Extreme Programming Applied

Extreme Programming Applied Subtitle: PlayingToWin

ISBN 0201616408
Previous: ExtremeProgrammingExplored Next: ExtremeProgrammingForWebProjects

December 4, 2000 The book has evolved to become advice to those who want to start on the XP adventure from those who are already on it. In addition to the meat of the project contributed by KenAuer and RoyMiller, there are snippets of advice/experiences from others who have been there and done that. We are looking to get a draft to AW-L in 1Q2001... Ken stated at OOPSLA this year that he would not be at OOPSLA in 2001 if the book wasn't published by then.

October 9, 2001 The book is out. I've had an early production copy in my hands for about a week and the "masses" were being shipped to the warehouses at the same time. It was a long time getting there, but I'm really pleased with the way it turned out. Thanks to all who helped make it possible...

To the rest of you, thanks for buying it. :-)

The (pre-copy-edited) preface is below:

"You're a fool to think this will ever work."

People have said that to all of us about Extreme Programming (XP). We've said it to ourselves about XP.

People told Christopher Columbus he was nuts when he wanted to sail west. People told the pilgrims this before they got on the Mayflower. People told many of the early settlers of the American frontier the same thing.

Yet, they all headed west. Why?

They believed there was something better out there, and somebody had to be the first one to find out if they were right.

The journey itself was treacherous for each of them. Once they got to their destination, there were more dangers. Some they suspected ahead of time. Some were total surprises. Of course, they were scared. But, as pioneers, they had no choice but to face their fears head-on. Sometimes they died. Sometimes they lived to face the next life-threatening challenge.

Stories from these brave fools made it back to the people they left behind, and then to people they didn't even know. Those who may not have been brave enough to take the first journey, or who didn't have the opportunity, were encouraged. They became the next wave of pioneers. They were better prepared then the first wave. Bravery and success (mixed with the excitement of knowing the risk they were taking) encouraged another wave. It didn't come easy, but eventually the west was settled.

We are the early pioneers. We don't have all the answers. We have celebrated some victories. We've reflected on some failures. We certainly have learned a lot. These are our letters home. We hope they will encourage the next wave to head west.

-- KenAuer

Ken and Roy, cracking book, well done. And thanks for the foot-note. Fame at last. --KeithBraithwaite

PreviousHistoryOfPlayingToWin


Should you go XP because you're playing to win, or should you go XP because you want arrows in your back? --BenKovitz

A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. (author unknown by me) -- KenAuer

A quick search suggests John A. Shedd --PaulChisholm


Pioneers fall into two categories: idiots and geniuses. There is no middle ground. The allure of being labeled a genius makes the pioneering spirit attractive. Now add the fact that almost everyone doesn't properly develop software. "There has to be something better." The choice is clear: do what nobody else is doing, and show that it works. --JbRainsberger

If you don't believe "there might be something better out there", there is little reason to look for it whether you are a genius or an idiot. By the way, I think there are plenty of pioneers that fall into the middle ground and disagree with the categorization above. There are two types of people: those who categorize and those who do not. -- Ken Auer

If a pioneer is successful, is he not a genius? If a pioneer is not successful, is he not an idiot? At the least, the latter is "wasting his precious time," and thereby acting foolishly. I must be missing something simple or we're not quite speaking the same language. What pioneer is in the middle ground between idiot and genius? --JbRainsberger


Is it such a good idea to portray XPers as Western pioneers? The RUP crowd doesn't like us already, and I can guarantee you they are not looking forward to living on tiny plots of crummy land.... -- AuthorUnknown

There were a lot of people who have headed west who are very happy about where they ended up. People who think they will end up with tiny plots of crummy land are not the people who head west. Some people ended up with tiny plots of crummy land, others ended up in very nice places... at least a lot nicer than what they left. There are still a lot of people who have never moved west. There will always be people that have no desire to head west. Some people like living where they are. So what?

Not everybody is going to adopt XP. The only people who will are people who are at least open to the idea that "there is something better than the status quo". The people who are not open to the possibility are not the target audience of the book. -- KenAuer


People told Christopher Columbus the same thing when he wanted to sail West. [...]

From what I read, Christopher Columbus was probably one of the idiots. It was well known, at the time, that the world was round, and its approximate size was round [known?]. Given that, and reasonable approximations of the distance "the other way," often traveled by land, sane rational people would realize that going from Europe to China was "too far" for existing sailing technology.

But Christopher Columbus knew better: Relying on inaccurate data that severely underestimated the size of the earth, and other data that overestimated the distance "the other way around," he figured it wasn't "that far" across the ocean. Also, during the voyage, he kept double books: A conservative set to show the crew, and a hidden set to show his best and most accurate estimate of actual progress. (Turns out the conservative estimates were much more accurate.) So, by the time he had traveled about the distance needed to get to China, he discovered "the new world" -- Cuba. -- AuthorUnknown

While all the geniuses stayed in Europe -- KenAuer

(This point was made by a reviewer of an early draft. The authors presumably decided the theme outweighed the historical details.)

Also, historic reports say that he was a bad manager -- quite a failure at starting colonies in the new world. -- AuthorUnknown

Actually, starting the colonies was not the problem for Columbus. It was keeping control of them while he tried to manage an international project with developers spread across multiple remote sites. A problem we still have not solved in spite of our advanced technology (see Chapter 30, "The Next Best Thing To Being There" when the book comes out). Columbus was just one of the first to find out the hard way that it could not be done without spending an inordinate amount of time and energy and sacrificing the possibility of having any sort of healthy personal life. He lost sight of delivering value to the customer and fell prey to the desire for power.

In his first big project, I would say he was a very good manager. He did a pretty incredible job, with divine help, of making progress while holding together a scared and potentially mutinous crew long enough to deliver something of immense value to his customer. -- KenAuer

This is getting off topic, if anyone want to add more, how about moving the last part to ChristopherColumbus? or creating ChristopherColumbusWasNoGenius? for it?
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