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Extreme Programming Applied: Playing to Win

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Ken Auer

Authors offer advice on implementing XP in your organization, illustrating key points with stories from pioneers who have successfully introduced XP. Helps readers begin using the principles behind this revolutionary concept. Softcover.

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Ken Auer
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
1 review about Extreme Programming Applied: Playing to...

One of the best in the series, albeit rehashed

  • Mar 7, 2002
Right up front, I have to say that this review suffers from a bit of XP fatigue. Addison-Wesley has published a series of books on Extreme Programming (XP) and I have read them all. The reason for the fatigue is that there just does not seem to be all that much new in this book that has not been covered in the previous ones. It starts with a description of XP, the values of pair programming, the "restricted" forty hour week, relentless unit testing and so forth. This is followed by a set of scenarios about how to deal with objections to XP from developers to management. Once again, this is not all that much different from what is in previous books.
This is not to say that the book is poorly written or without value. The description of XP is well done and easy to follow. I have no doubt that XP is a methodology that works well in small projects. The set of tactics used in XP are those that developers have used for years, with the most important being the second set of eyes and brain constantly examining the code. Every developer has experienced many of those incredible moments where hours of fruitless debugging are suddenly rendered moot when another looks at the code and in less than a minute finds the problem. I am also now convinced that XP will work on big projects as well, but with one enormous proviso.
If, and this is a very large and difficult qualification, the big project is properly parsed into small sections, then XP will work. The problem is of course effectively reducing the problem into one where the pieces are small enough to be handled by XP. That has always proven to be the biggest problem in software development, and there is no reason to think that it will change in the future. Chapter 29 is devoted to this problem, with some progress, but the book would have been more valuable if there had been more treatment of this topic. It is less than ten pages, and comes across as little more than a statement that few things really scale well and XP scales as well as the others. Certainly not a convincing argument in favor of conversion to XP.
I believe that this was the fifth book in the A-W XP series that I have read. As I pounded through the pages, it was difficult to continue as there was so little that has not appeared in a previous issue. Therefore, my final advice is to read this book if you have not read one of the others in the series. If you have already read another, then skipping this one will not be a great loss.

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