Discussion:
Signing off...
Bill Walton
2002-09-28 23:44:59 UTC
Permalink
Greetings,

As I said in my "Day 4..." posting, I originally exposed my presence to the group out of a sense of fairness. I took a couple of shots at XP in the StickyMinds column and felt you should have the chance to "get even." I think you've had that.

I approached the information gathering for the column much as I expect the business execs I know will. That is, they'll skim the literature to reach a fairly quick decision on whether to devote more effort or cut their losses. The column gives you what I think are going to be the red flags that will cause most execs to stay away. I've had some interesting feedback back-channel that reinforces my feeling that I was right in that respect. What you do with this information is obviously up to you. If any of you would like to continue a discussion about the business side of XP, as opposed to trying to convince me that there's no reason to be concerned, I'd be interested in having that conversation back-channel.

As far as active participation in the discussion on this topic on the list, I'm going to sign off. Before I do, I'll share a story a friend who's been monitoring the discussion sent me today. His comment was "I don't think you're talking about the same problem." I agree. I admire what you're trying to accomplish. In all sincerity, I wish you luck. Hope you get the story.

A few years ago, the Sierra Club and the U.S. Forest Service presented an alternative solution to Wyoming sheep ranchers for controlling their coyote problem. Rather than continue the ranchers' tried and true methods of shooting and/or trapping the predators, these groups proposed that the ranchers consider implementing a "more humane" solution. What they proposed was that the ranchers capture the coyotes alive, castrate the males, then let them loose again... and the population would be controlled. Well, all the ranchers thought about this for a couple of minutes. Finally, one old boy in the back stood up, kicked his hat back and said, "Son, I don't think you understand the problem. These coyotes ain't f@#kin' our sheep - they're eatin' 'em."

Best regards,
Bill Walton
***@jstats.com




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Ron Jeffries
2002-09-28 23:50:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Walton
A few years ago, the Sierra Club and the U.S. Forest Service presented an alternative solution to
Wyoming sheep ranchers for controlling their coyote problem. Rather than continue the ranchers' tried
and true methods of shooting and/or trapping the predators, these groups proposed that the ranchers
consider implementing a "more humane" solution. What they proposed was that the ranchers capture the
coyotes alive, castrate the males, then let them loose again... and the population would be controlled.
Well, all the ranchers thought about this for a couple of minutes. Finally, one old boy in the back
stood up, kicked his hat back and said, "Son, I don't think you understand the problem. These coyotes
Son, business ain't feeding our projects, it's f@#kin' 'em.

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
Adapt, improvise, overcome.
--Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway (Heartbreak Ridge)


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Dale Emery
2002-09-29 00:14:32 UTC
Permalink
Hi Ron,
And if we're provide this service to businesses for a fee ...

I'm not sure I like this metaphor.

Dale



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Edmund Schweppe
2002-09-29 01:21:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dale Emery
Hi Ron,
And if we're provide this service to businesses for a fee ...
I'm not sure I like this metaphor.
I think it's a whorrible one, myself.
--
Edmund Schweppe - ***@ieee.org - http://schweppe.home.tiac.net
The opinions expressed herein are at best coincidentally related to
those of any past or future employer. The position of present employer
is currently open; contact me for further information!


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Ilja Preuß
2002-09-29 07:58:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Walton
Before I do, I'll
share a story a friend who's been monitoring the discussion
sent me today. His comment was "I don't think you're talking
about the same problem." I agree. I admire what you're
trying to accomplish. In all sincerity, I wish you luck.
Hope you get the story.
A few years ago, the Sierra Club and the U.S. Forest Service
presented an alternative solution to Wyoming sheep ranchers
for controlling their coyote problem. Rather than continue
the ranchers' tried and true methods of shooting and/or
trapping the predators, these groups proposed that the
ranchers consider implementing a "more humane" solution.
What they proposed was that the ranchers capture the coyotes
alive, castrate the males, then let them loose again... and
the population would be controlled. Well, all the ranchers
thought about this for a couple of minutes. Finally, one old
boy in the back stood up, kicked his hat back and said, "Son,
I don't think you understand the problem. These coyotes
I think I get the story - the rancher is not talking about controlling
the coyote population, but about annihilating it (and possibly also
about "getting revenge" and having some "fun" by it).

I am not that sure how that connects to this discussion, though...

Regards, Ilja


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Bill Walton
2002-09-29 16:59:08 UTC
Permalink
----- Original Message -----
From: "Ilja Preuß" <***@web.de>
To: <***@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Sunday, September 29, 2002 2:58 AM
Subject: RE: [XP] Signing off...
Post by Ilja Preuß
Post by Bill Walton
Before I do, I'll
share a story a friend who's been monitoring the discussion
sent me today. His comment was "I don't think you're talking
about the same problem." I agree. I admire what you're
trying to accomplish. In all sincerity, I wish you luck.
Hope you get the story.
A few years ago, the Sierra Club and the U.S. Forest Service
presented an alternative solution to Wyoming sheep ranchers
for controlling their coyote problem. Rather than continue
the ranchers' tried and true methods of shooting and/or
trapping the predators, these groups proposed that the
ranchers consider implementing a "more humane" solution.
What they proposed was that the ranchers capture the coyotes
alive, castrate the males, then let them loose again... and
the population would be controlled. Well, all the ranchers
thought about this for a couple of minutes. Finally, one old
boy in the back stood up, kicked his hat back and said, "Son,
I don't think you understand the problem. These coyotes
I think I get the story - the rancher is not talking about controlling
the coyote population, but about annihilating it (and possibly also
about "getting revenge" and having some "fun" by it).
I am not that sure how that connects to this discussion, though...
Regards, Ilja
If that were the point of the story, it wouldn't. It's not.

Best regards,
Bill




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Charlie Poole
2002-09-29 17:38:29 UTC
Permalink
Bill,
Post by Ilja Preuß
I think I get the story - the rancher is not talking about controlling
the coyote population, but about annihilating it (and possibly also
about "getting revenge" and having some "fun" by it).
But that's a meaning some of us get from the story.

Which proves the point of the story. :-)

Charlie Poole
***@pooleconsulting.com
www.pooleconsulting.com
www.charliepoole.org




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Bill Walton
2002-09-29 17:55:06 UTC
Permalink
----- Original Message -----
From: "Charlie Poole" <***@pooleconsulting.com>
To: <***@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Sunday, September 29, 2002 12:38 PM
Subject: RE: [XP] Signing off...
Post by Charlie Poole
Bill,
Post by Ilja Preuß
I think I get the story - the rancher is not talking about controlling
the coyote population, but about annihilating it (and possibly also
about "getting revenge" and having some "fun" by it).
But that's a meaning some of us get from the story.
Which proves the point of the story. :-)
Which is..? Please continue ;-)

Bill


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Charlie Poole
2002-09-29 18:13:47 UTC
Permalink
Bill,
Post by Bill Walton
Post by Charlie Poole
Post by Ilja Preuß
I think I get the story - the rancher is not talking about
controlling
Post by Charlie Poole
Post by Ilja Preuß
the coyote population, but about annihilating it (and possibly also
about "getting revenge" and having some "fun" by it).
But that's a meaning some of us get from the story.
Which proves the point of the story. :-)
Which is..? Please continue ;-)
OK, how about some interpretations:


The ranchers need to get some coyote-reduction like yesterday. The
foolish do-gooder proposes a solution that doesn't meet their needs.

Or

The ranchers are really resistant to anything that changes there way
of life, which happens to include shooting coyotes. They have a rationale
for why they do it, but that's not really it. The foolish do-gooder
accepts there rationale and meets there stated needs, but not the real
need, which is to shoot coyotes.

Or

A stranger comes to town, ready to bring peace to the valley. The bad-boy
ranchers make cracks at him. One of them makes a veiled threat. We
wonder how the movie will end.

Analogies are really great when they are able to leverage some common
point of view. But they can also be turned around lots of ways. If this
story were to be interpreted in terms of our discussion, it might
tell us

Make sure you're meeting people's real needs when you propose change.

Or

Beware of double-dealing managers who tell you they want one thing when
they are really after something else.

Or

Don't expect to have an easy life when you're advocating change.

Personally, being quite into living with change and uncertainty, I'm
accepting all those interpretations and following them simultaneously.
Most of these are things I've known for a long time, but my contact
with XP has sharpened my practice of them considerably.

Which might give reason for thought.

Charlie Poole
***@pooleconsulting.com
www.pooleconsulting.com
www.charliepoole.org









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Ron Jeffries
2002-09-29 17:52:06 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Walton
Finally, one old
Post by Ilja Preuß
Post by Bill Walton
boy in the back stood up, kicked his hat back and said, "Son,
I don't think you understand the problem. These coyotes
I think I get the story - the rancher is not talking about controlling
the coyote population, but about annihilating it (and possibly also
about "getting revenge" and having some "fun" by it).
I am not that sure how that connects to this discussion, though...
Regards, Ilja
If that were the point of the story, it wouldn't. It's not.
I'm not sure what you think the point of the story is, Bill, in
relation to XP, but I had been thinking it might be that the good ol'
boy (XP) doesn't understand the proposal from the wise Sierra-clubbers
with the broader view (business folks and you).

I think the rancher understood perfectly, and used down-home humor to
destroy the credibility of the people who thought that cutting the
balls off the coyotes was somehow more practical and more humane than
shooting them.

Or maybe that's the connection you see also. Even in that case, I'm
still not sure who's the Sierra Club, who's the coyote, and who's the
rancher.

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
This is how I program. Take the parts that make sense to you. Ignore the rest.


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Bill Walton
2002-09-29 21:21:25 UTC
Permalink
Hi Ron,
Post by Ron Jeffries
Even in that case, I'm
still not sure who's the Sierra Club, who's the coyote, and who's the
rancher.
If you assume that,

- sheep ranchers = business leaders
- coyotes = software projects
- Sierra Club/USFS = XP community

how do you read the story?

