Extreme Programming And Narrative Therapy

This page is out of date. I am now tracking my research at http://redsquirrel.com/dave/work/pasd/. --DaveHoover
How can the theories and practices of Narrative Family Therapy contribute to the thinking behind ExtremeProgramming?
I am a trained Family Therapist. In 2000, I made a career change and began working with technology. Most of my graduate studies focused on Narrative Family Therapy, a postmodern theory founded by Michael White and David Epston.

Here is an definition of narrative therapy: http://www.massey.ac.nz/~alock/virtual/narrativ.htm

While reading ExtremeProgrammingExplainedEmbraceChange, I discovered some shared philosophies behind XP and Narrative Therapy. Below are ongoing thoughts and quotes from my research. -- DaveHoover
Not sure if this helps, but I believe LarryConstantine was once a family therapist. You might want to take a look at some of his stuff.

Some tidbits on LarryConstantine as a family therapist: He left the IT industry for 15 years and entered the field of family therapy from 1972 - 1987. He published several books on childhood sexuality. I will eventually get around to reading his book, PeoplewarePapers. --DaveHoover
Another software writer whose writings show a large influence from a family therapist is JerryWeinberg.

Two of my favorite books are by GeraldWeinberg: ThePsychologyOfComputerProgramming and BecomingaTechnicalLeader?. He was heavily influenced by the renowned family therapist, VirginiaSatir. -- DaveHoover

"At its best, letting go of our role as pilots steering toward a specific goal encouraged humility and moment-by-moment collaboration about whether therapy was moving in a satisfactory direction. At its worst, it invited a sense of helpless, aimless, 'co-drifting.'" -- NT:8

"This is the paradigm for XP. There is no such thing as straight and level. Even if things seem to be going perfectly, don't take your eyes off the road. Change is the only constant. Always be prepared to move a little this way, a little that way. Sometimes you have to move in a completely different direction. That's life as a programmer." -- XPEXP:28

It seems that both paradigms promote collaboration while flattening hierarchy...
"In striving to make sense of life, persons face the task of arranging their experiences of events in sequences across time in such a way as to arrive at a coherent account of themselves and the world around them.... This account can be referred to as a story or self-narrative." -- NMTE:10

"The stories are really the artifact at the heart of the continuing dialog between what is possible and what is desirable." -- KentBeck, UserStory

"Change, whether it be a change in belief, relationship, feeling, or self-concept, involves a change in language. Fortunately...language is always changing." -- NT:29

Looking for better examples of the overlap between stories and narratives...
"Instead of seeing ourselves as mechanics who are working to fix a broken machine or ecologists who are trying to understand and influence complex ecosystems, we experience ourselves as interested people -- perhaps with an anthropological or biographical or journalistic bent -- who are skilled at asking questions to bring forth the knowledge and experience that is carried in the stories of the people we work with." -- NT:18

Could this viewpoint be helpful in the collaboration between the customer and the coach?
"It was Epston who first called our attention to how talking of resources evokes thoughts of mining. A resource to him seemed like a fixed thing inside of someone that you had to go in and get. He preferred the metaphor of 'knowledge' [over 'resource'], as knowledge is something that develops and circulates among people." -- NT:17

How does this impact how teammates view each other? How does this impact the use of metaphors to visualize the system?
"A key to this therapy is that in any life there are always more events that don't get 'storied' than there are ones that do -- even the longest and most complex autobiography leaves out more than it includes. This means that when life narratives carry hurtful meanings or seem to offer only unpleasant choices, they can be changed by highlighting different, previously un-storied events or by taking new meaning from already-storied events, thereby constructing new narratives." -- NT:32

How can this viewpoint aid in the refactoring of user stories after they have been found to be unhelpful?
"It is useful to hold our views of reality 'lightly.'" -- NT:34

"TravelLight -- The design strategy should produce no 'extra' design.... If we embrace change, we will be willing to start simple and continually refine." -- XPEXP:104
"...compassion isn't mere kindness, but a willingness to enter into long-term relationships, to accept and nurture the viewpoints of developers, managers, and customers, with any of whom you may disagree, to help them find ways to accept each other and build their community." -- XPEXA:25

If this doesn't sound like a job for a shrink, I don't know what does! :-)
"Naming something helps give you power over it." [Speaking of SystemMetaphor] --XPEPL:87
General remark about comming from another subject/specialty and seeing common ground with the new area: I think that inescapbly happens for everyone. Its just human to see parallels, make analogies. Nothing wrong with it, but nothing special either. Sometimes the analogies are valid and useful, sometimes not. Sometimes there are more so, sometimes less. -- AnnonymousDonor? (hah, I used that badge)
See AgilePropheciesOfDoctorSeuss.


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