But it works on my PC!

The random thoughts of Richard Fennell on technology and software development

An extreme hour

I went to the Yorkshire Extreme Programming Club last night, the meeting included an Extreme Hour. An interesting experience; the idea is that in an hour you go through a number of 10 minute XP iterations, doing 'development' by drawing the solution on a white board.

Yesterday we had three separate groups of six; each with two customer, two developers (pair programming i.e. with one pen) and two QA/testers, and all had to design moon cheese harvesting solutions. 

So did I learn much new about XP? well not sure, but the exercise does show the importance of communication within the group. The problem with running the exercise in a social setting (a pub) is the beer is not condusive to structured thinking, and a subject of moon cheese gives huge scope for fights of fancy - my group ended up on a discussion of whether to out source the production of killer robots (to protect the cheese mine from Clangers - don't ask how we got to this point) or if the actual robot manufacturing was a task our developers should do (they were not keen to draw 10,000 robots, I cannot think why).

What I would say if you are thinking of running such a sessions is:

  1. Be tight on the time keeping - like a scrum sprint an XP iteration should finish on time, even if features are cut
  2. With six people in a group I would be tempted to have one customer, two teams of pair programmers (four people) and a single tester. This I think would help show the issues of interteam communications 

If nothing else this was a good social evening, so if you are in the area pop along to the next meeting see the web site for details

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