June 22, 2008

Welcome to the Jungle (of extreme programming)

This past week I changed teams at work. I went from a standard, cube oriented team to an xp (extreme programming), team room situated team. After 5 days I have to admit I'm very impressed. Things seem to just flow, and that includes the time in the day.

In my previous team we used a bastardized scrum process. What I mean by that is we worked from a log of broadly described requirements and we had a daily stand-up meeting (scrum meeting) where each person reported on their current workload. But between those daily scrums it was mostly cave time in each person's cube where they worked on whatever they pleased (which means a lot of personal, non-work related stuff). Except for 1 solid leader on the team and 1 or 2 others this was pretty common (guilty).

On the xp team it's more rigorous as far as daily tasks go. It's a mix of xp, scrum, and lean methods. Everything, and I mean everything, is done in a defined process. From the way the requirements (user stories) are defined and accepted (yes, accepted by developers), to the way tasks are maintained on a kanban board and everything is required to be done by a pair of programmers doing test first development. And even when a pair gets the task "done" it isn't officially done until it gets "accepted" by another pair (a process that when done properly guarantees almost zero bugs released post-development).

I know it sounds a bit legislative, and honestly I had my doubts as to how it would affect me. But the work load is easily divided and things get done. In a 5 day iteration we clear the board and if we need we can pull stories that are ready in the backlog. The only problem this team has had is lack of ready to go stories in the backlog (but that is changing with the addition of 2 in house Business Analysts).

So far I'm loving my new work environment, I really don't miss my cube (but yes Brian, I do miss you man, you should offer to take someone elses place :-) ). I want to get into details in later posts about the kanban board and some of the ways I've paired and also our use of Fitnesse which so far is mind blowing. I'm marking down week 1 as a productive week.

Until next time


Jason said...

Awesome man! Glad to hear that it's going well and you are being productive. You're living the dream!

bubba said...

I'm very glad you are enjoying the dungeon. I was afraid you were gonna bail on us (like some others have done). I suspect you miss the SI Calendar most of all.
I'm afraid if I joined the team, instead of 'living the dream' it would be more like 'living the nightmare'.