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"Freedom" Service-Oriented Methodology
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The First Agile Slugout:
eXtreme Programming versus Freedom

Round 5
Team tuning

Howard: Since no one took any blows on round 4, the contenders are roaring to go for round 5. Round 5 will see which contender best supports Agile Principle 5, Team tuning:

    At regular intervals, the team reflects on how
    to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts
    its behavior accordingly.

Don: Oh, oh. This is another management principle. I'll bet Freedom is in for another drubbing, Howard.

Howard: They're both circling each other in the middle of the ring. There goes XP. He's throwing the "Fix XP when it Breaks" punches, and this time they are connecting. That's XP's way of improving the teams behavior, alright.

Don: But look! Freedom isn't taking it laying down this time. He's fighting back with "Process metric checklists!" Those aren't in any of our info sheets about Freedom. Peter is right on top of it though. What have you got, Peter?

Peter: I'm here with Freedom's coach. Coach, what are Process metric checklists?

Freedom Coach: Process metric checklists are a very simple way of capturing quantitative metrics for process improvement. Every time a developer starts work on a new work product, be it a requirement, design, code module, documentation or other work product, he makes a note of the start date. When he finishes the work product, he notes the completion date next to the start date. If he modifies the work product, he notes the start and stop dates of the modification. Later on, the lists can be analyzed to determine how long each individual product, or groups of products, took to develop. The data can be used to determine which parts of the development process may be in need of more automation or other improvement. They can also be used to determine individual developer productivity, perhaps signal that a developer needs more training in some part of the process, or whatever. A good CM tool could easily automate this sort of record keeping, making the whole thing quite transparent to the development team, although I'm not aware of a CM tool that fully supports the concept at this time.

Peter: I see. But where do the checklists come in?

Freedom Coach: The list of work products with start and stop dates are the checklists. We call them that because they look a bit like checklists, except with actual dates instead of check marks next to the work product entries. It may not be the best name, but that's what Freedom calls them.

Peter: Ok. Thanks coach. Back to you, Don.

Don: Freedom seems to be getting a few licks into XP with the checklists, but is taking some "Fix XP When It Breaks" hits in return.

Howard: XP sees it can't get a big advantage on Freedom with the Fix It jab, so he's trying a different move. There's a "Move people around" punch! That's not as strong a way of adjusting the process as Fix It, but XP is looking for any edge it can get.

Don: Freedom is responding with another move of it's own. Hah! Freedom is trying to use "Separation of technical and management methodologies" to counter XP's move. Clever! Turn an apparent weakness into a strength. Since management methods are likely to change independently of technical ones, separate the two concerns to ease the impact of the change!

Howard: Trouble is, Don, that doesn't directly address the principle of adjusting team behavior. It's Freedom's management methodology partner, and not Freedom itself, that has to change to address the principle. And that partner is not represented here today. XP is getting through Freedom's defense, Don. As you say, it was a clever move on Freedom's part, but the specific nature of principle 5 negated its effectiveness.

Don: There's the bell ending round 5. Both contenders took some lumps that time! Looks like Freedom took a few more, though.

Howard: The ref agrees, Don. He's signaling the round goes to XP on a technicality. The score is now XP 3, Freedom 1.

Don: Freedom needed that round, Howard. He didn't get it, and now XP is really starting to pull ahead.

Howard: That's right, Don. But I'm starting to like Freedom's style. That separation of methodology concerns thing looks like it might have some real potential. It didn't work out just now in this head-to-head, but give Freedom a good management methodology partner, and he could walk away with the tag-team crown, as well as clobber actual jobs. Any ideas who might make a good management methodology partner for Freedom?

Don: Well, I can tell you it isn't likely to be XP! XP would have to give up most of its technical aspects, like User Stories and CRC Cards, to get along with Freedom. I don't ever see that happening, Howard. XP isn't interested in getting along with Freedom. XP is the champ, and he's got a 3-1 lead. XP is out to pulverize Freedom by the new Agile rules, and he's well on his way to doing it!

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