xp and cake trolleys

Fri, Feb 18, 2005

Taking a break from documenting the SP side of Shibboleth and looking at pictures of my erstwhile colleagues munching cakes at the last Bodington developers’ meeting at Leeds uni, it struck me that people might think I’m strange, always on the lookout for cake trolleys at whatever meeting I happen to enlighten :)

Although it doesn’t seem in the slightest out of the ordinary to me, my non technical aquaintances do rib me now and then over my cakeophilia! We’ll, here’s the reason.

Here at the Guanxi engine room, we use eXtreme Programming quite a lot, if not exclusively. It’s the real way to develop software. None of this outdated waterfall nonsense, requirements specification and fighting to get bug ridden code out of the door by the deadline. No siree, we indulge in customer interaction, iterative development processes and the odd bit of pair programming, though I do find that a bit stressful as it means someone else is in the room with me, next to the cake trolley, the only one :o

XP rewards good developers with a real stake in the application planning, contributing to schedules and offering meaningful and respected opinions on functionality versus business risk.

To do this, however, we must employ the most resource intensive organ we have - the brain, which as we all know, consumes resources at an awesome rate and if not kept in tip top condition and well fed, would pop out and go find another XPer who could feed it.

Don’t take my word for it. The following extracts are from “Extreme Programming Explained” by Kent Beck. Yes, the man himself.

On the job of the XP coach, the motivator: “But perhaps the most important job for the coach is the acquisition of toys and food…”

“Food, also, is a hallmark of XP projects. There is something powerful about breaking bread with someone. You have an entirely different discussion with them when you’re chewing…”

”…so XP projects always have food lying around…” (though not for long at Guanxi central!)

On the rare case where tests fail: ”…if we’re back at 100%…we can have tea and a snack…”

and what better snack than a trolley laden with scrumptious cakes?

So, the next time I turn up at a meeting, ready to enlighten all around, don’t scoff at my request for a cake trolley. It means I’m back at 100% :)

Just leave the scoffing to me!

comments powered by Disqus