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time tracking (was Re: [XP] Re: auditing XP)

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  • Chris Hanson
    ... Since I do consulting work on a time-and-materials basis, I track my time to the quarter hour. However, I track my time *my* way using OmniOutliner, which
    Message 1 of 18 , Oct 1, 2003
      On Wednesday, October 1, 2003, at 07:02 AM, Ken Boucher wrote:
      > Personally, I really hate having to log everything I'm doing, but it
      > just seems to be the nature of the business to spend a chunk of time
      > documenting the time you spend on everything except the amount of
      > time you spend documenting it.

      Since I do consulting work on a time-and-materials basis, I track my
      time to the quarter hour. However, I track my time *my* way using
      OmniOutliner, which takes almost no time at all. If a client wants me
      to track my hours some other way, say by using some nasty web
      application or by filling out paper forms, then I do it that way too
      and bill for the time it takes.

      I've had cases where it would take me 30 to 60 minutes per week to
      enter my data into someone else's time tracking system. If they prefer
      I spend billable time that way rather than doing real work, I'm not
      going to argue with them. However, I'm perfectly up front with them
      that I consider the time billable, and let them make the decision with
      that in mind.

      -- Chris

      --
      Chris Hanson, bDistributed.com, Inc. | Email: cmh@...
      Custom Mac OS X Development | Phone: +1-847-372-3955
      http://bdistributed.com/ | Fax: +1-847-589-3738
      http://bdistributed.com/Articles/ | Personal Email: cmh@...
    • acockburn@aol.com
      In a message dated 10/1/2003 1:20:47 PM Mountain Daylight Time, Ralph Johnsonwrites:
      Message 2 of 18 , Oct 1, 2003
        In a message dated 10/1/2003 1:20:47 PM Mountain Daylight Time, Ralph
        Johnsonwrites:


        <<Alistair Cockburn says that it isn't possible to tell
        whether a group is doing XP from outside the group.
        I do it all the time.>>

        Hi, Ralph,

        1. Could you please publish here the rules or heuristics you use to determine
        whether or not they have followed XP?
        You may be the only person in the world who has reason enough to care whether
        a team actually did whatever you choose to think of as "XP". Therefore the
        evaluation mechanism you use is very important.

        2. My point wasn't that You don't know in your own mind whether they're doing
        XP (which is adequate for your course), or Ron doesn't know in his own mind
        (or I don't know in my own mind) whether they're doing XP, but that there isn't
        enough consensus to constitute meaning to the phrase, "This team is / isn't
        doing XP".

        3. Point #2 was effectively neutralized w.r.t. the CMMi question by those who
        pointed out that a team doesn't have to be observed to be doing "XP"
        (whatever that is), but only what they say they're doing. So with respect to CMMi,
        "This team is/isn't doing XP" is an irrelevant sentence (which is just as well,
        since I also think it's a meaningless sentence, except, possibly, in your
        course).

        4. Leading forward to a different question, if the sentence is both
        meaningless in utterance, and as many people here point out, also insignificant ("What
        do you care whether they are doing *real* XP --- the important question is
        whether the project is succeeding and people are happy?"), then what would make a
        decent response to the FAQ, "how can we tell if we're doing XP?"

        ==============================================
        Alistair Cockburn
        ==============================================


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • acockburn@aol.com
        In a message dated 10/1/2003 1:20:47 PM Mountain Daylight Time, extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com writes: In this context, I am reminded that long ago,
        Message 3 of 18 , Oct 1, 2003
          In a message dated 10/1/2003 1:20:47 PM Mountain Daylight Time,
          extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com writes:
          In this context, I am reminded that long ago, Alistair came to visit the C3
          team. He commented later to the effect that he learned that the team
          actually did the process that they and their management said that they did,
          and if I recall, expressed some surprise, as this was rather an unusual
          result.

