eXtreme Placebo

From my friend and coworker Darin comes a reference to

Robert X. Cringely on refactoring and extreme programming
. In it
he makes statements much like what I’ve been saying here:

Refactoring and another related fad called “extreme programming” are
new ideas. Their worth is anecdotal and it is arrogant to think that
there is only one right way to do it. Extreme programming has
competition from many development methodologies. All seem to work to
some degree. Testing, quality and organization seem to be underlying
themes to all of them. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of
this.

I’ve been saying from our forays in XP at work that the only thing I
see of value in it is that the structure require organization and good
automated testing to be there or nothing happens. I think we’re
getting a shell game when the virtues of XP are presented, because
those are really the virtues of being organized. I think any form of
getting equally organized would have the same benefits. Where I think
XP gets harmful is the credo that you don’t think or do about anything
until you need it. In places where people tend to underdesign, not
think through issues until they are catastrophes
this just plays into the worst tendencies of the
group. Now failure to design isn’t something wrong, it’s part of how
we do business. When unexpected things happen at rollout or when at
integration time we realize we are missing parts of the API, well
that’s just how it goes in XP. I am still trying to keep an open mind
and not deliberately sabotage our experiment, but the more I see the
less I like. I think I was actually more productive using Ant and
JUnit to do rigorous unit testing but without every other part of XP.

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