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What's so eXtreme About Doing Things Right?

Thursday, 30 October – 13:30-15:00

Steve Berczuk (Chair), Independent Consultant, steve@berzuk.com
Neil Harrison, Avaya Labs, nbharrison@avaya.com
Kevlin Henney, Curbralan, kevlin@curbralan.com
Joshua Kerievsky,, Industrial Logic, joshua@industriallogic.com
Linda Rising, Independent Consultant, risingl@acm.org
Ken Schwaber, ADM, ken.schwaber@verizon.net
Bobby Woolf, Independent Consultant, woolf@acm.org

Agile Methods are advocated as a way of producing better software. Advocates of agile methods suggest that practices such as keeping in close communication with your customers, frequent integration, and frequent assessment of project status will enable us to produce software that has value for the customer—quality software. It's hard to argue with that. But why is this any different than simply "good" software development practice? Why does saying "Scrum" "Agile" or "XP" grab peoples' attention? Why does it take a name for useful practices to be accepted? This panel will help us understand the role of hype in getting useful practices accepted or rejected. We will explore why it is that these good ideas have not been more widely used. Some of the questions that the panel and the audience will explore are: Why do we ignore proven practices until we see them packaged as a "method?" Can we do something different in the workplace or in school to teach these practices? Or is it the case that these practices are not universally good? This panel talks about agility in a different context than what is typical: we won't just discuss what agile practices are. We will explore why they are not more widely adopted, especially when not packaged as part of a "named" method like XP, and we will discuss why projects suffer even when the methods that can help them are well known. This panel will provide an entertaining and thought provoking forum for discussing an issue that is ever present in the world of technology: the role of hype. We concentrate on agile practices, moving beyond simply enumerating them, to discussing why they are not more widely adopted.