Monday, December 17, 2007

Livin' the XP Life

I've now been at my current employer for exactly two months. For those of you who are counting, thats:
  • 4 iterations
  • 8 XP Customer team meetings
  • 40 standups
  • 40 pairing sessions (we pair once a day)
Even times like this are a good chance to go back and reflect on what it's been like, living the XP life.
XP is fabulous for recruiting. It's a very quick and easy way to express that this is a company built by engineers and for engineers. It's a company that embraces new techniques, and that's exciting for the kind of people I want to have working with me.
This is fair to middling. When we don't pair, everything gets code reviewed before checkin. For complex things, the end result is usually pairing after the fact to tighten up the code. In the case of QA, we pair on things like test planning and test infrastructure coding. Pairing for us works best when we're creating acceptance tests for stories. We get better tests and better knowledge of the system. In the end it takes more time, however, but it's a good way to train new people.
Stories are one of the elements of XP that is not new to me; other methodologies use stories or similar concepts. The best part about stories is the forced thought and the fact that you wind up with a lot of documentation (ours are all kept on a Wiki). The worst part about stories is that there's little to no information about the system as a whole and how each story fits in. This has resulted in a lot of inconsistencies in the system.
Net Net
In the end, working in an XP shop is a mixed bag. But it's been a fun experiment, and I'm looking forward to helping it continue.

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