I can't see any problems, but I am sure it
              > is the same as before, but my tiny brain can't remember what the problem
              > was. If I could just find that D*!@ card, I could figure it out...

              Could that information have been put into the code? Perhaps in a test
              that shows the printer can't do that? Or a method name in the printing
              code?

              I ask because I'm really pretty sure they're not going to lose my
              source code. Of course they might, but if they do, I expect the
              stories to be long gone.

              I do note things down ... even on cards. I'm not sure I'd type them
              all in just in case I wanted to search for "f5g d2m printer". ;->

              But to each his own, of course. If you do it ... please keep track of
              whether it's worth it, and let us know.

              Ron Jeffries
              www.XProgramming.com
              You do ill if you praise, but worse if you censure,
              what you do not understand. --Leonardo da Vinci
            • Dossy
              ... Didn t you write a test that failed because of this limitation? Even if the test isn t automated ... you can still keep a list of tests. If you had the
              Message 6 of 14 , Aug 31, 2002
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                On 2002.08.31, Pierre Boudreau <pier@...> wrote:
                > I look through the printer specifications, but I can't see any
                > problems, but I am sure it is the same as before, but my tiny brain
                > can't remember what the problem was. If I could just find that D*!@
                > card, I could figure it out...

                Didn't you write a test that failed because of this limitation?

                Even if the test isn't automated ... you can still keep a list of tests.

                If you had the test and could find that, would the initial story card
                that sparked the creation of that test be of any use this far into the
                future?

                -- Dossy

                --
                Dossy Shiobara mail: dossy@...
                Panoptic Computer Network web: http://www.panoptic.com/
                "He realized the fastest way to change is to laugh at your own
                folly -- then you can let go and quickly move on." (p. 70)
              • Pierre Boudreau
                ... If it could be automated, it wouldn t be a problem. If the test can not be automated, then I would need a searcheable database of tests to be able to find
                Message 7 of 14 , Aug 31, 2002
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                  > > I look through the printer specifications, but I can't see any
                  > > problems, but I am sure it is the same as before, but my tiny brain
                  > > can't remember what the problem was. If I could just find that D*!@
                  > > card, I could figure it out...
                  >
                  > Didn't you write a test that failed because of this limitation?
                  >
                  > Even if the test isn't automated ... you can still keep a list of tests.
                  >
                  > If you had the test and could find that, would the initial story card
                  > that sparked the creation of that test be of any use this far into the
                  > future?

                  If it could be automated, it wouldn't be a problem. If the test can not be
                  automated, then I would need a searcheable database of tests to be able to
                  find that information again wouldn't I? And, to me, that's prety much the
                  same as having a database of stories.
                • Dossy
                  ... A story is a mnemonic so that when a Customer and the Programmers have a real conversation, they can use a shorthand (the story) to remind each other what
                  Message 8 of 14 , Aug 31, 2002
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                    On 2002.08.31, Pierre Boudreau <pier@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > If it could be automated, it wouldn't be a problem. If the test can not be
                    > automated, then I would need a searcheable database of tests to be able to
                    > find that information again wouldn't I? And, to me, that's prety much the
                    > same as having a database of stories.

                    A story is a mnemonic so that when a Customer and the Programmers have a
                    real conversation, they can use a shorthand (the story) to remind each
                    other what the context of the conversation is.

                    A test is a list of preconditions, assumptions and/or assertions. A
                    single test is far narrower in scope than a story (which makes any one
                    test useful in an atomic fashion).

                    While 100% automated tests is nirvana, having tests written in plain
                    English is still a damn sight better than trying to use stories alone ...

                    -- Dossy

                    --
                    Dossy Shiobara mail: dossy@...
                    Panoptic Computer Network web: http://www.panoptic.com/
                    "He realized the fastest way to change is to laugh at your own
                    folly -- then you can let go and quickly move on." (p. 70)
                  • Kyle Cordes
                    From: Ron Jeffries ... see it ... note I ... I have some ideas on why people look for (and produce) software for tracking XP story
                    Message 9 of 14 , Sep 1, 2002
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                      From: "Ron Jeffries" <ronjeffries@...>

                      > > My memory is not the sharpest instrument in my toolbox and I can't
                      see it
                      > > being very quick to search through a few thousand cards to find a
                      note I
                      > > remember seing the customer write on a story card a year ago.

