An interesting interview of
Kent Beck and Tom de Marco, the author of “Peopleware”.
What strikes me the most is that while Kent seems to be fairly reasonable, it’s
clear to me that his buddy is not really in touch with reality when it comes to
XP programming (or even programming in the industry, for that matter).
Here are a few selected quotes:
“In the subsequent five years, XP has become mainstream”
"So the parlance I
think has become mainstream. Whether the practice has become mainstream, I think
it depends on where you go. And a lot of places I go, it is."
knows what paraprogramming is."
Reading further down the interview, it looks like "paraprogramming" actually
means "pair programming", so Tom is probably trying to coin his own term, a bit
like some other people tried to create the term "AO" for "AOP". Tom also
still seems to believe the same old cliches about evil managers who get in the
way of developers:
"I think managers in particular are saying, well what the hell am I here
for if not to tell a given person when he ought to be testing and when he
ought to be coding and when it’s time for a build."
and that developers are better left alone:
"And I think XP is a very natural kind of self-coordination where that
work, that coordinating work is pushed down the hierarchy."
… which is totally nonsensical to me. I am a firm believer that
software created by developers only is worthless and that everybody (managers,
marketing, UI designers, tech writers, product, etc…) has an important role.
Any activity or technique that isolates these layers from each other is a direct
threat to the success of the project.
Fortunately, Kent is here to instill some realism:
"Kent: Well, some of it is. I think of managers as people with more
experience, a broader perspective, perhaps more wisdom about what’s going on
and good people skills."
I credit XP for making developers more aware of testing in general, but from
my experience, the few times I have seen some XP at work in companies were through consultants hired on a short term basis because using their full-time
employees to do XP was considered a waste of money (and in some way, Kent and
Tom seem to confirm this observation since all they do is consult and write
books about XP).
An interesting overview overall (if you can set aside the various spelling
mistakes), which comforts me in the idea that XP is more talked about than
really applied in the real world.