Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why Masters Matter

So I've been getting beat up a bit on the extremeprogramming mailing list. Part of the issue is that I often don't know what the hell I'm talking about; even when I do I don't express it as well as I should.

I post questions or statements about what I want to try, and I get back responses that I'm trying the wrong thing or going about it in the wrong way. And that what I need is to hire a coach, get some assessment, and have some more conversations.

I have to admit it was getting on my nerves. I can read, the practices are not super complex - what the hell?

Anyway, on the theory that if a lot of people that have been in the field are saying the same thing and seem to agree with each other, I should listen, I called Ron Jeffries to talk for a bit this morning. We talked about some of the things I had posted and some other stuff but rather than getting any kind of prescription I got nuggets of wisdom - some of which have been percolating all day.

As an example I had the idea that I should require a set of XP practices and provide training in those practices. On the list I got a lot of feedback that requiring practices is a horrible idea. I was confused by this - I'm talking about having people do the stuff you guys say work and I'm getting a bunch of noise back - again, what the hell? Am I supposed to just hope that people will do the right thing? Who's gonna feed my kids when I get fired?

Ron cleared the whole thing up for me in like one paragraph of talking. I'm paraphrasing here but he essentially said that I could require running software that passes my tests. In other writings he calls that Running Tested Features (RTF.) Anyway, having a requirement for RTF, developers might look for easier ways to satisfy the requirement and the proverbial we could suggest practices and provide training/coaching.

Ding Ding Ding - that makes perfect sense to me. It clears up many of the responses I got on the list, and it completely illustrates why I should indeed sit at the feet of the masters. I could perfect every practice and make people do them, but still not get the RTF I need.

So now I'm going back to see about shaking budget loose to bring Ron and Chet in for a few days of master wisdom - wish me luck

Thanks for reading - Mike

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Glad to see you back. Enjoyed your riding analogy.