Kent Beck Cringing

“I cringe when I read it now.” (1st edition of Extreme Programming Explained)

“You can’t make XP work somewhere.”

— Kent Beck

Listening to an interview with Kent Beck on Team Agile I got a much better understanding of how his ideas of changed. XP has become more a set of good practices and things you might try implementing, not an all or nothing recipe. I felt back when there were lots of debates over XP was an all or nothing affair that much of the dogmatic arguments about having to do it all or it wasn’t XP were really meant to more as a defensive gesture.

After 7 years Kent has come around to the idea that you can’t completely remake an organization. He cites an example about a good developer who wants to keep a continuous build going, but no one cares about it and his boss keeps asking why he’s wasting time on the build box while other people are getting more code done. To this Kent has no real easy answer. The point is that XP or any other methodology has to be sub-optomized from it’s pure implementation given the constraints. (Kent is careful to note that just because the culture is set that you should still question basic assumptions like that pair programming couldn’t work.)

Good interview though, it feels nice to have someone like Kent assert that even changes like TDD can be difficult to implement in an organization.

Technorati Tags:

, ,