          So it seems that Alistair has forgotten how to determine whether teams are
          doing what they claim to be doing, using an independent resource if need
          be. I hope he kept good notes on how he used to do it, because it can be a
          valuable ability when one is coaching. ;->
          ---> At that time, "doing XP" had a meaning. Given the definition I was
          handed, it wasn't just that they were doing what they said they would be doing,
          they were doing "XP".

          I remain in awe by that remarkable result.

          Also by the fact that there was no brick falling onto the team's collect head
          at that time.

          (My audit wouldn't have worked for CMMi purposes, because I didn't check the
          C3 processes for ensuring that the process was taught and followed ... only
          that coincidentally it just happened to be being followed on the day I visited)

          ==============================================
          Alistair Cockburn
          ==============================================


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • acockburn@aol.com
          In a message dated 10/1/2003 1:20:47 PM Mountain Daylight Time, Ron Jeffries writes: I think it works, but I have one big problem with the whole issue. I m
          Message 4 of 18 , Oct 1, 2003
            In a message dated 10/1/2003 1:20:47 PM Mountain Daylight Time, Ron Jeffries
            writes:
            I think it works, but I have one "big" problem with the whole issue. I'm
            not sure that it means anything to say "We are doing XP", or "We are doing
            RUP" for that matter.
            ---> sorry, I didn't spot this before putting in my similar sentence. It
            appears Ron and I accidentally agree again (sorry, Ron)

            ==============================================
            Alistair Cockburn
            ==============================================


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Ron Jeffries
            ... I m sure it must be my mistake ... Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com You are closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge. --Professor
            Message 5 of 18 , Oct 1, 2003
              On Wednesday, October 1, 2003, at 5:54:16 PM, acockburn@... wrote:

              > In a message dated 10/1/2003 1:20:47 PM Mountain Daylight Time, Ron Jeffries
              > writes:
              > I think it works, but I have one "big" problem with the whole issue. I'm
              > not sure that it means anything to say "We are doing XP", or "We are doing
              > RUP" for that matter.
              > ---> sorry, I didn't spot this before putting in my similar sentence. It
              > appears Ron and I accidentally agree again (sorry, Ron)

              I'm sure it must be my mistake ...

              Ron Jeffries
              www.XProgramming.com
              You are closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge.
              --Professor Harold Hill
            • Ron Jeffries
              ... Here are a few potentially decent responses, to be used in a context-dependent way. See Brad Appleton for details on how to be optimally context-dependent.
              Message 6 of 18 , Oct 2, 2003
                On Wednesday, October 1, 2003, at 5:47:33 PM, acockburn@... wrote:

                > 4. Leading forward to a different question, if the sentence is both
                > meaningless in utterance, and as many people here point out, also insignificant ("What
                > do you care whether they are doing *real* XP --- the important question is
                > whether the project is succeeding and people are happy?"), then what would make a
                > decent response to the FAQ, "how can we tell if we're doing XP?"

                Here are a few potentially decent responses, to be used in a
                context-dependent way. See Brad Appleton for details on how to be optimally
                context-dependent.

                ==========================================================================
                "Well, if we knew whether we were doing XP, what use would we make of the
                information?"
                ==========================================================================
                "Well, first of all, are you doing all of the XP practices all the time?"

                If they say yes, next ask "How's that working for you?"
                If they say no, next ask "How's that working for you?"
                ==========================================================================
                "1. Show me the team's Open Workspace.
                2. I'd like to meet your Customer.
                3. What stories are being done this iteration? Can I see the cards?
                4. Tell me about your performance on acceptance tests.
                5. When was your most recent release? When's the next one?
                6. Here are some cards. Tell me about the system's design.
                7. Let's go watch people program for a while.
                8. How many classes, methods, lines of code do you have? How many test
                classes, methods, assertions, lines? Have you tracked that over time?
                9. Do you know what your unit test coverage is?
                10. How do you handle defects coming in from the customers?
                11. How are you doing on refactoring? Any changes? Why?
                12. Tell me about who works on what code.
                13. What kind of coding standards do you follow?
                14. How often do you build the system? Do the builds always work?
                15. When do you start your days, and end them? I'm staying over Saturday,
                will there be anyone here to come talk to?"
                ==========================================================================
                "Hire Ron Jeffries to come in and tell you. It's the only way to be sure."
                ==========================================================================

