Very Old Person

A VeryOldPerson can sometimes be useful. It depends on the ratio of experience gained to time elapsed but it's hard to get old in this world without absorbing SomeWisdom along the way. Consider sponsoring a VeryOldPerson by including one in your team. They are easy to keep, don't mess the carpets and can contribute SomeWisdom to the day's proceedings.

Youth is not wasted on the young - they can have it and good luck to them. All that angst and hormones. All the chasing around trying to find a lover, a great car, a good career, an exciting image... All that religious fervor about HolyWars...

I'm happy to be a VeryOldPerson who has seen em come and seen em go and survived to wear the tee-shirt.

What has this to do with ExtremeProgramming? Just this; to me xp encapsulates SomeWisdom which must have been gained over a long time. So I suspect KentBeck of being a VeryOldPerson himself. My efforts to implement xp in an environment where there was not a VeryOldPerson on the team to calm all the hormone-induced ballyhoo have convinced me that a VeryOldPerson is a key requirement of making xp work. But then I'm biased.

-- PaulObrien

see XpIsForExperience


I think the key is respect. Both young and old bring value to the table. The old bring tried-and-true experience; the young, not hindered by experience, may bring more creativity. The trick is to make our differences complement rather than compete. -- AnonymousDonor


One of the advantages of having a VOP on the team is that they've seen all the hype before and have perspective on it that the VYP's don't have. Respect is essential between VOPs and VYPs but patience is equally necessary since VYPs (often characterized as "young Turks" tend to think of VOPs as "old fuds.") "Been there, done that" doesn't help much unless "learned this" is included. Those who refuse to learn from history (VOP's experience) are doomed to repeat it. Another VOP -- RaySchneider


The eminent OrsonWelles? once told the then-young actor JohnHurt? that experience isn't really all that valuable. All experience teaches you is that there are a lot more ways to do something than you think.

While this may seem dismissive of acquired wisdom, I think it does point out the main difference between the young programmers and the older programmers I've worked with. The young always think there is a "right way" to do something, and finding it and doing it that way is important. The more-experienced just get things done without too much concern for whether they are doing the "best" possible way. Principles like DoTheSimplestThingThatCouldPossiblyWork, YouArentGonnaNeedIt, and WorseIsBetter all seem to have come from people with a VeryOldPerson perspective.

Another general difference between young and old is the enthusiasm for learning all the details of new products. Young programmers will often dive in and learn every nuance of some new language/OS/tool before trying to use it. A VeryOldPerson is less likely to do this, not because of lack of desire to learn new things, but because every "new" product is 98% the same as some old product that the VOP has already used, and studying the 2% difference is not an interesting activity. A VeryOldPerson is unlikely to be interested in CsharpVsJava kinds of arguments.

Unfortunately, the VeryOldPerson lessons have to be gained from experience; it is almost impossible to teach them to the young. The young are most likely to see a VeryOldPerson as jaded, burnt-out, or old-fashioned. Many young programmers get downright ornery when it is suggested that they should not spend so much time finding the "correct" way to do something or learning everything about a "new" technology. Someday, they'll understand, but today, they just can't.

-- KrisJohnson


Good judgement is the result of experience ... Experience is the result of bad judgement.

- Fred Brooks


Is VeryOldPerson synonymous with OldTimer, or is there a distinction related to wisdom gained vs just being around for a while?


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