Friday, May 1, 2009

XP Born in Frustration

I guess I didn't read enough of the literature, but was tickled when I found this little blurb at American Way Magazine:

After 12 years as a programmer, Kent Beck understood that there were bugs in the conventional approach to developing software. But it took one particularly rancorous gig for Beck to decide that there had to be a better way. The project’s manager was “a tin-pot dictator” who pounded the table as he abused his programming staff, Beck recalls, blaming them for problems that were systemic.

By the second day on the job, Beck became furious — and was escorted out by the company’s security force. But an idea born in that confrontation would flower into Beck’s new strategy for software. He calls it extreme programming (XP), and it has attracted acolytes around the world. Beck has written a manifesto called Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change and has founded a nonprofit, the Three Rivers Institute, in Merlin, Oregon, to spread the XP gospel.

I guess sometimes it's good to be 'fired' from a gig. I bet he's happier now than he would ever have been there. This is the kind of moral tale that makes history so engaging.