                      > Can you please give an example of something written on a story card a
                      > year ago that you might like to remember?


                      I have some ideas on why people look for (and produce) software for
                      tracking XP story cards:

                      1) They use the cards in a non-XP way, writing lots of details on them
                      (that should be in an acceptance test or in some document important to
                      their project but not part of XP per se). Those details in the
                      card-written-as-a-use-case might be wanted later.

                      2) They are doing something XP-ish, but with a distributed team, so the
                      WAN access characteristics of a pile of cards on a table are getting in
                      the way.

                      3) Programmers, particularly good ones, are often tool builders by
                      nature. Given an information-tracking problem ("keep track of some
                      snippets of text"), even one of small scale, the urge to build a tool
                      for it is ever present.


                      Kyle Cordes
                      www.kylecordes.com
                    • Pierre Boudreau
                      ... Thanks Kyle. I think you are right on the money. I was just in the process of writing a reply about how I get confused about what XP is exactly and how
                      Message 10 of 14 , Sep 1, 2002
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                        Kyle Cordes wrote:
                        > > Can you please give an example of something written on a story card a
                        > > year ago that you might like to remember?
                        >
                        >
                        > I have some ideas on why people look for (and produce) software for
                        > tracking XP story cards:
                        >
                        > 1) They use the cards in a non-XP way, writing lots of details on them
                        > (that should be in an acceptance test or in some document important to
                        > their project but not part of XP per se). Those details in the
                        > card-written-as-a-use-case might be wanted later.
                        >
                        > 2) They are doing something XP-ish, but with a distributed team, so the
                        > WAN access characteristics of a pile of cards on a table are getting in
                        > the way.
                        >
                        > 3) Programmers, particularly good ones, are often tool builders by
                        > nature. Given an information-tracking problem ("keep track of some
                        > snippets of text"), even one of small scale, the urge to build a tool
                        > for it is ever present.

                        Thanks Kyle. I think you are right on the money. I was just in the process
                        of writing a reply about how I get confused about what XP is exactly and how
                        some seem to want it to be too much IMHO. You made me realise that I was
                        contributing to this by trying to do what you describe in all 3 cases.
                      • William Pietri
                        ... In Douglas Adams s Last Chance To See , he describes this urge very well, talking about, IIRC, spending a lot of time programming his calculator to be
                        Message 11 of 14 , Sep 1, 2002
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                          On Sun, 2002-09-01 at 07:11, Kyle Cordes wrote:
                          >
                          > I have some ideas on why people look for (and produce) software for
                          > tracking XP story cards:
                          >
                          > [...]
                          >
                          > 3) Programmers, particularly good ones, are often tool builders by
                          > nature. Given an information-tracking problem ("keep track of some
                          > snippets of text"), even one of small scale, the urge to build a tool
                          > for it is ever present.

                          In Douglas Adams's "Last Chance To See", he describes this urge very
                          well, talking about, IIRC, spending a lot of time programming his
                          calculator to be able to calculate the volume of a termite mound, even
                          though he could have done it much more quickly by hand.

                          I think another reason people do this is as a security blanket. If
                          you're used to having lots of requirements documents and elaborate
                          project plans around, making the transition to the XP style can feel
                          scary. This is doubly true if your used to not having tests and having a
                          lot of write-only code.


                          William

                          --
                          brains for sale: http://scissor.com/
                        • jhrothjr
                          ... This, at least, is relatively easy to work around - at least if you re a salesman (i.e. have serious sales training or a reasonable facsimile.) You just
                          Message 12 of 14 , Sep 1, 2002
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                            --- In extremeprogramming@y..., William Pietri <william@s...> wrote:
                            > On Sun, 2002-09-01 at 07:11, Kyle Cordes wrote:
                            > >
                            > > I have some ideas on why people look for (and produce) software for
                            > > tracking XP story cards:
                            > >
                            > > [...]
                            > >
                            > > 3) Programmers, particularly good ones, are often tool builders by
                            > > nature. Given an information-tracking problem ("keep track of some
                            > > snippets of text"), even one of small scale, the urge to build a tool
                            > > for it is ever present.
                            >
                            > In Douglas Adams's "Last Chance To See", he describes this urge very
                            > well, talking about, IIRC, spending a lot of time programming his
                            > calculator to be able to calculate the volume of a termite mound, even
                            > though he could have done it much more quickly by hand.
                            >
                            > I think another reason people do this is as a security blanket. If
                            > you're used to having lots of requirements documents and elaborate
                            > project plans around, making the transition to the XP style can feel
                            > scary. This is doubly true if your used to not having tests and having a
                            > lot of write-only code.

