In Call it what it is!! Dave Rooney says if you’re doing Scrum with XP engineering practices, then call it XP? Well, Dave, there’s a story that explains why I generally don’t lead with the language of XP:
A few years ago when I was first learning about Agile and doing my reading several of co-workers (all developers) saw what I was reading: eXtreme Programming, Test Driven Development and Pair Programming. Their reaction: that’s crazy stuff, you’re not going to try introducing that around here. Management was a little more open but also saw it as odd. Finally I read the XP mailing list and felt like I was in a room of fanatics (circa 2002/2003). At that stage I got turned off. In the end I introduced unit testing and code reviews- it was the best I could do.
I started reading about Crystal (hello Alistair), but there was no community behind it (the mailing list had 4-5 people) and then I stumbled across Scrum. Perfect no – nothing is. But it gave us a language to use that didn’t scare management or the developers. Now several years and two acquisitions later I’m helping to introduce TDD to a development organisation in excess of a thousand people.
If I had tried to sell XP I probably wouldn’t be in this position today. So like it or not language matters and you have to go with what resonates with people. Today if I were talking to Senior Management at an organisation I would talk about quality and waste removal. To the mid level managers I would talk about Agile (generic) and to team members both Agile and Engineering Practices.
Finally it helps to remember that the engineering practices predate Scrum and XP – if my memory serves they come from Kent Beck and the smalltalk world. So maybe we should say: Scrum and Smalltalk Engineering practices.
N.B. Not everyone who was on the XP mailing list will have had the same experience. In addition, at the time Ron J. was part of the problem for me (sorry Ron). I found his tone very rough – since I’ve come to appreciate how he can ask why in just the right place.
Mark Levison has been helping Scrum teams and organizations with Agile, Scrum and Kanban style approaches since 2001. From certified scrum master training to custom Agile courses, he has helped well over 8,000 individuals, earning him respect and top rated reviews as one of the pioneers within the industry, as well as a raft of certifications from the ScrumAlliance. Mark has been a speaker at various Agile Conferences for more than 20 years, and is a published Scrum author with eBooks as well as articles on InfoQ.com, ScrumAlliance.org an AgileAlliance.org.