Best regards,
Bill


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Bill Walton
2002-09-29 22:03:08 UTC
Permalink
Oh yeah... and why do you think my friend thought the story was a good
metaphor (or is it simile?) for our conversation this past week?

Best regards,
Bill

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill Walton" <***@jstats.com>
To: <***@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Sunday, September 29, 2002 4:21 PM
Subject: Re: [XP] Signing off...
Post by Dale Emery
Hi Ron,
Post by Ron Jeffries
Even in that case, I'm
still not sure who's the Sierra Club, who's the coyote, and who's the
rancher.
If you assume that,
- sheep ranchers = business leaders
- coyotes = software projects
- Sierra Club/USFS = XP community
how do you read the story?
Best regards,
Bill
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Ron Jeffries
2002-09-29 23:30:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Walton
Oh yeah... and why do you think my friend thought the story was a good
metaphor (or is it simile?) for our conversation this past week?
It's a metaphor, and unless he, too, thought you weren't hearing what
we're saying (and perhaps vice versa) I honestly don't know.

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
This is how I program. Take the parts that make sense to you. Ignore the rest.


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Ron Jeffries
2002-09-29 21:59:15 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Walton
If you assume that,
- sheep ranchers = business leaders
- coyotes = software projects
- Sierra Club/USFS = XP community
how do you read the story?
Well, if that was the story, maybe biz leaders think software projects
are killing the business (I could believe that) and we're telling them
to emasculate their software projects.

Doesn't ring true to me ...

So maybe we're telling the ranchers there's another way do software
projects and they reply that software projects are killing their
business.

That could be it ...

Either way, the business guys aren't listening. I guess that was Kay's
point much earlier on.

Jesus used to explain his parables. Maybe we lesser beings should
explain ours ...

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
"How do I get to XP?" "Practice, man, practice."


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jhrothjr
2002-09-30 01:02:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ron Jeffries
Post by Bill Walton
If you assume that,
- sheep ranchers = business leaders
- coyotes = software projects
- Sierra Club/USFS = XP community
how do you read the story?
Well, if that was the story, maybe biz leaders think software projects
are killing the business (I could believe that) and we're telling them
to emasculate their software projects.
Doesn't ring true to me ...
So maybe we're telling the ranchers there's another way do software
projects and they reply that software projects are killing their
business.
That could be it ...
Either way, the business guys aren't listening. I guess that was Kay's
point much earlier on.
Jesus used to explain his parables. Maybe we lesser beings should
explain ours ...
He only explained one (the Sower and the four kinds of ground.) And even that is disputed, see for example J.D.Crossan "In Parables."

However, now that I think about it, that's a very good parable to contemplate...

In any case, someone who drops a bomb (especially one that's pretty obscure IMO) and then leaves isn't worth chasing.

Amusedly...
John Roth
Post by Ron Jeffries
Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
"How do I get to XP?" "Practice, man, practice."
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Edmund Schweppe
2002-09-30 00:37:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Walton
Post by Ron Jeffries
Even in that case, I'm
still not sure who's the Sierra Club, who's the coyote, and who's the
rancher.
If you assume that,
- sheep ranchers = business leaders
- coyotes = software projects
- Sierra Club/USFS = XP community
how do you read the story?
If I make that assumption, then I read the story as "business leaders
want to get rid of software projects," which makes me wonder why they
authorized the projects in the first place.
--
Edmund Schweppe - ***@ieee.org - http://schweppe.home.tiac.net
The opinions expressed herein are at best coincidentally related to
those of any past or future employer. The position of present employer
is currently open; contact me for further information!


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b***@14850.com
2002-09-30 04:27:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dale Emery
Hi Ron,
Post by Ron Jeffries
Even in that case, I'm
still not sure who's the Sierra Club, who's the coyote, and who's the
rancher.
If you assume that,
- sheep ranchers = business leaders
- coyotes = software projects
- Sierra Club/USFS = XP community
how do you read the story?
I'm still missing a player here.

What I get from the original story is:

Sheep ranchers find sheep valuble.
Coyotes kill sheep, removing value from the sheep ranchers.
Ranchers kill Coyotes to protect sheep.
Sierra Club doesn't want coyotes to die out
Sierra Club proposes solution to manage coyotes without extermination
Sheep ranchers don't see how solution solves there problem.
Sheep ranchers feel Sierra Club misunderstands ranchers issues.

Converting that, using your mapping, I get:

Business leaders find sheep valuble.
Software projects kill sheep, removing value from business leaders.
Business Leaders cancel software projects to protect sheep.
XP Community doesn't want software projects to die out.
XP Community proposes solution to manage software projects without
cancellation.
Business Leaders don't see how that helps them.
Business leaders feel XP community misunderstands their issues.

Now, assuming that we aren't being hired by Shephards*R*Us for
herd-management software, I have to assume that the sheep are also
metaphorical.

But I can't figure out what sheep represent in your story. Without
knowing that, it's hard to figure out what the problem the Business
Leaders really have is.

Based on the importance of sheep to sheep ranchers, I'd guess that
"sheep" represent the main focus of the company -- cars in the case of
Chrysler, buildings in the case of a general contractor, trade in the
case of a merchantile firm, etc. But that leads to the conclusion
that business leaders see software projects as attacks on their core
business. I fail to believe that the business leaders we are talking
about are stupid enough to seek out, hire, and pay for software
projects they feel are ultimately detrimental to their bottom line.
So if coyotes are software projects, then the sheep can't be the core
business of the business leaders.

What are the sheep?
Post by Dale Emery
Best regards,
Bill
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"I will not die an ironic death" -- Scott Ian, lead singer for
the metal band Anthrax, after bioterrorist attacks using anthrax.

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Dale Emery
2002-09-30 04:37:01 UTC
Permalink
Hi Buddha,
Post by b***@14850.com
Business leaders find sheep valuble.
Software projects kill sheep, removing value from business leaders.
Business Leaders cancel software projects to protect sheep.
XP Community doesn't want software projects to die out.
XP Community proposes solution to manage software projects without
cancellation.
Business Leaders don't see how that helps them.
Business leaders feel XP community misunderstands their issues.
...
Post by b***@14850.com
But I can't figure out what sheep represent in your story.
Dollars? People-hours? Some other resource?

Dale



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Bryan Dollery
2002-09-30 10:03:03 UTC
Permalink
Hi Dale,
Post by Dale Emery
Hi Buddha,
Post by b***@14850.com
Business leaders find sheep valuble.
Software projects kill sheep, removing value from business leaders.
Business Leaders cancel software projects to protect sheep.
XP Community doesn't want software projects to die out.
XP Community proposes solution to manage software projects without
cancellation.
Business Leaders don't see how that helps them.
Business leaders feel XP community misunderstands their issues.
...
Post by b***@14850.com
But I can't figure out what sheep represent in your story.
Dollars? People-hours? Some other resource?
If the sheep represent money then this story is intending to point out that
business leaders want to save money, and are willing to kill to do so. In
this case the moral seems to be that XPers aren't showing business leaders
how to save money.

If this was Bill's point then he has a sadly naive view of how business
works - which is probably why he's not a billionaire.

If business leaders were interested in money then they'd use JBoss over
WebSphere or WebLogic. The three products are, for most uses, identical -
but JBoss is free while Web* can cost around $50,000 per processor. If
money is that important, why do these products sell? Why are people still
using Windows over Linux?

Cheers,

Bryan




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Ian Collins
2002-09-30 10:10:09 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bryan Dollery
Hi Dale,
Post by Dale Emery
Hi Buddha,
Post by b***@14850.com
Business leaders find sheep valuble.
Software projects kill sheep, removing value from business leaders.
Business Leaders cancel software projects to protect sheep.
XP Community doesn't want software projects to die out.
XP Community proposes solution to manage software projects without
cancellation.
Business Leaders don't see how that helps them.
Business leaders feel XP community misunderstands their issues.
...
Post by b***@14850.com
But I can't figure out what sheep represent in your story.
Dollars? People-hours? Some other resource?
If the sheep represent money then this story is intending to point out that
business leaders want to save money, and are willing to kill to do so. In
this case the moral seems to be that XPers aren't showing business leaders
how to save money.
If this was Bill's point then he has a sadly naive view of how business
works - which is probably why he's not a billionaire.
If business leaders were interested in money then they'd use JBoss over
WebSphere or WebLogic. The three products are, for most uses, identical -
but JBoss is free while Web* can cost around $50,000 per processor. If
money is that important, why do these products sell? Why are people still
using Windows over Linux?
There's the answer, the sheep are the business leaders who insist on
Windows.....
--
Ian Collins
Masuma Ltd,
Christchurch
New Zealand.

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Charlie Poole
2002-09-30 18:43:39 UTC
Permalink
Bryan,

I'm not picking on you particularly here, but I deleted the earlier notes.
Post by Bryan Dollery
Hi Dale,
Post by Dale Emery
Hi Buddha,
Post by b***@14850.com
Business leaders find sheep valuble.
Software projects kill sheep, removing value from business leaders.
Business Leaders cancel software projects to protect sheep.
XP Community doesn't want software projects to die out.
XP Community proposes solution to manage software projects without
cancellation.
Business Leaders don't see how that helps them.
Business leaders feel XP community misunderstands their issues.
...
Post by b***@14850.com
But I can't figure out what sheep represent in your story.
Dollars? People-hours? Some other resource?
If the sheep represent money then this story is intending to
point out that
business leaders want to save money, and are willing to kill to do so. In
this case the moral seems to be that XPers aren't showing business leaders
how to save money.
It's a metaphor, folks! You're trying to convert it to an allegory.

