Tuesday, September 13, 2005

XPDX Rocks

I just got home from my first XPDX meeting, and I have to say I was very impressed. Arlo Belshee's presentation on Promiscuous Pairing was great, and there were many interesting discussions before, during, and after the presentation.

As a member of a team that moved to XP (Extreme Programming, for the non-nerds in the audience) nearly a year ago, I am interested in seeing what other teams have done with XP, and what results they've had. I've found that, while XP has a few essential core practices, every team that implements XP does so in a unique fashion. This is not a bad thing, and, in fact, is a part of the methodology.

The great thing about this group is that folks with extremely diverse backgrounds can share their thoughts and experiences with development in general, and XP in particular. At this point, you're probably thinking, "What the hell else did you expect from an XP user group? Recipes?" Well, what I find particularly interesting is that XP evolves by design. This is sometimes criticized as loose definition, but, when you get a bunch of people exchanging their experiences with XP in the same room, you see that its strength lies in its flexibility.

It empowers a team to adjust its process to fit into its working environment without degrading into chaos. Over time, variations of the process are exchanged within the community, and the most successful variations are canonized in the process definition itself. Groups like XPDX accelerate this evolution, and it was great to see it in action. If you live in the Portland area and are interested in software development, check it out. You won't be disappointed.

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