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Approach for Introduction XP Programming

Dennis Escueta
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 29, 2003
Posts: 14
Eric and Brian
Our eBusiness department is about 2-3 years old now. I was there, I guess you could say when it was a few months old and I came from a Client-Server based environment.
Our company had its own Software Development Methodology. With eBusiness moving to J2EE architecture, RUP was introduced and is the norm within eBusiness for project development.
Recently, Rational conducted a survey and assesed how well our whole IT department is performing and see if they can be improved. They interviewed different members of staff, from managers down to the testers. The mark these consultants gave our company was as you'd imagine was woeful to say the least. There are many people out there who did not like the assesment and did not like the idea of changing existing processes. Bottom line is, some projects do require an iterative approach and some dont.
With sentiment like these, how would you approach or introduce the concepts of XP Programming. I believe some of developers in eBusiness are already using these concepts, but just didnt realise it. Especially when business demands a fast turnaround time when putting marketing strategies in place on our website.
Would you be able to apply the XP concepts to projects other than eBusiness?
Part of my time has been allocated to helping integrate the companies SDM and RUP Methodology.
Thank you,
Dennis
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Dennis Escueta:
Bottom line is, some projects do require an iterative approach and some dont.

What projects can you think of which wouldn't benefit from an iterative approach?
There are many people out there who did not like the assesment and did not like the idea of changing existing processes.
[...]
With sentiment like these, how would you approach or introduce the concepts of XP Programming.

You somehow need to address the fears of those people. What are those fears?

Would you be able to apply the XP concepts to projects other than eBusiness?

I don't understand how XP is related to eBusiness. Would you please elaborate? Thanks!


The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
Junilu Lacar
Bartender

Joined: Feb 26, 2001
Posts: 5270
    
  10

Originally posted by Dennis Escueta:
With sentiment like these, how would you approach or introduce the concepts of XP Programming. I believe some of developers in eBusiness are already using these concepts, but just didnt realise it.
...
Would you be able to apply the XP concepts to projects other than eBusiness?

Why not?
None of the XP practices are new; developers have been doing them for years. Pair programming was pioneered by PJ Plauger and Larry Constantine way before XP came out. And most experienced programmers who read Martin Fowler's "Refactoring" probably thought "Hey, I've done this before!"
The only difference is that it takes people like Martin Fowler and Kent Beck to present all these techniques together as a disciplined process. That is what we need to do really: to learn how to apply all these techniques with consistency and discipline.
Of course, some of the techniques may be new to you (like writing unit tests first). I guess my suggestion would be to start with things that you already do now and try to synergize them as XP does. Then you can slowly introduce the practices that are new or unfamiliar to you.


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Dennis Escueta
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 29, 2003
Posts: 14
Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:

I don't understand how XP is related to eBusiness. Would you please elaborate? Thanks!

I think there's a misunderstanding here. I didnt mean to imply that XP is related to eBusiness. I meant it is only being looked at in our area for the moment.
Dennis Escueta
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 29, 2003
Posts: 14
Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:
[QB]
You somehow need to address the fears of those people. What are those fears?
QB]

Your trying to convince a whole company who invested a lot of money over the years in creating its own SDM based i think on the Water Fall model.
Rational has been with the company eversince we moved to J2EE. Now they are trying to spread the gospel of RUP. They've done this before and try as they might (this is their 2nd time) they have not been successful, its just the culture. Now there is an initiative to introduce RUP across IT, seeing how well its been applied to eBusiness. But it seems a compromise has been reached which is an integration of RUP and the in-house SDM.
Rational has tried before and i believe they will fail again, this time. Reform, is not a high priority project at the moment. Its just silly how management always looks at the short term benefits to its shareholders and not invest in future benefits.
Thank you
dennis
Dennis Escueta
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 29, 2003
Posts: 14
Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:

What projects can you think of which wouldn't benefit from an iterative approach?

As a developer, I'm all for the idea of doing things iteratively. Deliver the core functionalities and the rest later.
The issue with having to use an iterative approach does not come from the developers, but the managers. They are the one's who has to write up a report, provide estimates of how long it will take and how much they think the project will cost.
They are the ones who are raising alarms about the whole idea, because it makes it harder for them to meet deadlines. There was a fairly heated argument during the session with Rational and they have a point. Managers are given a fixed budget to deliver projects on. If they start guesstimating as to how much it will cost each iteration to deliver the project, then its very difficult. And this is what their so scared of i think. They believe management it is already hard enough to estimate how much it will cost to deliver a whole package, and then having to make multiple estimates, it becomes a nightmare to them.
I'm pro iterative development. Some Project Managers are not so keen on it, because for their project this approach does not make sense.
Stan James
(instanceof Sidekick)
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 29, 2003
Posts: 8791
My team has gone "more agile" in the last year, but we certainly don't "do XP". Our approach was to introduce stories, planning games and short iterations. We retained some of our heavier RUP things like use cases and the requirements matrix, but changed to write use cases one story at a time instead of all up front. So people got to hang on to some of their favorite artifacts for comfort - and because they have real value to us.
The net effect is all good. Customers leave the planning game with much more confidence and the regular iteration hand-off gets product to focus groups and user acceptance much earlier. Project planning and tracking is much more realistic and honest.
If I say any more I'll just be repeating the agile mantra. The point was we introduced only a couple of the agile practices, adapted a few things, left a lot of our process unchanged. It was not a difficult transition for developers or customers. It has taken a while to get comfortable and start to see new opportunities for more improvement, but I think we're on a roll.
BTW: We have done nothing yet that is not permitted by RUP. I explain the XP->RUP bridge by saying a story is a promise to have a conversation and a use case is the notes from the conversation. Even Grady Booch liked that line!