Charlie Poole
***@pooleconsulting.com
www.pooleconsulting.com
www.charliepoole.org




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Dale Emery
2002-09-30 04:45:57 UTC
Permalink
Hi Buddha,
Post by b***@14850.com
What are the sheep?
What if they're actually *sheep*, and there's a whole sordid aspect of
businesses that nobody ever told us about...

Dale



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Ron Jeffries
2002-09-30 09:40:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dale Emery
Hi Buddha,
Post by b***@14850.com
What are the sheep?
What if they're actually *sheep*, and there's a whole sordid aspect of
businesses that nobody ever told us about...
I love to wake up with a laugh. Just when I was about to go there, you
gave it to me. Much better.

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
Inigo: You are wonderful!
Man in Black: Thank you. I have worked hard to become so.


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Mark Derricutt
2002-09-30 12:17:55 UTC
Permalink
Whats with all the sheepshagger comments - is this pick on kiwi's week? :)

Mark
Auckland, NZ

--On Monday, September 30, 2002 05:40:07 -0400 Ron Jeffries
Post by Ron Jeffries
Post by Dale Emery
What if they're actually *sheep*, and there's a whole sordid aspect of
businesses that nobody ever told us about...
I love to wake up with a laugh. Just when I was about to go there, you
gave it to me. Much better.
-- \m/ --
"...if I seem super human I have been misunderstood." (c) Dream Theater
***@talios.com - ICQ: 1934853 JID: ***@myjabber.net


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Edmund Schweppe
2002-09-30 13:47:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dale Emery
Hi Buddha,
Post by b***@14850.com
What are the sheep?
What if they're actually *sheep*, and there's a whole sordid aspect of
businesses that nobody ever told us about...
What difference wool'd it make?
--
Edmund Schweppe - ***@ieee.org - http://schweppe.home.tiac.net
The opinions expressed herein are at best coincidentally related to
those of any past or future employer. The position of present employer
is currently open; contact me for further information!


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Ron Jeffries
2002-09-30 09:38:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by b***@14850.com
Sheep ranchers find sheep valuble.
Coyotes kill sheep, removing value from the sheep ranchers.
Ranchers kill Coyotes to protect sheep.
Sierra Club doesn't want coyotes to die out
Sierra Club proposes solution to manage coyotes without extermination
Sheep ranchers don't see how solution solves there problem.
Sheep ranchers feel Sierra Club misunderstands ranchers issues.
Business leaders find sheep valuble.
Software projects kill sheep, removing value from business leaders.
Business Leaders cancel software projects to protect sheep.
XP Community doesn't want software projects to die out.
XP Community proposes solution to manage software projects without
cancellation.
Business Leaders don't see how that helps them.
Business leaders feel XP community misunderstands their issues.
Now, assuming that we aren't being hired by Shephards*R*Us for
herd-management software, I have to assume that the sheep are also
metaphorical.
Only a computer techie would do this! I love being alive!!!

I know it's just a metaphor that was supposed to make us think
something that we obviously don't get. But really -- isn't this more
fun?!?!?

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
Sigs are like I Ching or Tarot. They don't mean anything,
but sometimes if you think about them you'll get a useful idea.


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jhrothjr
2002-09-30 12:13:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ron Jeffries
Post by b***@14850.com
Sheep ranchers find sheep valuble.
Coyotes kill sheep, removing value from the sheep ranchers.
Ranchers kill Coyotes to protect sheep.
Sierra Club doesn't want coyotes to die out
Sierra Club proposes solution to manage coyotes without extermination
Sheep ranchers don't see how solution solves there problem.
Sheep ranchers feel Sierra Club misunderstands ranchers issues.
Business leaders find sheep valuble.
Software projects kill sheep, removing value from business leaders.
Business Leaders cancel software projects to protect sheep.
XP Community doesn't want software projects to die out.
XP Community proposes solution to manage software projects without
cancellation.
Business Leaders don't see how that helps them.
Business leaders feel XP community misunderstands their issues.
Now, assuming that we aren't being hired by Shephards*R*Us for
herd-management software, I have to assume that the sheep are also
metaphorical.
Only a computer techie would do this! I love being alive!!!
Lots of people take metaphors apart this way... It's a common technique in literary analysis and psychotherapy, among other things.
"Hrumph. Vat dos da sheep mean to you?"
"Sheep... Sheared... Aha! I need a haircut!"

Seriously, we're supposed to have metaphor as one of the key practices, but lots of us can't figure out how to use it. Does this tell us anything?

John Roth
Post by Ron Jeffries
I know it's just a metaphor that was supposed to make us think
something that we obviously don't get. But really -- isn't this more
fun?!?!?
Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
Sigs are like I Ching or Tarot. They don't mean anything,
but sometimes if you think about them you'll get a useful idea.
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Ron Jeffries
2002-09-30 12:58:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by jhrothjr
Seriously, we're supposed to have metaphor as one of the key practices, but lots of us can't figure
out how to use it. Does this tell us anything?
Metaphors work fine for the people who discover them. Bill loved the
metaphor. The rest of us may get them wrong. An XP metaphor is a
"team" thing, not a public thing, IMO.

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
Fear is the mindkiller. --Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear


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Bryan Dollery
2002-09-30 09:54:03 UTC
Permalink
Hi Buddha,
Post by b***@14850.com
What are the sheep?
They're white fluffy animals that graze in fields!

Cheers,

Bryan



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jhrothjr
2002-09-30 12:17:14 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dale Emery
Hi Buddha,
Post by b***@14850.com
What are the sheep?
They're white fluffy animals that graze in fields!
Cheers,
Bryan
Nah. They're software projects. What finally connected through the glue in my brain cells is that this guy started out with the premise that his current silver bullet, that is, prototyping software, could obviate the need to construct software.

John Roth


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Bill Walton
2002-09-30 17:04:25 UTC
Permalink
... this guy started out with the premise that his current silver bullet,
that is, prototyping software, could obviate the need to construct software.

Hi John,

I'm really sorry that that's the way you interpreted what I said, because
that's absolutely *not* what I meant to communicate. Prototyping is about
eliciting requirements. That's it. Period. That's my position. I do
understand that others, back in the late '80's and early '90's, took that
position. But I never did. Certainly don't now.

What I see as valuable in prototyping is that it improves the probability
that we've elicited *all* the requirements, as they exist at a point in
time, so that our estimates of what it will take to build a solution will be
more complete. That's a big hurdle for those of us who work in environments
that reward good up-front estimates, and penalize the alternative. If you
work in an environment where that's not the case, I'm happy for you.
Really.

Best regards,
Bill


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Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
2002-09-30 17:36:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Walton
Prototyping is about
eliciting requirements. That's it. Period. That's my position. ...
What I see as valuable in prototyping is that it improves the probability
that we've elicited *all* the requirements, as they exist at a point in
time, so that our estimates of what it will take to build a solution will be
more complete.
I think we've established, once we got past the language smokescreen,
that prototyping fits in very nicely, and when circumstances warrant,
would be heartily recommended by formal XP, as a means (though not the
only one) of gathering requirements in preparation for the planning
game.

So now that you know that what you've been doing is really XP -- or at
least not incompatible with it -- why do you persist in drawing these
Post by Bill Walton
That's a big hurdle for those of us who work in environments
that reward good up-front estimates, and penalize the alternative. If you
work in an environment where that's not the case, I'm happy for you.
Really.
What have you ever learned about XP that makes you think it only
applies to environments that reward bad up-front estimates?

Conversely, what about your process leads your estimates to be better
up-front than ours? You've already answered "a quick prototyping
phase" -- that's cool! We like that! We do that too! Anything else?

Finally, one thing XP is proud of is its ability to *keep* making
estimates, and making them better, sooner, more frequently (every 2
weeks, the error bars get closer together on our estimates). Can you
recommend a process that does this more efficiently?

Or do you work in an environment where continuous improvement on
schedule estimates is not rewarded?

Sincerely -

- A
--
Alex Chaffee mailto:***@jguru.com
jGuru - Java News and FAQs http://www.jguru.com/alex/
Creator of Gamelan http://www.gamelan.com/
Founder of Purple Technology http://www.purpletech.com/
Curator of Stinky Art Collective http://www.stinky.com/

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Bill Walton
2002-09-30 18:18:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
Post by Bill Walton
Prototyping is about
eliciting requirements. That's it. Period. That's my position. ...
What I see as valuable in prototyping is that it improves the probability
that we've elicited *all* the requirements, as they exist at a point in
time, so that our estimates of what it will take to build a solution will be
more complete.
I think we've established, once we got past the language smokescreen,
that prototyping fits in very nicely, and when circumstances warrant,
would be heartily recommended by formal XP, as a means (though not the
only one) of gathering requirements in preparation for the planning
game.
As I've understood things, XP's approach to prototyping would be
story-specific. I do not yet understand how XP's story based approach leads
to any better assurance that all the requirements are known and captured in
the initial estimates than any other methodology. The kind of prototyping I
thinking of does address this in the sense of prototyping the entire
application. That doesn't mean requirements won't change. It's a good idea
to expect that they might change because the needs of the business change.
On the other hand, perhaps I don't understand XP's approach. I'll be
picking up 5 XP books from a friend tomorrow. I'll let you guys know which
ones they are so you can tell me what order to read them in.
Post by Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
So now that you know that what you've been doing is really XP -- or at
least not incompatible with it -- why do you persist in drawing these
Post by Bill Walton
That's a big hurdle for those of us who work in environments
that reward good up-front estimates, and penalize the alternative. If you
work in an environment where that's not the case, I'm happy for you.
Really.
What have you ever learned about XP that makes you think it only
applies to environments that reward bad up-front estimates?
Wow. I really can't believe you think that's what I said, or meant. I'll
restate it in the hopes of being more clear. If you work in an environment
that doesn't require or base it's reward system on good up-front estimates,
I'm happy for you.
Post by Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
Conversely, what about your process leads your estimates to be better
up-front than ours? You've already answered "a quick prototyping
phase" -- that's cool! We like that! We do that too! Anything else?
Nope.
Post by Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
Finally, one thing XP is proud of is its ability to *keep* making
estimates, and making them better, sooner, more frequently (every 2
weeks, the error bars get closer together on our estimates). Can you
recommend a process that does this more efficiently?
Or do you work in an environment where continuous improvement on
schedule estimates is not rewarded?
I work in environments where changes to schedules and estimates are not
rewarded when change means increase, as is typically the case.


