I got home from XPDay Benelux to find a package waiting for me - inside was a copy of XP Explained 2nd edition! I laid the book aside while I caught up with my family and the book remained unopened until late into the evening as though I was avoiding it.
When I read the first edition, the XP values strongly resonated with my own and the book resulted in a huge change in my work life. Now I was a little afraid that the new reworked second edition would leave me disappointed, perhaps the values had been watered down and replaced with mild platitudes.
By Chapter 5, I breathed a sigh of relief, the book presents new supporting principles that illuminate the XP practices that I can readily identify with. The authors make it clear that the practices are situational - there is no right place for everyone to start and no binary test for being extreme. The new practices fit well with the way many current XP teams are working recommending a weekly planning cycle with quarterly releases and a workspace set up for pair programming with story cards on the wall not computerized.
The book captures XP as it has evolved with some new twists and gives guidance to the wider project team on how to apply XP in different contexts.
I like it! :-)
I have just returned home from Phoenix, Arizona where I attended AYEconference so here's my trip report.
The conference started with a warm-up tutorial for newcomers lead by Esther Derby and Johanna Rothman. This tutorial introduced Myers-Briggs personality types and Virginia Satir models of Interaction, Congruence and Change.
An eye-opener was when we split into groups sorted by Myers-Briggs temperament to come up with our ideal organisations - radically different. Recommended practice is to build teams that comprise a balance of personality types and bear personality type in mind for meeting structure and workspace design.
I am ENFJ (although sometimes ENFP) already aware that some can find my habit of thinking as I am talking annoying and that I need to come up with data/logical arguments to support my intuitive decisions. The introduction to the characteristic behavior of other personality types has helped me to spot them earlier so that I can adjust my approach.
Jerry Weinberg is one of my favourite authors and I enjoyed hearing his instructive tales. All the sessions were of high quality with presenters from across the software industry (James Bach, Tim Lister, Naomi Karten to name a few). The company between sessions was great - it was nice to catch up with Tim Bacon and finally meet up face-to-face with Dave Hoover and some other bloggers from the SHAPE forum.
The one session that really stood out was Jean McLendon's tutorial on the techniques of Virginia Satir for living a congruent life - very moving and inspirational.
I just finished reading the book "Crystal Clear" by Alistair Cockburn ISBN 0-201-69947-8
Crystal is a family of agile software development methods and Crystal Clear is the variant for small co-located teams. Unlike the active Scrum and XP communities it is hard to find teams explicitly using Crystal. Crystal Clear has been distilled by observing successful teams. So although fewer teams set out to do Crystal, many have adapted out of the box methods to fit their circumstances and Crystal may describe better what they are doing than XP or Scrum partially implemented. The book includes a field report by Stephen Sykes from a team who selected Crystal Clear at the outset documenting their experience over five increments. I think it would have been interesting to see different implementations of Crystal Clear compared and contrasted.
The books starts in a rather cute way with an email conversation between Alistair, the methodologist, and Crystal, the method. This helps the reader to grasp the basic principles. There were points in the book that I wish had more depth such as Exploratory 360 and other sections seemed to repeat parts of previous sections. I was very pleased to see Jeff Patton's work on Interaction Design included.
A minor point that bugged me was that photos are repeated in the book Fig 1.1 is same as Fig 2.1 and some of the photos are old originally published in his earlier book "Agile Software Development". For example, the Iteration Plan from ThoughtWorks Fig 5.19. Repeating photos gives the impression that Alistair is short of candidates teams using Crystal Clear.
The 2nd edition of XP Explained ISBN 0321278658 will be published soon and, as Erich Gamma says in the forward, "the book is a full rewrite!".
Addision-Wesley say "there are five core values consistent with excellence in software development, eleven principles for putting those values into action and thirteen primary and eleven corollary practices to help you push development past its current business and technical limitations". The table of contents includes topic that may be interesting to managers on Taylorism, Toyota Production System and Offshore Development mixed in with other tantalizing chapters on The Timeless Way of Programming and Purity.
Kent has started a yahoo group for discussing the new XP practices.
I am looking forward to reading these practices in context when I get my hands on a copy. I think it will be really interesting to see how the new practices get absorbed into existing XP community of teams practicing XPv1. Only yesterday, I was talking about Metaphor with a client and how fixing on a real-world metaphor early on a project can place limits on your thinking. It can be tough to make language shifts but these are required to communicate evolved ideas. I have high hopes that this new book will shift us away from dogmatic XP into a new more holistic approach.