A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of the idea. John Ciardi
Lasse Koskela
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 23, 2002
Posts: 11962
    
    5
Sadly, it takes more than an average project manager to realize that 1 x 5 and 5 x 1 are not that different in the end...
I've had the fortune to work with PMs that do get the benefits of an agile process (knock wood), even though they are also saying it's more work for them.
As one of my previous PMs said, "it's not that bad to make a flawed estimate when you have a chance to remedy it." The fact that it's easier to produce one estimate instead of several does not mean that the estimate is better. In fact, the opposite.


Author of Test Driven (2007) and Effective Unit Testing (2013) [Blog] [HowToAskQuestionsOnJavaRanch]
Lasse Koskela
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 23, 2002
Posts: 11962
    
    5
By the way, you could use this Rational whitepaper in helping the management see that XP can be "integrated" with RUP.
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Dennis Escueta:
The issue with having to use an iterative approach does not come from the developers, but the managers. They are the one's who [...] provide estimates of how long it will take

I think this is seriously wrong, but that's another story..
They are the ones who are raising alarms about the whole idea, because it makes it harder for them to meet deadlines.

I don't see how that would be. It seems to me as if it gives them more data more early on wether they will meet the deadline if they continue as is. They could use that data to actually manage the project - which is rather hard if you know that you won't make it only one week before deadline...
Managers are given a fixed budget to deliver projects on. If they start guesstimating as to how much it will cost each iteration to deliver the project, then its very difficult.

Why?

They believe management it is already hard enough to estimate how much it will cost to deliver a whole package, and then having to make multiple estimates, it becomes a nightmare to them.

It seems to me as if it were easier to estimate smaller packages. They certainly aren't afraid of having to add them?
I'm pro iterative development. Some Project Managers are not so keen on it, because for their project this approach does not make sense.

And I still don't see how it wouldn't...
Dennis Escueta
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 29, 2003
Posts: 14
If I say any more I'll just be repeating the agile mantra. The point was we introduced only a couple of the agile practices, adapted a few things, left a lot of our process unchanged. It was not a difficult transition for developers or customers. It has taken a while to get comfortable and start to see new opportunities for more improvement, but I think we're on a roll.

This is what we are doing in our eBusiness department. Introduce RUP Methodologies bit by bit to those who are not familiar with it so as staff who use it do not get overwhelmed and get put off by the whole process.
I don't exactly know what the others are doing. But, we'll soon find out, cause the whole company is being e-Enabled.
Dennis Escueta
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 29, 2003
Posts: 14
Originally posted by Lasse Koskela:
Sadly, it takes more than an average project manager to realize that 1 x 5 and 5 x 1 are not that different in the end...
I've had the fortune to work with PMs that do get the benefits of an agile process (knock wood), even though they are also saying it's more work for them.
As one of my previous PMs said, "it's not that bad to make a flawed estimate when you have a chance to remedy it." The fact that it's easier to produce one estimate instead of several does not mean that the estimate is better. In fact, the opposite.

In the industry I work in, there's not that many opportunities to remedy things, as my manager says one bad decision and there goes his career in the company. Fortunately for me, he is quite good and has been the best manager I have worked with so far.
Dennis Escueta
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 29, 2003
Posts: 14
Originally posted by Lasse Koskela:
By the way, you could use this Rational whitepaper in helping the management see that XP can be "integrated" with RUP.

I have read this whitepaper before. This is how I stumbled into XP Programming in the first place. At this stage, I do not have the proper authority to integrate it. It has to be agreed upon first by the powers that be, that its ok to follow this process.
Dennis Escueta
Greenhorn

Joined: Apr 29, 2003
Posts: 14
Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:

I don't see how that would be. It seems to me as if it gives them more data more early on wether they will meet the deadline if they continue as is. They could use that data to actually manage the project - which is rather hard if you know that you won't make it only one week before deadline...

I'm trying to recall which manager it was that had such a hardline. I think he was a Networks Manager. And to him, its either the whole network or none at all. Business cannot function properly, if only parts of the network are running. Everything is a core piece, if it cannot be delivered all at once on the set date, then the project delivery date is extended.
 
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