                Ron Jeffries
                www.XProgramming.com
                For me, XP ain't out there, it's in here. -- Bill Caputo
              • Ralph Johnson
                Ron Jeffries had a bunch of ideas for checking that XP practices were being followed which are mostly more work than what we do, though they would be more
                Message 7 of 18 , Oct 11, 2003
                  Ron Jeffries had a bunch of ideas for checking that XP practices were being
                  followed which are mostly more work than what we do, though they would be
                  more accurate. We monitor a lot of projects, so we can't spend too much
                  time on each.

                  He also said:
                  > I think it works, but I have one "big" problem with the whole issue. I'm
                  > not sure that it means anything to say "We are doing XP", or "We are doing
                  > RUP" for that matter.
                  >
                  > We can certainly monitor, however, the extent to which the team is doing
                  > (or at least reporting) the XP practices, which is probably nearly good
                  > enough for a number of simple purposes:
                  >
                  > -- satisfying a CMM or ISO process check;
                  > -- finding out whether students are adhering to practices;
                  > -- detecting correlation between practice and result;
                  > -- detecting probable areas to measure and/or improve;

                  I define XP as doing the XP practices. Is there any other useful
                  definition?

                  Ken Boucher was pretty close when he said:

                  > Planning Game - interview?
                  Logs plus reports from customer.
                  > Small Releases - repository?
                  > Metaphor - interview?
                  > Simple Design - code review from repository?
                  The TAs and I read code. I don't know if this is what you mean by "code
                  review". It is impossible to be sure that students are doing the simplest
                  thing they can think of but it is easy to see unnecessary complexity. It
                  takes days or weeks for people to build infrastructure.

                  > Testing - repository? Interviews? some code tool?
                  We make sure there are automated tests and we count them and complain if
                  there don't seem to be very many. We usually don't make sure that tests are
                  written before code. When they aren't, usually code is checked in one day
                  and tests are checked in the next. It is theoretically possible for
                  students to write code and tests on the same day without writing tests
                  first, but not likely.

                  > Refactoring - interview? code review?
                  We read code and say "this needs to be refactored". Refactoring is one of
                  the practices students find hardest. Many of them look at bad code and
                  can't see that it needs to be refactored, or else can't see how. Most teams
                  have some people who can, and eventually that knowledge spreads, but it
                  takes awhile.

                  Steven Gordon <sagordon@...> suggested "Code changes checked in, but no
                  new unit tests checked in." This is a good idea, and we should look for it.

                  > Pair Programming - logs?
                  > Collective Code Ownership - interview? repository?
                  > Continuous Integration - repository?
                  > Sustainable Pace - logs?
                  > On-site Customer - interview?
                  Also logs. If the customer is a student then they will have a log. The
                  best customers are not in the class, of course. But all XP projects are
                  required to have a customer, and students find their own projects, so often
                  someone in the class is a customer.

                  > Coding Standards - code review? some code tool?
                  Also interview. "What are your coding standards?"

                  -Ralph Johnson
                • Ron Jeffries
                  ... I d like to think that there is, though I confess I don t know what it might be. It seems awfully narrowly defined as Just the Pracs, Ma am. Is it still
                  Message 8 of 18 , Oct 11, 2003
                    On Saturday, October 11, 2003, at 5:36:36 PM, Ralph Johnson wrote:

                    > I define XP as doing the XP practices. Is there any other useful
                    > definition?

                    I'd like to think that there is, though I confess I don't know what it
                    might be. It seems awfully narrowly defined as Just the Pracs, Ma'am.

                    "Is it still XP if we type the stories into Excel," etc.

                    Ron Jeffries
                    www.XProgramming.com
                    It's easier to act your way into a new way of thinking
                    than to think your way into a new way of acting. --Millard Fuller
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