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The Case Against XP: evidence please

Extreme Programming (XP) - An Alternative View

The XP belief is that it's okay to throw away the rulebook and redefine what is possible. [...] Not using XP does not have to mean turning your back on software agility. It is possible to develop software with evolving requirements, with customer involvement and high visibility of progress, in a much more robust fashion than XP prescribes. Similarly, spending a little extra time getting the customer requirements right early on doesn't make the project non-agile.

Very interesting article. I would like to know if there are case studies on projects that had the hard issues all sorted out up front, that captured the requirements, that had the architecture nailed down, that would allow one to determine and control the cost of major changes? Essentially the ones that followed 'the rulebook' as the article suggests, and came out good.

Presumably if XP can be refuted on the grounds cited in this article, there are such projects (empirical evidence) to back them up. Moreover what percentage of projects known to follow the rulebook in question do succeed? And it would be important to fiond out whether the failures were inherently due to the rules or due to the poor application of the rulebook.

If XP is barking up the wrong tree, let's see the evidence. XP (and Agile in the large) is based first and foremost on the observation that the rulebook isn't working, but, here are some practices that haved worked and here is how to apply those practices. There are a large number of people who claim that XP is in fact working. Again it is important to determine how many XP projects are failing and is this inherently due to XP or the poor application of XP.

Kent Beck (the inventor of XP) recently suggested that XP is essentially a subset of RUP. Perhaps in the sense that a mouse is a subset of an elephant. In fact RUP and XP have totally different philosophies. But that's a subject for a different article...

This will be a very interesting article. I think the authors will have their work cut out to back up this claim. Rational have produced an Agile subset of the RUP. Grady Booch spent a good part of 2002 on the extremeprogramming list trying to find the intersection between the the RUP and XP, before and after the IBM buyout. Robert Martin has produced dX a subset of the RUP that is effectively XP. It's hard to imagine all these efforts being anything other than incoherent if RUP and XP are so far apart.

August 15, 2003 07:01 PM


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