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Charlie Poole
2002-09-30 18:52:53 UTC
Permalink
Bill,
Post by Bill Walton
On the other hand, perhaps I don't understand XP's approach. I'll be
picking up 5 XP books from a friend tomorrow.
My initial impression was that you were pretty close-minded about this.

I apologize.

Charlie Poole
***@pooleconsulting.com
www.pooleconsulting.com
www.charliepoole.org




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Bill Walton
2002-09-30 20:56:51 UTC
Permalink
----- Original Message -----
From: "Charlie Poole" <***@pooleconsulting.com>
To: <***@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 1:52 PM
Subject: RE: What are the sheep? (was Re: [XP] Signing off...)
Post by Charlie Poole
Bill,
Post by Bill Walton
On the other hand, perhaps I don't understand XP's approach. I'll be
picking up 5 XP books from a friend tomorrow.
My initial impression was that you were pretty close-minded about this.
I apologize.
No problem, Charlie. But thanks. I was going to write another Op/Ed piece
(not on XP) for STQE, but I may hold off :-)
Post by Charlie Poole
Charlie Poole
www.pooleconsulting.com
www.charliepoole.org
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Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
2002-09-30 19:23:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Walton
Post by Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
I think we've established, once we got past the language smokescreen,
that prototyping fits in very nicely, and when circumstances warrant,
would be heartily recommended by formal XP, as a means (though not the
only one) of gathering requirements in preparation for the planning
game.
As I've understood things, XP's approach to prototyping would be
story-specific.
Only in the exact same sense as your approach. You mentioned a
"failed login" use case. You developed a path in your prototype to
cover that (with the user "Bob" and the failure screen).

In XP, that would either be a story, or would be a sentence (feature)
on a "Login" story card.

Now, add together a couple dozen or hundred of these features, divide
them into stories, estimate them, and you have a release plan.

You see what I mean? Your prototype is built up of use cases (or
features, or screens, or click paths, or something). Our release plan
is built up of stories (each of which comprises one or more features
or requirements).

Thus, saying XP is story-specific is like saying your prototype is
feature-specific. True, but irrelevant to the question, "Does XP
produce good up-front estimates?"
Post by Bill Walton
I do not yet understand how XP's story based approach leads
to any better assurance that all the requirements are known and captured in
the initial estimates than any other methodology. The kind of prototyping I
thinking of does address this in the sense of prototyping the entire
application.
Again: in the initial release plan, we try to capture as many
requirements as we can. Really. We do. I don't know how many times
we have to keep saying this.

We then, with the customer's help, pick an arbitrary set of them and
say "we can probably do this many stories in this amount of time."

("...but check with us later and we'll both know more. Then, if the
release date is inflexible, then the scope will have to change; if the
scope is inflexible, then the release date will have to change; if the
requirements change due to shifting business goals, then we can
re-estimate everything in about 5 minutes (literally)." --but you
said you get this part, I think.)

In the meantime, we let the customer pick an even smaller set of
stories (usually those with the highest value), and design and
implement the code for as many of them as we can, and we make sure
it's all working, and our code is tested, and integrated, and
end-to-end, and is the simplest, cleanest, most flexible design we can
think of for this *iteration's* worth of stories.

See? We *estimate* the whole set, but we only *design and implement*
the current set.
Post by Bill Walton
On the other hand, perhaps I don't understand XP's approach. I'll be
picking up 5 XP books from a friend tomorrow. I'll let you guys know which
ones they are so you can tell me what order to read them in.
Read them in the order of the colors of the rainbow -- ROYGBIV. (Just
kidding.)
Post by Bill Walton
If you work in an environment
that doesn't require or base it's reward system on good up-front estimates,
I'm happy for you.
And I meant, I've never heard of an environment that explicitly
penalizes good up-front estimates. I have heard of environments that
reward *bad* up-front estimates, as long as those bad estimates paint
a rosy picture that hides problems from upper management.

But what I really meant was, what does that have to do with the price
of rice in China? The XP planning game produces good up-front
estimates. It also produces good ongoing estimates. Why would it not
apply to your environment, where you claim rewards are based on good
up-front estimates?
--
Alex Chaffee mailto:***@jguru.com
jGuru - Java News and FAQs http://www.jguru.com/alex/
Creator of Gamelan http://www.gamelan.com/
Founder of Purple Technology http://www.purpletech.com/
Curator of Stinky Art Collective http://www.stinky.com/

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Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
2002-09-30 19:26:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Walton
Post by Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
Finally, one thing XP is proud of is its ability to *keep* making
estimates, and making them better, sooner, more frequently (every 2
weeks, the error bars get closer together on our estimates). Can you
recommend a process that does this more efficiently?
Or do you work in an environment where continuous improvement on
schedule estimates is not rewarded?
I work in environments where changes to schedules and estimates are not
rewarded when change means increase, as is typically the case.
Alex:

Fascinating. So what do you do when you learn, honestly and truly and
in good faith, that an estimate was wrong?
--
Alex Chaffee mailto:***@jguru.com
jGuru - Java News and FAQs http://www.jguru.com/alex/
Creator of Gamelan http://www.gamelan.com/
Founder of Purple Technology http://www.purpletech.com/
Curator of Stinky Art Collective http://www.stinky.com/

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jhrothjr
2002-09-30 19:40:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Walton
Post by Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
Post by Bill Walton
Prototyping is about
eliciting requirements. That's it. Period. That's my position. ...
What I see as valuable in prototyping is that it improves the
probability
Post by Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
Post by Bill Walton
that we've elicited *all* the requirements, as they exist at a point in
time, so that our estimates of what it will take to build a solution
will be
Post by Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
Post by Bill Walton
more complete.
I think we've established, once we got past the language smokescreen,
that prototyping fits in very nicely, and when circumstances warrant,
would be heartily recommended by formal XP, as a means (though not the
only one) of gathering requirements in preparation for the planning
game.
As I've understood things, XP's approach to prototyping would be
story-specific. I do not yet understand how XP's story based approach leads
to any better assurance that all the requirements are known and captured in
the initial estimates than any other methodology.
The short answer: it doesn't.

The long answer. When you're faced with the necessity of proceeding in the face of incomplete information, there are three general reactions.

1. Proceed anyway, chin out, and take your lumps.
2. Stop and collect more information, and hope that some of it will be relevant and reduce the risk.
3. Learn strategies for minimizing risk while proceeding with insufficient information.

I don't think I need to elaborate on #1.

#2 is what we've all been taught to do. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. The track record of the many ways that people have invented to do requirements elicitation is not very good. If it was, people wouldn't be going around baying at the moon about the "software crisis."

XP is a study in how to do #3. Present feedback is that it seems to work better than #2.

This isn't a prescription of moving off blindly into the unknown. I don't think anyone recommends that. The fact is, from innumerable analysis of software projects by people who are much better at it than I, that there's a point of diminishing returns in collecting information.

Where that point is, I don't know, and I expect that different people will disagree. For me, it's a largely unconcious evaluation of when I can somehow see a system in the morass of data. For others, it may be more explicit.

The basic bottom line from a business perspective is that you need the ability to say that you're going to be able to deliver a system that has business value, even if it doesn't have quite all the bells and whistles the marketing department would like, somewhere close to the estimated time and budget.

I think XP gives you at least as good a chance of doing that as anything else, and probably much better than many approaches.

Which brings up what is possibly the real crux of the matter: are we delivering the right system, or are we delivering the wrong system done right? That's what requirements elicitation speaks to, however it's done.
Post by Bill Walton
Post by Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
Conversely, what about your process leads your estimates to be better
up-front than ours? You've already answered "a quick prototyping
phase" -- that's cool! We like that! We do that too! Anything else?
Nope.
Post by Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
Finally, one thing XP is proud of is its ability to *keep* making
estimates, and making them better, sooner, more frequently (every 2
weeks, the error bars get closer together on our estimates). Can you
recommend a process that does this more efficiently?
Or do you work in an environment where continuous improvement on
schedule estimates is not rewarded?
I work in environments where changes to schedules and estimates are not
rewarded when change means increase, as is typically the case.
Every business I've ever been in has worked in one of two ways when they discover that they can't meet a committed date: either deliver part of the committment on time, or slip the date. Most of these build in sufficient padding so that they hit the date early with the complete system.

The fact that such a large proportion of IS systems fail to do this is generally due to only a few factors:

1. Management malfeasance - ignoring estimates and dictating how long it's going to take.
2. Changing requirements.
3. Bad pacing - no intermediate checkpoints that really mean something.

I've got no particular problem with estimating a project and expecting that I'm going to bring it in somewhat early and under budget. As long as I'm allowed to keep the excess cash. That isn't possible in some corporate environments, and government incentives in that area are notoriously perverse.

John Roth


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Dale Emery
2002-09-30 20:00:33 UTC
Permalink
Hi Bill,
Post by Bill Walton
I work in environments where changes to schedules and estimates are not
rewarded when change means increase, as is typically the case.
Is it okay in those environments to change schedules and estimates
when the requirements change? Is it okay to change schedules and
estimates when you learn from what happens after you made the initial
ones?

