TITLE: How's That Workin' For Ya? AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: February 10, 2005 5:02 PM DESC: XP is more than an agile development methodology; it's a self-improvement system. ----- BODY: I recently saw a statement somewhere, maybe on the XP mailing list, to the effect that XP doesn't prevent people who will fail from failing; it helps people who will succeed to succeed more comfortably or more efficiently. I think that, in one sense, this is true. No software methodology can do magic. People who for whatever reason are unprepared to succeed are unlikely to succeed. And I believe that good developers can do even better when they work in an agile fashion. But in another sense I think that XP and the other agile methods can help developers get better at what they do. If a person makes a commitment to improve, then adopting XP's disciplines can become a better developer. This all came to the front of my mind yesterday as I read a short essay over at 43 Folders on systems for improving oneself. Merlin's comments on self-improvement systems caused a light bulb to go off: XP is a self-help system! Consider...
... a few basic and seemingly immutable principles:That sure sounds like an agile approach to software development. How about this:
- action almost always trumps inaction
- planning is crucial; even if you don't follow a given plan
- things are easier to do when you understand why you're doing them
- your brain likes it when you make things as simple as possible
... the idea basically stays the same: listen critically, reflect honestly, and be circumspect about choosing the parts that comport with your needs, values, and personal history. Above all, remember that the secret code isn't hiding ... -- the secret is to watch your progress and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Keep remembering to think, and stay focused on achieving modest improvements in whatever you want to change. Small changes stick.Any software developer who wants to get better could do much worse than to adopt this mindset. -----