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Re: [XP] Continuous Change

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  • glbrown@inebraska.com
    I think about selling XP and XP ideas a lot (mostly because I am trying to build an XP consulting business). I have had some success, but not nearly enough to
    Message 1 of 8 , Nov 27, 2004
      I think about selling XP and XP ideas a lot (mostly because I am trying to build
      an XP consulting business). I have had some success, but not nearly enough to
      cover expenses. I think that I am starting to understand where the resistance
      is coming from, but I am far from finding the solution.

      I think that most software development organizations believe that they are doing
      the best they can, given their current circumstances. The leaders of those
      organizations have often invested years in defining, implementing, and
      improving their development processes. They have led many projects that were
      perceived as successful, even though they were buggy, late, over budget, or
      missing important features. I think that many of them know that they could
      improve, but there are many obstacles to overcome. Changing individuals is
      hard. Changing organizations is exponentially harder.

      My approach has been to introduce TDD to individuals and small groups. I avoid
      talking about XP, because it seems to scare people and turn them off almost
      immediately. I believe that if individual programmers try TDD for long enough
      to get good at it, they will be receptive to other XP/Agile ideas. It hasn't
      happened for me, yet.

      I am working to sell TDD training that includes post-training mentoring. I know
      that if they are going to achieve success with TDD, they have to do it,
      especially when it seems hard or slow. I have been able to sell some training
      classes, but not the mentoring, even when I offer to do it for free. Why? I
      don't know. We do tend to be rugged individualists! 8^)


      Quoting Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...>:

      > Some thoughts on selling XP and XP ideas:
      > 1. XP is not a thing, cannot be bought, and therefore cannot be sold;
      > 2. XP is a dynamic interaction of human activities, far more complex than
      > a game that people might try, and therefore cannot be described well
      > enough to sell;
      > 3. The claims we make in selling XP offer things many people have never
      > had, and therefore sound literally incredible;
      > For these and other reasons, it is very difficult to sell XP.
      > It is possible to interest people in XP. The books and writings that many
      > of us produce have had that effect. There used to be a fair amount of press
      > about XP and Agile, which probably helped increase awareness. Now the
      > awareness is different: more people think they know what it is and have
      > already failed to decide to move in that direction.
      > It is possible to interest people in doing something different: "Hey, maybe
      > we wouldn't have so many bugs if we tested our code." However, many people
      > hear "Hey, JERK, maybe YOU wouldn't have so DAMN many bugs, YOU FOOL, if
      > YOU tested YOUR code." Their response, quite naturally, is to suggest
      > self-directed sexual congress. So suggestions are often rejected.
      > Sometimes we can show them. If a team works separately in cubes, it's more
      > difficult to do quick show and tell than if they work in a war room. If
      > they pair program -- which they probably don't -- it's much easier to pass
      > on tricks. Sometimes it's helpful to get in trouble, request help, and then
      > have the helper also learn something. This can't be done by trickery,
      > though: it's too transparent.
      > But imagine that in trying to find some complex bug we wrote a bunch of
      > tests that gave good information, but still didn't find the bug. Imagine
      > that as we work with our helper, we describe what the code does and how it
      > does it in terms of our tests. Then we spot what we think is the bug, write
      > another test that shows it, "Ha! That IS it!", fix it, and the test runs.
      > That might rub off.
      > Similarly, the use of a "private" neat tool might rub off. Suppose I had
      > JUnit on my machine, and that I used the GUI tester. People would see those
      > cool red and green bars coming up and ask what I was doing. I might even
      > use a little reverse psychology and be casual about it "Oh, it's just a
      > testing tool that I like to use".
      > There needs to be some proportion between the size of the idea one offers
      > and the size of the hole in the other person's head. I'm not always
      > entirely good at that, especially not in e-mail. It's very hard to be good
      > at that with a group, because everyone has different holes in their head.
      > It's easier one person and one idea at a time.
      > This almost reminds me of the apprenticeship notion ...
      > Ron Jeffries
      > www.XProgramming.com
      > I was smarter before I donated my brain to science.
      > I didn't know they meant NOW.
      > On Saturday, November 27, 2004, at 5:52:18 AM, Ben Hogan wrote:
      > > How do you sell the idea that /this/ new idea is going to be really
      > > help, if you have already been trying other new things?
      > End quotation from Ben Hogan, on Saturday, November 27, 2004, at 5:52:18 AM
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