Wards Wisdom

A place to collect examples of Ward Cunningham's wisdom.


Most of our prisons are of our own construction. When we do a little more than the customer asks, we have to drag that little more along for the rest of the journey. And the customer has no sympathy for our burden. When we do a little less than the customer asks we get to finish early, have a nice conversation with the customer in a relaxed environment, and cheerfully charge off to do the two more things the customer really wanted out of the fifteen we had thought of. Doing those two more things well is fun too. The GoldPlating is on the handcuffs. -- WardCunningham


An often overlooked but still key part of XP is the revised relationship with management. By the time you have teams of XP teams you will also have invented ExtremeManagement (XM) which will have its own versions of familiar extreme principles. I set out once to construct exactly this (WardAtIbm) but found personality types and reward structures at both company and clients, well, unfavorable. Still, XM will happen in time. It will happen first among a small group of managers who are delivery oriented, have the confidence and knowhow to work from first principles, and find themselves working with teams that are already practicing XP. And it will be glorious. -- WardCunningham


I worked with a fellow once who refused to comment, indent or even carriage return at reasonable places. I made him sit and watch me refactor one particularly crucial piece of code until we had something even KentBeck would like. I found lots of duplication and irregularities, but nothing fatally wrong with the original, much to my amazement.

"What do you think?" I asked.

"I think we just wasted an hour," he said, "It still does the same thing."

"You're right" I said as I reverted to his original. If he wasn't going to admit it looked better, I wasn't going to let him enjoy looking at it.

I ran into him at a conference a few months later. He said he had tried formatting code on his own and kinda liked it. Ahh. Small successes. There is a moral: If you don't like looking at your code you are probably not writing it well. -- WardCunningham

Ward, I want to be as wise and as patient as you are, and I want it now! -- RonJeffries


See also: WardStories, WardCunninghamWritingsVideosEtc?

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