Extreme Programming values enable more effective software development in the large

Marc Evers Just points me to this blog entry by Erik Meade about XP values and XP in the large. Erik points to an interesting article in computerworld Sabre takes extreme measures. Large scale deployment of XP practices has enabled Sabre to achieve a 42 % productivity increase. Within such an environment (as in many) the XP practices and values indicate what to strive for. Even if, while striving, you don’t get to have all levers up to a 100%, you can still achieve a dramatic increase in productivity. A quote from the computerworld piece:

For example, fewer than 10 bugs surfaced in Release 10 of its Profit Manager software in the two months after it began shipping to airlines in December 2002. Now, 16 months later, just 100 defects have been found. Release 10 was written in Java, while Release 8 was written in C and C++. But Sabre says it was XP, not Java, that produced the dramatic quality improvements.

I used to believe choice of programming language to be very important to productivity. I now believe close customer collaboration and test driven development deliver much more value, as the Sabre example shows as well. Although, as Sabre moved from C++ to Java, they also were likelely to profit from automatic garbage collection (so programmers have to worry much less about allocating memory, a common source of defects in C and C++ programs).

If you want to find out more about agile/XP software development in large projects, I recommend Jutta Eckstein’s book Agile Software Development in the Large.

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