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2009-09-27

Extreme Programming Impressions

Whe I first read about XP Programming in 2002 ( http://www.extremeprogramming.org/ ) which is one of the agile methodologies for software development I didn't take it seriously.
At that time the authors of this methodology were saying that software didn´t need to be documented, models were not necessary or useful at all, people should be the documentation of the software, etc.
Immediately it came to my mind that it couldn´t work for many small (and big) software companies due to several problems:

– Software companies are constantly loosing and hiring workforce so how can they work if they keep loosing “documentation” which is on people´s minds ?

– How can they know the "what", "where" and "how" in the source code ?

Some years have passed and this methodology has matured and besides that other good methodologies of the same family like Scrum have come up too.
It called my attention that many state-of-art tech companies like Google and Yahoo! were working with Scrum and I started to get curious to know what it is about.

Five years later I decided to attend to a presentation about XP Programming in order to get a broader picture about it. It helped me to remove some miths I had such as the lack of documentation. Actually the Agile Methodology do not remove the activity of producing documentation but it just gave a different meaning for the documentation. The documentation should be provided if relevant for developers. It doesn´t have to include fancy diagrams but only the necessary information such as what is the system about, how to compile source-code, or other information that it is not self-explained in the system.

After reading "The Toyota Way" I noticed that agile methodologies was greatly inspired by this administration model. This model is basically driven to reduce waste, in other words, we should do only the necessary to accomplish our objectives, no more or no less. By reducing waste we are also reducing unnecessary work what can mean different things depending on our project such as no documentation, few documentation, no models, etc.

Therefore to be lean (and consequently agile), one must think on what tasks are been carried out and what tasks in the process should be eliminated if they have no value. Read the book above to have a good idea of the process.
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