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January 3, 2013

My Kind of Productivity --- Part 3 - Extreme Programming

There are many kinds of productivity.
  1. Michael Porter's Kind of Productivity has been discussed in a previous post.
  2. Seth Godin's Kind of Productivity has been discussed in a previous post.
  3. Demming's Kind of Productivity
  4. Taiichi Ohno 's Kind of Productivity
  5. Peter Drucker's Kind of Productivity

My Kind of Productivity


Around 2007, I got so frustrated with my software development that I almost got a nervous breakdown. I had spent months and failed with 2 or 3 projects. I could not finish any of them.

I drifted away from coding and started reading to release tension etc. I happened to read Extreme Programming(XP) books during my retreat.

I agreed with almost all of their ideas and started to code again. The results were astounding.

Previously, it took me about 5 to 6 months NOT to finish and to give up on a project.

After that, it took me about 2 to 3 months to finish a project of comparable size and quality and I was in a good mood all the time.

How I Used XP


XP, like any methodology, is made up of philosophy, core beliefs, mindset and a set of activities.

Let's come down to activity level fast.

Whenever XP advised me to do an activity, I ignored it easily, out of hand, I was too demoralized  and too weak, you know. Even if I chose to do an activity, I tried to do the least possible amount of work for that activity. e.g. tests

Whenever XP advised me not to do an activity, I obeyed right away and stopped doing that activity. e.g. BUFD (big upfront design)

Why It Worked


I have no illusions that this style of XP works for all kinds of software development. I also know why it worked for me with those projects. Various researchers and authors have confirmed my hunch here.

This form of XP or XP in general works when
  1. The work to do is cutting edge: too much uncertainty, too many unkonwns or  unkonwn unkonwns, etc.
  2. The work is not cutting edge for others but for the worker only. That is, s/he is very new or ignorant.
  3. The worker is too busy, has to rush, has to juggle too many balls i.e. an entrepreneur in the first days of her/his business.

I love people everywhere, not a bit ashamed of it.

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