Dale



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Charlie Poole
2002-09-30 18:50:42 UTC
Permalink
Bill,
Post by jhrothjr
... this guy started out with the premise that his current
silver bullet,
that is, prototyping software, could obviate the need to
construct software.
Hi John,
I'm really sorry that that's the way you interpreted what I said, because
that's absolutely *not* what I meant to communicate. Prototyping is about
eliciting requirements. That's it. Period. That's my position. I do
understand that others, back in the late '80's and early '90's, took that
position. But I never did. Certainly don't now.
To be fair, I have to say that IS what you said. Many of us have seen
prototypes
be "promoted" into low-quality production software, so there is probably a
gut
reaction against the word. I caught on when you said you were only spending
a few days.
Post by jhrothjr
What I see as valuable in prototyping is that it improves the probability
that we've elicited *all* the requirements, as they exist at a point in
time, so that our estimates of what it will take to build a
solution will be
more complete. That's a big hurdle for those of us who work in environments
that reward good up-front estimates, and penalize the alternative. If you
work in an environment where that's not the case, I'm happy for you.
Really.
Let's turn that around. You don't see how our estimates can be viewed
as "good" - at least by management - or that we can have elicited *all*
the requirements - at least all known requirements - using the practices
we use. We report that we - some of us - have been successful in doing
both of those things.

Your conclusion seems to be that we are missing something you're trying
to tell us. Can you think of any alternative interpretations?

Charlie Poole
***@pooleconsulting.com
www.pooleconsulting.com
www.charliepoole.org




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Bill Walton
2002-09-30 20:54:34 UTC
Permalink
----- Original Message -----
From: "Charlie Poole" <***@pooleconsulting.com>
To: <***@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 1:50 PM
Subject: RE: What are the sheep? (was Re: [XP] Signing off...)
Post by Charlie Poole
Bill,
Post by jhrothjr
... this guy started out with the premise that his current
silver bullet,
that is, prototyping software, could obviate the need to
construct software.
Hi John,
I'm really sorry that that's the way you interpreted what I said, because
that's absolutely *not* what I meant to communicate. Prototyping is about
eliciting requirements. That's it. Period. That's my position. I do
understand that others, back in the late '80's and early '90's, took that
position. But I never did. Certainly don't now.
To be fair, I have to say that IS what you said. Many of us have seen
prototypes
be "promoted" into low-quality production software, so there is probably a
gut
reaction against the word. I caught on when you said you were only spending
a few days.
Post by jhrothjr
What I see as valuable in prototyping is that it improves the probability
that we've elicited *all* the requirements, as they exist at a point in
time, so that our estimates of what it will take to build a
solution will be
more complete. That's a big hurdle for those of us who work in environments
that reward good up-front estimates, and penalize the alternative. If you
work in an environment where that's not the case, I'm happy for you.
Really.
Let's turn that around. You don't see how our estimates can be viewed
as "good" - at least by management - or that we can have elicited *all*
the requirements - at least all known requirements - using the practices
we use. We report that we - some of us - have been successful in doing
both of those things.
Your conclusion seems to be that we are missing something you're trying
to tell us. Can you think of any alternative interpretations?
Sure. I'm assuming I'm missing it and it's somewhere in the books I'm about
to read.
Post by Charlie Poole
Charlie Poole
www.pooleconsulting.com
www.charliepoole.org
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William Pietri
2002-09-30 19:56:55 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Walton
What I see as valuable in prototyping is that it improves the probability
that we've elicited *all* the requirements, as they exist at a point in
time, so that our estimates of what it will take to build a solution will be
more complete. That's a big hurdle for those of us who work in environments
that reward good up-front estimates, and penalize the alternative. If you
work in an environment where that's not the case, I'm happy for you.
Really.
What would you estimate the probability is that you can elicit *all* the
requirements for a project?

Let's imagine that we're using your prototyping tools as the
requirements gathering process for XP, so that the result is a stack of
story cards ordered by priority. Let's further imagine that it's a
relatively small project: say enough work that it will take four
developers three months for the first release.

What are the probabilities that:

a) business conditions will not change in any way
that affects the story cards or estimates,
b) the Customer will come up with no new story cards,
c) the developers will suggest no new story cards,
d) test users will suggest no new story cards, and
e) there will be no new story cards that are more
important than the least important feature in
the original set.


I'm especially interested in Bill's numbers for these factors, both
using and not using the prototyping tools he mentions. But I'd be eager
to hear how likely others feel it is that nothing changes and nothing
new can be learned in even a short project.

William
--
brains for sale: http://scissor.com/


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Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
2002-09-30 20:40:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by William Pietri
What would you estimate the probability is that you can elicit *all* the
requirements for a project?
William, Bill has already acknowledged that requirements can change.
He has also acknowledged that eliciting literally all the requirements
is an unreachable ideal; OTOH, we have acknowledged that eliciting as
many requirements as possible is a worthy goal, as long as you don't
take too long pursuing it. Your post is eloquent (as always) but
beside the point.

Bill's said that his primary concern is getting accurate up-front
estimates, in order to have the best possible basis to decide whether
to launch the project or cancel it.

He's also said that his environment rewards good up-front estimates,
and has no rewards for good ongoing estimates, at least where those
estimates result in an increase to the original ship date.

Bill, please correct me if I'm misrepresenting you.

I think I'll go out on a limb and say his whole queasiness about XP
was that he was trying to apply the whole XP process to the problem he
faces in his job, which begins soon after a new project is proposed,
and *ends (as far as I can tell) at the moment coding starts* -- in
XP, this would be as soon as first release planning meeting begins.

He's said that he's like a roaming wolf (or coyote :-), going from
project to project, helping management make thumbs-up/thumbs-down
decisions. He's also said he's worried about not being there to
monitor projects that go astray -- again signifying that he's there
for the conception but not the labor or delivery.

So we really have been talking about different problems.

The XP answer to his question "how do I gather requirements?" is,

"Huh? Oh, um, do it however works best for you, but once you've got
them, WOW! Do we have a process for you!"

He may have initially thought that XP's approach to gathering
requirements was the same as our approach to designing and
implementing and coding and teaming. It's not.

(However, we do solve his monitoring problem. The team monitors
itself, and provides highly visible feedback every few weeks, so if a
project ever drops below the "cancel me" line, we learn immediately.)

Bill, our collective opinion is that in your role as a process coach,
you (or rather, your clients) may benefit from the XP principles of
feedback, embracing change, ongoing prioritization, and ongoing
estimation. I will go out on a limb and suggest that once you
understand the process, you may end up recommending it, saying to your
client something like,

"I believe that you can get these features done by this date for this
cost. I also think that, in order to accomodate the inevitable
changes to the spec, you may want to manage the project using an agile
process. Based on my understanding of your corporate environment, I
suggest this, this and this agile practice."

(E.g. continuous integration but not on-site customer, or two-week
iterations but not pair programming, or whatever.)

Anyway, Bill, enjoy the books, hope to see you back here in a couple
of weeks.

- Alex

P.S. You might also end up telling your clients, "Adopting agile
processes can be a hurdle, so I suggest you hire a coach.
Fortunately, I know some good ones, whom I met online after I really
stirred their coals once upon a time." :-)
--
Alex Chaffee mailto:***@jguru.com
jGuru - Java News and FAQs http://www.jguru.com/alex/
Creator of Gamelan http://www.gamelan.com/
Founder of Purple Technology http://www.purpletech.com/
Curator of Stinky Art Collective http://www.stinky.com/

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Kay A. Pentecost
2002-09-30 18:22:22 UTC
Permalink
Hi, John, and the rest of us coyotes....
Post by Marv Miller
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 8:17 AM
Subject: What are the sheep? (was Re: [XP] Signing off...)
Post by Dale Emery
Hi Buddha,
Post by b***@14850.com
What are the sheep?
They're white fluffy animals that graze in fields!
Cheers,
Bryan
Nah. They're software projects. What finally connected through
the glue in my brain cells is that this guy started out with the
premise that his current silver bullet, that is, prototyping
software, could obviate the need to construct software.
Yeah.

And.

I think the sheep are profits.

The Coyotes are us... because we are costly, and we take away from profits.
Software development is the process of *herding sheep.*

You see, These companies (Ranchers) don't care about the process of
herding... it's all about making more sheep.

They can make money by either service contracts (sheering wool) or selling
programs (mutton and lamb).

The assumption is that "coyotes" don't care about the sheep and that we are
stupid enough to kill the *process* (the herding) in order to get dinner.

Fact is, the sheep are valuable to the coyotes. They are survival, not mere
excess. And the coyote is valuable to the sheep, by culling out the weak
and also by reducing other hazards in the environment.

And it misses the fact that there are also other profit-reducers in the mix.
For example, sheep herders and sheep dogs.

And the guy up front who decided that it was possible to range N sheep over
an area that will only support N - n sheep... who architected the whole
thing... or the guy who thought that a heard of N sheep with both males and
females was going to stay at N sheep over the course of X years....

Companies find *one* thing to *blame* and then want to destroy it.

Just my sense, too.

Kay

BTW, I don't like the Sierra Clubs suggestion at all, either.


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Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
2002-09-30 00:02:53 UTC
Permalink
(FYI, while the tone of this reply may be jaunty, the content is
serious. It seemed that a few others were pulling tongue-in-cheek
alternate meanings out of thin air; this is my honest take.)
Post by Bill Walton
If you assume that,
- sheep ranchers = business leaders
- coyotes = software projects
- Sierra Club/USFS = XP community
Yes, that's what I thought you meant.
Post by Bill Walton
how do you read the story?
I think that the moral of the story as Bill intended it is, "The USFS
is proposing something that won't solve the rancher's problem, and his
down-home folksy common sense cut through newfangled misguided
fuzzy-headed liberal proposals that don't solve his real problems."

