Planning Extreme Programming

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Addison-Wesley Professional, 2001 - Computers - 139 pages
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"XP is the most important movement in our field today. I predict that it will be as essential to the present generation as the S.E.I. and its Capability Maturity Model were to the last."

--From the foreword by Tom DeMarco

The hallmarks of Extreme Programming--constant integration and automated testing, frequent small releases that incorporate continual customer feedback, and a teamwork approach--make it an exceptionally flexible and effective approach to software development. Once considered radical, Extreme Programming (XP) is rapidly becoming recognized as an approach particularly well-suited to small teams facing vague or rapidly changing requirements--that is, the majority of projects in today's fast-paced software development world.

Within this context of flexibility and rapid-fire changes, planning is critical; without it, software projects can quickly fall apart. Written by acknowledged XP authorities Kent Beck and Martin Fowler, Planning Extreme Programming presents the approaches, methods, and advice you need to plan and track a successful Extreme Programming project. The key XP philosophy: Planning is not a one-time event, but a constant process of reevaluation and course-correction throughout the lifecycle of the project.

You will learn how planning is essential to controlling workload, reducing programmer stress, increasing productivity, and keeping projects on track. Planning Extreme Programming also focuses on the importance of estimating the cost and time for each user story (requirement), determining its priority, and planning software releases accordingly.

Specific topics include:

  • Planning and the four key variables: cost, quality, time, and scope
  • Deciding how many features to incorporate into a release
  • Estimating scope, time, and effort for user stories
  • Prioritizing user stories
  • Balancing the business value and technical risk of user stories
  • Rebuilding the release plan based on customer and programmer input
  • Choosing the iteration length
  • Tracking an iteration
  • What to do when you're not going to make the date
  • Dealing with bugs
  • Making changes to the team
  • Outsourcing
  • Working with business contracts

In addition, this book alerts you to the red flags that signal serious problems: customers who won't make decisions, growing defect reports, failing daily builds, and more. An entire chapter is devoted to war stories from the trenches that illustrate the real-world problems many programmers encounter and the solutions they've devised.



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An excellent, concise, well written book. If extreme programming is the way you want to go, this is the book for you. Our actual ability to roll out an extreme programming flow differed in many respects to what was described in the book. Pair programming in particular was difficult to implement. 


Balancing Power
Four Variables
Yesterdays Weather
Release Planning
Writing Stories
Release Planning Events
Release Planning Variations
Iteration Planning Meeting
Tracking an Iteration
Standup Meetings
Visible Graphs
Business Contracts

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About the author (2001)

Kent Beck consistently challenges software engineering dogma, promoting ideas like patterns, test-driven development, and Extreme Programming. Currently affiliated with Three Rivers Institute and Agitar Software, he is the author of many Addison-Wesley titles.

Martin Fowler is the Chief Scientist of ThoughtWorks, an enterprise-application development and delivery company. He's been applying object-oriented techniques to enterprise software development for over a decade. He is notorious for his work on patterns, the UML, refactoring, and agile methods. Martin lives in Melrose, Massachusetts, with his wife, Cindy, and a very strange cat. His homepage is

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