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Pearson Education
Planning Extreme Programming / Edition 1

Planning Extreme Programming / Edition 1


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780201710915
Publisher: Pearson Education
Publication date: 10/30/2000
Series: XP Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

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

Table of Contents




1. Why Plan?

2. Fear.

3. Driving Software.

4. Balancing Power.

5. Overviews.

6. Too Much to Do.

7. Four Variables.

8. Yesterday's Weather.

9. Scoping a Project.

10. Release Planning.

11. Writing Stories.

12. Estimation.

13. Ordering the Stories.

14. Release Planning Events.

15. The First Plan.

16. Release Planning Variations.

17. Iteration Planning.

18. Iteration Planning Meeting.

19. Tracking an Iteration.

20. Stand-Up Meetings.

21. Visible Graphs.

22. Dealing with Bugs.

23. Changes to the Team.

24. Tools.

25. Business Contracts.

26. Red Flags.

27. Your Own Process.

Index. 0201710919T04062001


This is a book about planning software projects. We are writing it mostly for project managers—those who have to plan and track the correspondence of the planning with reality. We also are writing it for programmers and customers, who have a vital role to play in planning and developing software. Planning is not about predicting the future. When you make a plan for developing a piece of software, development is not going to go like that. Not ever. Your customers wouldn't even be happy if it did, because by the time the software gets there, the customers don't want what was planned; they want something different.

Like so many, we enjoy Eisenhower's quotation: 'In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.' That's why this isn't a book about plans; it's about planning. And planning is so valuable and important, so vital, that it deserves to go on a little every day, as long as development lasts.

If you follow the advice in this book, you are going to have a new problem to solve every day—planning—but we won't apologize for that, because without planning, software development inevitably goes off the rails. The scope of this book is deliberately narrow. It covers how to plan and track software development for XP projects. It's based on our experience as consultants and coaches, together with the experience of the growing band of early adopters who are using XP.

As a result this isn't a book about the whole of project management. We don't cover typical project manager jobs such as personnel evaluation, recruiting, and budgeting. We don't address the issues of large projects with hordes of developers, nor do we say anything about planning in the context of other software processes, or of planning other activities. We think there are principles and techniques here that everyone can use, but we have stuck to the parts of the process we know—getting everybody on the team pointed in one direction, discovering when this is no longer true, and restoring harmony.

XP (Extreme Programming) is a system of practices (you can use the m-word if you want to; we'd rather not, thank you) that a community of software developers is evolving to address the problems of quickly delivering quality software, and then evolving it to meet changing business needs.

XP isn't just about planning. It covers all aspects of small team software development—design, testing, implementation, deployment, and maintenance. However, planning is a key piece of the XP puzzle. (For an overview of XP, read Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change . While you're at it, buy copies of all of the rest of our books, too.)

XP addresses long projects by breaking them into a sequence of self-contained, one- to three-week mini-projects. During each iteration

  • Customers pick the features to be added.
  • Programmers add the features so they are completely ready to be deployed.
  • Programmers and customers write and maintain automated tests to demonstrate the presence of these features.
  • Programmers evolve the design of the system to gracefully support all the features in the system.

Without careful planning, the process falls apart.

  • The team must choose the best possible features to implement.
  • The team must react as positively as possible to the inevitable setbacks.
  • Team members must not overcommit, or they will slow down.
  • The team must not undercommit, or customers won't get value for their money.
  • Team members must figure out clearly where they are and report this accurately, so that everyone can adjust their plans accordingly

The job of the daily planner is to help keep the team on track in all these areas.

We come by our project planning ideas by necessity. As consultants, we are usually introduced to projects when they are mostly dead. The projects typically aren't doing any planning, or they are drowning in too much planning of the wrong sort.

The resulting ideas are the simplest planning ideas we could think of that could possibly work. But above all, remember all the planning techniques in the world, including these, can't save you if you forget that software is built by human beings. In the end keep the human beings focused, happy, and motiviated and they will deliver.

Kent Beck, Merlin, Oregon
Martin Fowler, Melrose, Massachusetts
July 2000

I have a cunning plan.
—Baldrick, Blackadder

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