However, after I read it I thought, "Wow, that rancher doesn't
understand the proposed solution. The USFS presenters must not have
explained it in terms he could understand."

See, the rancher is still in the old mindset that to stop coyotes from
killing sheep, you have to kill the coyotes.

In this "big slaughter up front" process, you kill a coyote, and save
all the sheep he would have killed this year.

However, in the "just enough sterilization" process, you don't save
the sheep he would have killed. However, you do save all the sheep
his children would have killed next year. So this might be a small
tradeoff -- sterilization is more humane, and only slightly less
effective.

The sterilization strategy may also have other advantages. For
instance, a smaller population may mean less competition among coyotes
for natural food sources like rabbits, which may mean that individual
coyotes are less likely to invade ranchers' space. IOW, maybe
sterilization will be /as effective/ or as slaughter, with the advantage
of being more humane, and the disadvantage that you'll need to keep
accurate long-term measurements to tell how it's going, instead of
being able to see dead coyotes with your own eyes.

I'm not a population biologist, nor a sheep rancher, but I'm sure
there are lots of other advantages and disadvantages to each strategy.
So saying the sterilization strategy boils down to keeping the coyotes
from fucking sheep is an inaccurate oversimplification. So is saying
that the slaughter strategy boils down to sadism or revenge (as a few
fuzzy-headed liberal XPers replied in this thread).

But if the USFS came off as a bunch of college kids using scientific
and/or government terms, or otherwise disrespected the ranchers by
either talking over their heads or talking down to them, then they
weren't doing a good job of communicating.

OTOH, maybe the rancher disrespected the USFS and didn't listen to
what they were saying, and instead trusted what he heard in the media
or from his friends at the bar last night, instead of reading their
literature and listening to their presentation with an open mind.

I do think Bill reckons himself the skeptical rancher, and thinks that
XP is a bunch of uppity people who ain't from around these parts, that
don't understand the sorts of problems he deals with every day, and
I'm sure that sounds nice on paper, but here in the real world we have
to such-and-so.

I think the perception around here is that Bill hasn't done his
homework, and hasn't opened his mind, and hasn't heard what we've been
saying.

- A

P.S. (Or maybe the rancher had an ulterior motive, and used humor as a
rhetorical device to discredit his opponents. I don't think this was
Bill's intent.)
--
Alex Chaffee mailto:***@jguru.com
jGuru - Java News and FAQs http://www.jguru.com/alex/
Creator of Gamelan http://www.gamelan.com/
Founder of Purple Technology http://www.purpletech.com/
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Ilja Preuß
2002-09-30 17:20:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
So saying the sterilization strategy boils down to keeping the coyotes
from fucking sheep is an inaccurate oversimplification. So is saying
that the slaughter strategy boils down to sadism or revenge (as a few
fuzzy-headed liberal XPers replied in this thread).
So is your statement in the parantheses.

Regards, Ilja

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Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
2002-09-30 17:23:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ilja Preuß
Post by Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
So saying the sterilization strategy boils down to keeping the coyotes
from fucking sheep is an inaccurate oversimplification. So is saying
that the slaughter strategy boils down to sadism or revenge (as a few
fuzzy-headed liberal XPers replied in this thread).
So is your statement in the parantheses.
Yes, exactly!

(I was echoing my straw-man rancher's "these no-good newfangled
misguided fuzzy-headed liberal college kids" attitude, rhetorically
implying that it does us no good to oversimplify Bill's position
either.)

Later -

- Alex
--
Alex Chaffee mailto:***@jguru.com
jGuru - Java News and FAQs http://www.jguru.com/alex/
Creator of Gamelan http://www.gamelan.com/
Founder of Purple Technology http://www.purpletech.com/
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Kay A. Pentecost
2002-09-30 18:52:47 UTC
Permalink
Hi, Alex,
Post by Marv Miller
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Sunday, September 29, 2002 8:03 PM
Subject: [XP] Coyotes and Sheep
(FYI, while the tone of this reply may be jaunty, the content is
serious. It seemed that a few others were pulling tongue-in-cheek
alternate meanings out of thin air; this is my honest take.)
<snip>
Post by Marv Miller
I think the perception around here is that Bill hasn't done his
homework, and hasn't opened his mind, and hasn't heard what we've been
saying.
Yes.

I think he wants to make a point.
Post by Marv Miller
- A
P.S. (Or maybe the rancher had an ulterior motive, and used humor as a
rhetorical device to discredit his opponents. I don't think this was
Bill's intent.)
I haven't seen any signs of humor, either.

<grin>

Except from us.

Kay
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Dale Emery
2002-09-30 20:21:01 UTC
Permalink
Hi Kay,
Post by Kay A. Pentecost
Post by Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
I think the perception around here is that Bill hasn't done his
homework, and hasn't opened his mind, and hasn't heard what we've
been saying.
Yes.
I think he wants to make a point.
I like that Bill wants to make a point.

Dale



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Charlie Poole
2002-09-30 20:25:05 UTC
Permalink
Alex,

I like the post and generally agree with your interpretation.

I particularly liked the parenthetical remark
(as a few fuzzy-headed liberal XPers replied in this thread).
in which you cleverly illustrate the kind of reaction that
you're debunking. :-)

Charlie Poole
***@pooleconsulting.com
www.pooleconsulting.com
www.charliepoole.org




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Dossy
2002-09-29 18:30:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Walton
A few years ago, the Sierra Club and the U.S. Forest Service
presented an alternative solution to Wyoming sheep ranchers
for controlling their coyote problem. Rather than continue
the ranchers' tried and true methods of shooting and/or
trapping the predators, these groups proposed that the
ranchers consider implementing a "more humane" solution.
What they proposed was that the ranchers capture the coyotes
alive, castrate the males, then let them loose again... and
the population would be controlled. Well, all the ranchers
thought about this for a couple of minutes. Finally, one old
boy in the back stood up, kicked his hat back and said, "Son,
I don't think you understand the problem. These coyotes
If the point of the story is that the sheep ranchers have a dog that
won't hunt, then I suggest you just sign off the list right now and go
on your merry way.

:-P

-- Dossy
--
Dossy Shiobara mail: ***@panoptic.com
Panoptic Computer Network web: http://www.panoptic.com/
"He realized the fastest way to change is to laugh at your own
folly -- then you can let go and quickly move on." (p. 70)

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kentlbeck
2002-09-29 20:13:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bill Walton
A few years ago, the Sierra Club and the U.S. Forest Service
presented an alternative solution to Wyoming sheep ranchers for
controlling their coyote problem. Rather than continue the
ranchers' tried and true methods of shooting and/or trapping the
predators, these groups proposed that the ranchers consider
implementing a "more humane" solution. What they proposed was that
the ranchers capture the coyotes alive, castrate the males, then let
them loose again... and the population would be controlled. Well,
all the ranchers thought about this for a couple of minutes.
Finally, one old boy in the back stood up, kicked his hat back and
said, "Son, I don't think you understand the problem. These coyotes
ain't f@#kin' our sheep - they're eatin' 'em."

Thanks--words of wisdom indeed.

Kent


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Ron Jeffries
2002-09-29 23:44:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by kentlbeck
Thanks--words of wisdom indeed.
Perhaps you'd do us the kindness of translating them for the less
wise, such as myself. I'm having difficulty drawing a lesson that
seems likely to have been the one Bill had in mind.

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
"How do I get to XP?" "Practice, man, practice."


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kentlbeck
2002-09-30 08:26:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ron Jeffries
Post by kentlbeck
Thanks--words of wisdom indeed.
Perhaps you'd do us the kindness of translating them for the less
wise, such as myself. I'm having difficulty drawing a lesson that
seems likely to have been the one Bill had in mind.
Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
"How do I get to XP?" "Practice, man, practice."
You are solving the wrong problem.

Kent


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Ron Jeffries
2002-09-30 09:47:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by kentlbeck
Post by Ron Jeffries
Post by kentlbeck
Thanks--words of wisdom indeed.
Perhaps you'd do us the kindness of translating them for the less
wise, such as myself. I'm having difficulty drawing a lesson that
seems likely to have been the one Bill had in mind.
Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
"How do I get to XP?" "Practice, man, practice."
You are solving the wrong problem.
Yes, I guess I did get that. But, like the Sierra guys, I don't see
why. I thought he said he needed a commitment, I thought I offered how
to get one.

I'm so confused ... but that's nothing new, I'll get over it or get
used to it.

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
- Gandhi


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Geoff Upham
2002-09-30 10:20:47 UTC
Permalink
Sorry excuse my last three posts - I thought they were going to another
list *shame*

Sorry again



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Kay A. Pentecost
2002-09-30 18:22:20 UTC
Permalink
Hi, Geoff,

does this mean you don't think this list has "intellegent debate"?

<grin>

Kay
Post by Marv Miller
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 6:21 AM
Subject: RE: [XP] Re: Signing off...
Sorry excuse my last three posts - I thought they were going to another
list *shame*
Sorry again
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Dossy
2002-09-30 11:45:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ron Jeffries
Post by kentlbeck
You are solving the wrong problem.
Yes, I guess I did get that. But, like the Sierra guys, I don't see
why. I thought he said he needed a commitment, I thought I offered how
to get one.
I'm so confused ... but that's nothing new, I'll get over it or get
used to it.
The problem is that the sheep ranchers are uneducated. The solution to
their problems won't solve their problem. They need to be educated (in
their /own/ vocabulary) as to how the solution will solve their
problems.

Simply telling them to "castrate the coyotes" doesn't "solve their
problems" because they think the proposed solution solves a different
problem -- they can't see how it solves /their/ problem. That doesn't
mean it doesn't or can't solve their problem, they're just not able to
see how.

You've solved their problem, but you're solving the /wrong/ problem.

Does this help? Does this make sense?