                            This, at least, is relatively easy to work around - at least if you're a salesman (i.e. have serious sales training or a reasonable facsimile.) You just ask the mark ^H^H^H^H customer something like: "what would you need in order to feel comfortable with this while you see how it works out in practice?"

                            John Roth
                            >
                            >
                            > William
                            >
                            > --
                            > brains for sale: http://scissor.com/
                          • John Judd
                            ... From: Kyle Cordes To: Sent: Sunday, September 01, 2002 11:41 PM Subject: Re: [XP] Story and
                            Message 13 of 14 , Sep 1, 2002
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                              ----- Original Message -----
                              From: "Kyle Cordes" <kyle@...>
                              To: <extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com>
                              Sent: Sunday, September 01, 2002 11:41 PM
                              Subject: Re: [XP] Story and defect History [was: Re: XP project tracking tool :
                              xplanner]


                              > From: "Ron Jeffries" <ronjeffries@...>
                              >
                              > > > My memory is not the sharpest instrument in my toolbox and I can't
                              > see it
                              > > > being very quick to search through a few thousand cards to find a
                              > note I
                              > > > remember seing the customer write on a story card a year ago.
                              >
                              > > Can you please give an example of something written on a story card a
                              > > year ago that you might like to remember?
                              >
                              >
                              > I have some ideas on why people look for (and produce) software for
                              > tracking XP story cards:
                              >
                              > 1) They use the cards in a non-XP way, writing lots of details on them
                              > (that should be in an acceptance test or in some document important to
                              > their project but not part of XP per se). Those details in the
                              > card-written-as-a-use-case might be wanted later.
                              >

                              True. When I first started writing the cards out I wrote lots more than was
                              necessary. The thing though is that you still are limited in how much can be
                              written.

                              > 2) They are doing something XP-ish, but with a distributed team, so the
                              > WAN access characteristics of a pile of cards on a table are getting in
                              > the way.
                              >
                              > 3) Programmers, particularly good ones, are often tool builders by
                              > nature. Given an information-tracking problem ("keep track of some
                              > snippets of text"), even one of small scale, the urge to build a tool
                              > for it is ever present.
                              >
                              Many the time I have had to resist the urge to write a tool because an existing
                              one didn't do something the way I liked. :)

                              There is one other reason that you missed. Some people simply don't like
                              writing. Every time I have to write something I find I have two problems. I
                              usually have to rewrite since I write something wrongly, either misspelled, or
                              transposed, or missed words. And, if I have to write a lot I get bad writers
                              cramp. I find a keyboard so much more convenient and easier to use. Oh, and I
                              have never been a neat writer. Sometime I can't even read my own writing.

                              Cheers

                              John
                            • C. Keith Ray
                              ... Good ideas. ... The electronic card should point to the related acceptance tests in the source code repository. The electronic card should point to a
                              Message 14 of 14 , Sep 6, 2002
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                                > I have some ideas on why people look for (and produce) software for
                                > tracking XP story cards:

                                Good ideas.

                                To Whomever is writing XP-Card software. Here are two new stories:

                                > 1) They use the cards in a non-XP way, writing lots of details on them
                                > (that should be in an acceptance test or in some document important to
                                > their project but not part of XP per se). Those details in the
                                > card-written-as-a-use-case might be wanted later.

                                The electronic card should point to the related acceptance tests in the
                                source code repository.

                                The electronic card should point to a record of the tests passing/failing
                                over the course of he project.

                                ----

                                C. Keith Ray
                                <http://homepage.mac.com/keithray/resume2.html>
                                <http://homepage.mac.com/keithray/xpminifaq.html>
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