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Planning Extreme Programming (XP)


Planning Extreme Programming (XP) Cover




This is a book about planning software projects. We are writing it mostly for project managers--those who have to plan and track the correspondence of the planning with reality. We also are writing it for programmers and customers, who have a vital role to play in planning and developing software. Planning is not about predicting the future. When you make a plan for developing a piece of software, development is not going to go like that. Not ever. Your customers wouldn't even be happy if it did, because by the time the software gets there, the customers don't want what was planned; they want something different.

Like so many, we enjoy Eisenhower's quotation: "In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable." That's why this isn't a book about plans; it's about planning. And planning is so valuable and important, so vital, that it deserves to go on a little every day, as long as development lasts.

If you follow the advice in this book, you are going to have a new problem to solve every day--planning--but we won't apologize for that, because without planning, software development inevitably goes off the rails. The scope of this book is deliberately narrow. It covers how to plan and track software development for XP projects. It's based on our experience as consultants and coaches, together with the experience of the growing band of early adopters who are using XP.

As a result this isn't a book about the whole of project management. We don't cover typical project manager jobs such as personnel evaluation, recruiting, and budgeting. We don't address the issues of large projects with hordes of developers, nor do we say anything about planning in the context of other software processes, or of planning other activities. We think there are principles and techniques here that everyone can use, but we have stuck to the parts of the process we know--getting everybody on the team pointed in one direction, discovering when this is no longer true, and restoring harmony.

XP (Extreme Programming) is a system of practices (you can use the m-word if you want to; we'd rather not, thank you) that a community of software developers is evolving to address the problems of quickly delivering quality software, and then evolving it to meet changing business needs.

XP isn't just about planning. It covers all aspects of small team software development--design, testing, implementation, deployment, and maintenance. However, planning is a key piece of the XP puzzle. (For an overview of XP, read Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change . While you're at it, buy copies of all of the rest of our books, too.)

XP addresses long projects by breaking them into a sequence of self-contained, one- to three-week mini-projects. During each iteration

  • Customers pick the features to be added.
  • Programmers add the features so they are completely ready to be deployed.
  • Programmers and customers write and maintain automated tests to demonstrate the presence of these features.
  • Programmers evolve the design of the system to gracefully support all the features in the system.

Without careful planning, the process falls apart.

  • The team must choose the best possible features to implement.
  • The team must react as positively as possible to the inevitable setbacks.
  • Team members must not overcommit, or they will slow down.
  • The team must not undercommit, or customers won't get value for their money.
  • Team members must figure out clearly where they are and report this accurately, so that everyone can adjust their plans accordingly

The job of the daily planner is to help keep the team on track in all these areas.

We come by our project planning ideas by necessity. As consultants, we are usually introduced to projects when they are mostly dead. The projects typically aren't doing any planning, or they are drowning in too much planning of the wrong sort.

The resulting ideas are the simplest planning ideas we could think of that could possibly work. But above all, remember all the planning techniques in the world, including these, can't save you if you forget that software is built by human beings. In the end keep the human beings focused, happy, and motiviated and they will deliver. Kent Beck, Merlin, Oregon

Martin Fowler, Melrose, Massachusetts http://www.martinfowler.com

July 2000

I have a cunning plan.

--Baldrick, Blackadder


Product Details

Beck, Kent
Fowler, Martin
Fowler, Martin J.
Addison-Wesley Professional
Programming - General
Programming - Software Development
Computer software
Software engineering
eXtreme programming
Software Development & Engineering - General
Computer software -- Development.
Software Engineering-General
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Xp Series
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
October 2000
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
9 x 7.2 x 0.6 in 299 gr

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Related Subjects

Computers and Internet » Software Engineering » General

Planning Extreme Programming (XP) New Trade Paper
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$40.25 In Stock
Product details 160 pages Addison-Wesley Professional - English 9780201710915 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Without careful ongoing planning, the software development process can fall apart. Extreme Programming (XP) is a new programming discipline, or methodology, that is geared toward the way that the vast majority of software development projects are handled — in small teams. In this new book, noted software engineers Kent Beck and Martin Fowler show the reader how to properly plan a software development project with XP in mind. The authors lay out a proven strategy that forces the reader to plan as their software project unfolds, and therefore avoid many of the nasty problems that can potentially spring up along the way.
"Synopsis" by , Extreme programming (XP) is a programming discipline that is geared towards software development in small teams. This book shows how to plan, the successful tactics of planning and the importance of planning within your company using the extreme programming methodology.
"Synopsis" by ,

"XP is the most important movement in our field today. I predict that it will be as essential to the present generation as the S.E.I. and its Capability Maturity Model were to the last."

--From the foreword by Tom DeMarco

The hallmarks of Extreme Programming--constant integration and automated testing, frequent small releases that incorporate continual customer feedback, and a teamwork approach--make it an exceptionally flexible and effective approach to software development. Once considered radical, Extreme Programming (XP) is rapidly becoming recognized as an approach particularly well-suited to small teams facing vague or rapidly changing requirements--that is, the majority of projects in today's fast-paced software development world.

Within this context of flexibility and rapid-fire changes, planning is critical; without it, software projects can quickly fall apart. Written by acknowledged XP authorities Kent Beck and Martin Fowler, Planning Extreme Programming presents the approaches, methods, and advice you need to plan and track a successful Extreme Programming project. The key XP philosophy: Planning is not a one-time event, but a constant process of reevaluation and course-correction throughout the lifecycle of the project.

You will learn how planning is essential to controlling workload, reducing programmer stress, increasing productivity, and keeping projects on track. Planning Extreme Programming also focuses on the importance of estimating the cost and time for each user story (requirement), determining its priority, and planning software releases accordingly.

Specific topics include:

  • Planning and the four key variables: cost, quality, time, and scope
  • Deciding how many features to incorporate into a release
  • Estimating scope, time, and effort for user stories
  • Prioritizing user stories
  • Balancing the business value and technical risk of user stories
  • Rebuilding the release plan based on customer and programmer input
  • Choosing the iteration length
  • Tracking an iteration
  • What to do when you're not going to make the date
  • Dealing with bugs
  • Making changes to the team
  • Outsourcing
  • Working with business contracts

In addition, this book alerts you to the red flags that signal serious problems: customers who won't make decisions, growing defect reports, failing daily builds, and more. An entire chapter is devoted to war stories from the trenches that illustrate the real-world problems many programmers encounter and the solutions they've devised.


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