-- Dossy
--
Dossy Shiobara mail: ***@panoptic.com
Panoptic Computer Network web: http://www.panoptic.com/
"He realized the fastest way to change is to laugh at your own
folly -- then you can let go and quickly move on." (p. 70)

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Bryan Dollery
2002-09-30 12:04:20 UTC
Permalink
Hi Dossy,
Post by Dossy
Post by Ron Jeffries
Post by kentlbeck
You are solving the wrong problem.
Yes, I guess I did get that. But, like the Sierra guys, I don't see
why. I thought he said he needed a commitment, I thought I offered how
to get one.
I'm so confused ... but that's nothing new, I'll get over it or get
used to it.
The problem is that the sheep ranchers are uneducated. The solution to
their problems won't solve their problem. They need to be educated (in
their /own/ vocabulary) as to how the solution will solve their
problems.
Simply telling them to "castrate the coyotes" doesn't "solve their
problems" because they think the proposed solution solves a different
problem -- they can't see how it solves /their/ problem. That doesn't
mean it doesn't or can't solve their problem, they're just not able to
see how.
You've solved their problem, but you're solving the /wrong/ problem.
Does this help? Does this make sense?
It makes sense... but you're wrong.

The problem is that the wolves kill the sheep. Cutting off their balls
won't stop them doing that, it'll just ensure that the problem doesn't get
any worse in the future. You've solved the wrong problem, and it's not a
communication issue where they just can't recognise that you've solved
their problem, you really haven't stopped the wolves eating the sheep.

Unless the castration is seen as a punitive measure, in which case it's the
wolves that need educating, not the ranchers ;->

To solve *the* problem you have to compensate the ranchers for the loss of
their sheep, with a bonus for taking away the perverted pleasure of their
bloodlust for killing a harmless endangered species.

Another solution would be to successfully show that it's wild dogs, not
wolves, that are killing the sheep, thus deflecting the anger of the
ranchers onto it's correct target.

Cheers,

Bryan


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Dossy
2002-09-30 12:19:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bryan Dollery
It makes sense... but you're wrong.
I love you too, Bryan.
Post by Bryan Dollery
The problem is that the wolves kill the sheep. Cutting off their balls
won't stop them doing that, it'll just ensure that the problem doesn't get
any worse in the future. You've solved the wrong problem, and it's not a
communication issue where they just can't recognise that you've solved
their problem, you really haven't stopped the wolves eating the sheep.
You're being a sheep rancher, Bryan.
Post by Bryan Dollery
Unless the castration is seen as a punitive measure, in which case it's the
wolves that need educating, not the ranchers ;->
To solve *the* problem you have to compensate the ranchers for the loss of
their sheep, with a bonus for taking away the perverted pleasure of their
bloodlust for killing a harmless endangered species.
Another solution would be to successfully show that it's wild dogs, not
wolves, that are killing the sheep, thus deflecting the anger of the
ranchers onto it's correct target.
If a sheep rancher lost just a single sheep to the coyotes in a single
year, do you think they'd really notice the loss in the frame of
reference of a few hundred sheep? Probably not, more probably die on
their own accord or illness or other causes.

The reason why ranchers are upset and are going out actively looking to
shoot coyotes is because there are a significant, measurable number,
eating their sheep.

The Sierra Club folks are saying, "It's because you aren't doing the
/right/ things to curb the coyote population! The reason why you're
losing so many sheep is because there's so many coyotes."

Their point is that you don't have to try and kill every single coyote
in order to keep your sheep safe. You just have to castrate enough of
them to curb the coyote population and keep it in check.

But, of course, the coyote ranchers don't understand that just like
sheep, coyote breed in patterns and try to reach a self-sustaining
equilibrium population ... which, in some way, depends on the sheep
population.


...

Now, think of sheep ranchers as business customers, sheep as software
projects and coyotes as circumstances that lead to failure.

Is my original explanation still wrong? Are you still an uneducated
sheep rancher?

Do we really need to try and eliminate all the possible ways software
projects can fail, or merely be aware of them and keep monitoring things
to ensure that those possibilities aren't becoming realities?

-- Dossy
--
Dossy Shiobara mail: ***@panoptic.com
Panoptic Computer Network web: http://www.panoptic.com/
"He realized the fastest way to change is to laugh at your own
folly -- then you can let go and quickly move on." (p. 70)

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Dossy
2002-09-30 12:26:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dossy
[...] you really haven't stopped the wolves eating the sheep.
Shooting the coyotes doesn't solve the problem; the remaining coyotes
eat the remaining sheep.

This is similar to managers asking programmers to work long hours of
overtime to try and "save the project" ... or hiring many new resources
to add to an already behind schedule project ... or insisting that
programmers spend less time on testing and more time on developing new
features ...

XP can be criticized as not "looking far enough ahead," characterized by
soundbites like "YAGNI" and "DTSTTCPW" ... which makes XP practitioners
sound a lot like sheep ranchers, saying "if we just keep shooting all
the coyotes we can see /right now/ then none of them will make it to the
sheep to eat them!"

The Sierra Club folks say, "at the cost of a few sheep today, wouldn't
you rather do something that will keep them from eating your sheep for
the long term?"

Of course, the XP cattle ranchers say, "but they're eating our sheep
/now/! If I have no sheep left, how will I /eat/ today, let alone in
the long term?"

It's two sides of the see-saw and neither side is entirely right. The
challenge is figuring out where in the middle the best compromise really
is ...

-- Dossy
Post by Dossy
It makes sense... but you're wrong.
I love you too, Bryan.
The problem is that the wolves kill the sheep. Cutting off their balls
won't stop them doing that, it'll just ensure that the problem doesn't get
any worse in the future. You've solved the wrong problem, and it's not a
communication issue where they just can't recognise that you've solved
their problem, you really haven't stopped the wolves eating the sheep.
You're being a sheep rancher, Bryan.
Unless the castration is seen as a punitive measure, in which case it's the
wolves that need educating, not the ranchers ;->
To solve *the* problem you have to compensate the ranchers for the loss of
their sheep, with a bonus for taking away the perverted pleasure of their
bloodlust for killing a harmless endangered species.
Another solution would be to successfully show that it's wild dogs, not
wolves, that are killing the sheep, thus deflecting the anger of the
ranchers onto it's correct target.
If a sheep rancher lost just a single sheep to the coyotes in a single
year, do you think they'd really notice the loss in the frame of
reference of a few hundred sheep? Probably not, more probably die on
their own accord or illness or other causes.
The reason why ranchers are upset and are going out actively looking to
shoot coyotes is because there are a significant, measurable number,
eating their sheep.
The Sierra Club folks are saying, "It's because you aren't doing the
/right/ things to curb the coyote population! The reason why you're
losing so many sheep is because there's so many coyotes."
Their point is that you don't have to try and kill every single coyote
in order to keep your sheep safe. You just have to castrate enough of
them to curb the coyote population and keep it in check.
But, of course, the coyote ranchers don't understand that just like
sheep, coyote breed in patterns and try to reach a self-sustaining
equilibrium population ... which, in some way, depends on the sheep
population.
...
Now, think of sheep ranchers as business customers, sheep as software
projects and coyotes as circumstances that lead to failure.
Is my original explanation still wrong? Are you still an uneducated
sheep rancher?
Do we really need to try and eliminate all the possible ways software
projects can fail, or merely be aware of them and keep monitoring things
to ensure that those possibilities aren't becoming realities?
-- Dossy
--
Panoptic Computer Network web: http://www.panoptic.com/
"He realized the fastest way to change is to laugh at your own
folly -- then you can let go and quickly move on." (p. 70)
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--
Dossy Shiobara mail: ***@panoptic.com
Panoptic Computer Network web: http://www.panoptic.com/
"He realized the fastest way to change is to laugh at your own
folly -- then you can let go and quickly move on." (p. 70)

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Ron Jeffries
2002-09-30 12:24:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dossy
Does this help? Does this make sense?
No. Yes.

What /is/ the problem. Bill's, not the one with the sheep.

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
Analysis kills spontaneity.
The grain once ground into flour germinates no more. -- Henri Amiel


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Dossy
2002-09-30 12:27:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ron Jeffries
Post by Dossy
Does this help? Does this make sense?
No. Yes.
What /is/ the problem. Bill's, not the one with the sheep.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/extremeprogramming/message/62319

I think this describes the problem that Bill's raising. Maybe you
disagree?

-- Dossy
--
Dossy Shiobara mail: ***@panoptic.com
Panoptic Computer Network web: http://www.panoptic.com/
"He realized the fastest way to change is to laugh at your own
folly -- then you can let go and quickly move on." (p. 70)

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Pierre Boudreau
2002-09-30 10:58:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by kentlbeck
Post by Ron Jeffries
Post by kentlbeck
Thanks--words of wisdom indeed.
Perhaps you'd do us the kindness of translating them for the less
wise, such as myself. I'm having difficulty drawing a lesson that
seems likely to have been the one Bill had in mind.
Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
"How do I get to XP?" "Practice, man, practice."
You are solving the wrong problem.
Kent
Solving the wrong problem for businesses or solving the wrong problem for
Bill?


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Bill Walton
2002-09-30 16:55:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by kentlbeck
You are solving the wrong problem.
Kent
Hi Kent,

I don't mean to characterize it as the *wrong* problem. I'm simply
observing that the two groups are solving *different* problems. Here's what
I take away from the story.

Since I don't know much about it, I start with the assumption that sheep
ranching, like any other business, must be hard. I'm comfortable assuming
that ranchers have lots of problems they have to attend to to be successful
at their business. Things like competition, access to markets, costs of
production, etc., etc., etc. Hard problems that they mostly have very
little control over. Coyotes are probably not a primary focus of the
ranchers. I would imagine they only get the rancher's attention when their
impact gets "above the bar." When that happens, the ranchers have a simple,
cost-effective solution. Not a long-term solution. Just one that pushes
the problem back below the bar and lets them quickly get back to the big
problems. I would imagine that's all they're looking for.

