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Re: [XP] Suitability, advantages and disadvantages of using an agile method such as XP in fast paced web development environments

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  • William Pietri
    ... They are the best I know of. If you turn up another one, please let us know! ... As compared to what, exactly? Speaking broadly, I think XP s advantages
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 2, 2003
      On Tue, 2002-12-31 at 17:15, Michael Lane wrote:
      > 1. Are agile methods such as XP the best approach is fast paced Web
      > development environment?

      They are the best I know of. If you turn up another one, please let us
      know!

      > 2. What are advantages and limitations of XP in a fast paced Web
      > development environment?

      As compared to what, exactly?

      Speaking broadly, I think XP's advantages for fast-paced web projects
      are even stronger than for other types of project:

      * Having all the running copies of the program under your direct
      control makes frequent releases much easier.
      * Because your competitors are just one bookmark away, it's much
      harder to insulate yourself from competitive pressure. That
      makes the ability to adapt quickly much more important. It also
      gives you a bigger advantage if you can keep ahead of your
      competitors.
      * Because new releases are adopted immediately, feedback comes
      quickly. This makes steering the project easier.
      * Since bugs can be very, very public, XP's ability to drastically
      reduce bug counts and bug severity are a big win.
      * In fast-paced environments, priorities often change rapidly.
      Releasing frequently means that when a project suddenly gets
      shelved, relatively little work sits around unreleased.

      The main limitation I can think of is that XP's focus on testability
      does not match well with the web environment in two ways:

      * One of the major criteria for a web site is "looks right". This
      is hard to automate.
      * Client-side functionality (javascript, dhtml, assorted
      components) are very popular with some site designers. This is
      fiendishly difficult to test automatically, especially across a
      wide variety of platforms.

      My main techniques for dealing with this are a) validating the output
      HTML, b) ignoring the meaning of the HTML but making sure that the code
      outputs whatever the visual designers want, c) manual testing, and d)
      shaking my head sadly and pressing onward whenever the issue comes up.

      Still, this isn't really a problem with XP; XP just exposes the problem
      that other methods tend to ignore.


      Oh, wait, there's one other limitation, and this one is a real one: XP
      demands doing things right from the beginning. This pays off in the long
      run, but initial progress on an XP project feels slower than just
      jumping in and hacking stuff out. On fast-paced projects, this initial
      feeling of slowness makes XP adoption much harder than in environments
      where people are accustomed to taking a longer view of things.

      William

      --
      brains for sale: http://scissor.com/
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