Runaway Religion

A RunawayReligion is something that becomes a religion in spite of the wishes of the "leader".

ExtremeProgramming may be one of these. Some people make a cult out of it, asserting that it will always solve all your problems, get the product in on time and under budget, keep quality up, programmers happy, and patch the hole in the ozone layer. All this in spite of the fact that WardAndKent have been all but screaming that it is only useful within a specific class of problems. The cult of XP has run away from WardAndKent.

Can you name a single person who qualifies as a cultist?

So, the perceived "cultishness" of a few people making biased unsupported and unverifiable claims, is sufficient to discredit the carefully-reasoned and supported work of hundreds based on the distilled experiences of thousands? I would say it is rather more likely the case that it is the few who are problematic here, not the thousands. And, given past experience with early promoters of many things, I'd suggest that it is definitely the few who are problematic.

Previous comments about XP have moved to CritiqueOfXp and CritiqueOfXpxec.

If you are pair-programming, if you write tests first, if you measure your own productivity and find that it is optimal when you go home at 6pm, if you integrate your code several times a day and let go of any claim of ownership when you do, then I ask that you tell your colleagues, tell your folks, tell your wife, tell your brother, tell your pastor, priest or rabbi. Tell them all exactly what you are doing. If any one of them thinks that you have been inducted into a cult then take them seriously. Seek help. A cult is a very dangerous thing. -- WardCunningham

  If only you're doing it, you're a freak.
  If two people are doing it they are pioneers.
  If three people are doing it, they are a gang.
  If four people are doing it, they are "the leaders".
  If five people are doing it, they are "the association".
  If twenty-five, they are a clique.
  If one-thousand, then it's a cult.
  If one-hundred-thousand, it's a movement.
  If one-million, it's an alternative political group.
  If five-million, it's an alternative lifestyle.
  If one-hundred-million, it's the current fashion.
  If everybody's doing it it's nothing at all.

I think what gives the notion of ExtremeProgramming a cult-like tendency is the word "Extreme". That automatically sets up a promise of something extraordinary. People like the idea of OneProcessFitsAll? because it means they have found "the answer". Of course, that mentality is exactly what puts a cult together. A wrench is the right tool for loosening a bolt, but a failure for unscrewing screws. Some of what people offer as ExtremeProgramming can be appropriate for certain projects. --KirkKitchen

When your god tells you that he/she/it is not a god, you could be in a RunawayReligion. Either that, or he/she/it has a sense of humor. Most often, though, he/she/it is NOT a god, which means you have some reality adjustments to make, buddy.

When someone asks you if you're a god, you say YES. --GhostBusters?

Some scenes in FightClub illustrate a RunawayReligion.


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