I know even less about the Sierra Club, but sticking to the story, it seems
to me that the problem they're solving is having the coyotes treated more
"humanely." (I wonder how the coyotes would vote :-) ) It seems they're
attempting to get the ranchers to buy-in by couching their solution in terms
of what they perceive to be the ranchers' problems.

The proposal seems to be to *keep* the coyote problem "above the bar."
Trapping and castrating the coyotes is going to be much more time consuming
and costly than just shooting them. It's intent is to avoid reducing the
coyote population in the short term. In the long-term, it might or might
not ever have any material impact, depending on how much time and effort is
put into it.

As an aside, I'm not sure about coyotes, but I do know that in wolf packs
only the alpha male breeds. Castrating the non-alpha males will have zero
impact on the population. Also, if you castrate the alpha male, the next
male in the pecking order will take his place. So it's pretty much an all
or nothing solution. You'd have to castrate them all to have any effect.
That, of course, would guarantee extinction. Perhaps coyotes are different
that wolves in this respect. They must be for the SC's proposed solution to
make any sense at all. In case some of you think, "that's how we could sell
it to the ranchers!", I would say that at least some ranchers recognize that
coyotes play a valuable role in the ranch ecosystem. They don't want to see
them extinct. They just want to keep the problem "below the bar."

Putting myself in the role of an observer, rather than a participant, at the
meeting in the story I ask myself a couple of questions.
1) Did the SC do itself any good? In the story, it does not appear so.
2) Did the SC do itself any harm? Probably, if credibility is a concern.
a) They didn't acknowledge the ranchers' real problem, running a successful
business, and how the coyote problem fits into it.
b) They proposed a solution that really addresses the SC's problem, not the
ranchers' problem.
c) They probably offended at least some of the ranchers, by the act of
proposing this solution, by implying that the ranchers were too stupid to
see that it was really a solution to the SC problem couched as though it was
a solution to the ranchers' problem. (a wolf in sheep's clothing, so to
speak)

Does that make either of them *bad* or *wrong*? Not in my mind. Was the
meeting was a waste of everybody's time? Not if any of them learned a
little more about the other party's problem. Was the past week a waste of
my time? Absolutely not. I've learned something about your problem that I
sincerely didn't understand before: there are a substantial number of
programmers out there who don't feel valued, don't feel respected. *That's*
a problem that needs attention.

Best regards,
Bill



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Kay A. Pentecost
2002-09-30 19:01:41 UTC
Permalink
Hi, Bill,
Post by Marv Miller
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 12:55 PM
Subject: Re: [XP] Re: Signing off...
<snip>
Post by Marv Miller
I've learned something about your
problem that I
sincerely didn't understand before: there are a substantial number of
programmers out there who don't feel valued, don't feel
respected. *That's*
a problem that needs attention.
What would you do to deal with this "problem"?

Kay
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Marv Miller
2002-09-29 14:17:32 UTC
Permalink
Greetings, all...

I'm a fledgling to XP and this group. Indeed I know nothing much about XP,
since I haven't read any of the original books on the subject. I subscribed
to this group about the same time I discovered the whole subject of XP (yep,
I'm a late-XP-bloomer). The first thing I noticed is that there is a lot of
"jawing" going on here...I received a 120 msgs the first day.

It would appear, XP folks are either so prolific with XP technique, that
they actually have their software developed and tested before they start
writing it...leaving them lots of time to put their two-cents worth into
this group. I should be so lucky.

As a software developer, especially in today's business climate, I find
myself quite busy...just surviving. I'm wondering who's paying the salaries
for all this talking?

At my age...60...and with twenty years experience with IBM somewhere in my
distant past, I may not know a lot about about the weaving together of
business and technos, but I do know something about life...ya can't help
it...it gets into your pores by just living from day-to-day.

Toffler helped shape my understanding with his "Third Wave", some decades
ago, and it has always amused me that we, as a species who think we can
think, have seemed "driven" to push the same old piece-worker mentality
(paid by the quantity of fram-o-stats one turns out each day...industrial
quantity being the actual end product, not quality) into the Information
Age. There are only two reasons to move as quickly as possible from the
Industrial Age to the Information Age (well, besides such things as the
pollution the Industrial Age created and we still live with as a
legacy...right down to the intimacy of cancer in our human cells...): the
almighty $$, and making our "work" easier. The latter being tied to the
wonderful "American Dream", which, in terms of quantity, hardly any
Americans are enjoying.

But we trudge on...in the same direction, I suspect. Much like the
Industrial Age tact, with concepts like XP, we've nearly reached
"industrial" in the software development realm. Like a bunch of squirrels,
we've leaped not from the spining treadmill of an Industrial squirrel cage
into the fire, but rather into another Industrial squirrel cage...only this
time, as the dust of transition settles, we'll find ourselves in yet another
industrial cage, albeit, the "clean industry" of technos.

A quick perusal of this group's dialogue, leaves me feeling cold and
industrial...that is...without any really human heart. The only heart I've
sensed so far, is just a recasting of that same old cold Industrial heart,
only in cleaner clothing. If what I'm reading here passes for creative
thinking...we're doomed to continue INSIDE that same old Industrial Box.

Group Think on...

It's no wonder some third world residents are dedicated to destroying our
way of life...that wonderful, colonialism based, Industrial machine of the
West, guns blazing, as we "machine over" the rest of the world in the name
of The American Dream.

I think I'm going to cancel my membership to this, yet another, heartless
machine at work, group. Go get 'em tigers...thar's gold in them thar
hills...



-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Walton [mailto:***@jstats.com]
Sent: Saturday, September 28, 2002 11:45 PM
To: ***@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [XP] Signing off...


Greetings,

As I said in my "Day 4..." posting, I originally exposed my presence to the
group out of a sense of fairness. I took a couple of shots at XP in the
StickyMinds column and felt you should have the chance to "get even." I
think you've had that.

I approached the information gathering for the column much as I expect the
business execs I know will. That is, they'll skim the literature to reach a
fairly quick decision on whether to devote more effort or cut their losses.
The column gives you what I think are going to be the red flags that will
cause most execs to stay away. I've had some interesting feedback
back-channel that reinforces my feeling that I was right in that respect.
What you do with this information is obviously up to you. If any of you
would like to continue a discussion about the business side of XP, as
opposed to trying to convince me that there's no reason to be concerned, I'd
be interested in having that conversation back-channel.

As far as active participation in the discussion on this topic on the list,
I'm going to sign off. Before I do, I'll share a story a friend who's been
monitoring the discussion sent me today. His comment was "I don't think
you're talking about the same problem." I agree. I admire what you're
trying to accomplish. In all sincerity, I wish you luck. Hope you get the
story.

A few years ago, the Sierra Club and the U.S. Forest Service presented an
alternative solution to Wyoming sheep ranchers for controlling their coyote
problem. Rather than continue the ranchers' tried and true methods of
shooting and/or trapping the predators, these groups proposed that the
ranchers consider implementing a "more humane" solution. What they proposed
was that the ranchers capture the coyotes alive, castrate the males, then
let them loose again... and the population would be controlled. Well, all
the ranchers thought about this for a couple of minutes. Finally, one old
boy in the back stood up, kicked his hat back and said, "Son, I don't think
you understand the problem. These coyotes ain't f@#kin' our sheep - they're
eatin' 'em."

Best regards,
Bill Walton
***@jstats.com




[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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Dale Emery
2002-09-29 20:41:30 UTC
Permalink
Hi Marv,
Post by Marv Miller
I think I'm going to cancel my membership to this, yet another,
heartless machine at work, group.
You could stay, for a while at least, to help us learn about what you
mean by "heart," and how to bring it to our discussions and our work.
This may not work out for you, but would it be worth a week or two?

Dale



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Charlie Poole
2002-09-29 21:26:02 UTC
Permalink
Marv,
Post by Marv Miller
At my age...60...and with twenty years experience with IBM somewhere in my
distant past, I may not know a lot about about the weaving together of
business and technos, but I do know something about life...ya can't help
it...it gets into your pores by just living from day-to-day.
You might be surprised at how un-unique your experiece - both the amount
and the nature of it - is in this group.
Post by Marv Miller
A quick perusal of this group's dialogue, leaves me feeling cold and
industrial...that is...without any really human heart. The only heart I've
sensed so far, is just a recasting of that same old cold Industrial heart,
only in cleaner clothing. If what I'm reading here passes for creative
thinking...we're doomed to continue INSIDE that same old Industrial Box.
Would you expand on how you see this? I'm sure it will seem to some folks,
as it does to me, that you've missed the point, XP being in my view the
complete opposite of the Taylorist paradigm of productivity.

Charlie Poole
***@pooleconsulting.com
www.pooleconsulting.com
www.charliepoole.org






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Ron Jeffries
2002-09-29 21:52:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marv Miller
A quick perusal of this group's dialogue, leaves me feeling cold and
industrial...that is...without any really human heart. The only heart I've
sensed so far, is just a recasting of that same old cold Industrial heart,
only in cleaner clothing. If what I'm reading here passes for creative
thinking...we're doomed to continue INSIDE that same old Industrial Box.
Marv, you haven't been listening. Or, at least, you haven't been
hearing.

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
You can observe a lot by watching. --Yogi Berra


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Dale Emery
2002-09-29 23:18:55 UTC
Permalink
Hi Ron,
Post by Ron Jeffries
Marv, you haven't been listening.
Does Mary Doria Russell have anything to say about "you haven't been
listening"?

Dale



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Ron Jeffries
2002-09-29 23:39:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dale Emery
Hi Ron,
Post by Ron Jeffries
Marv, you haven't been listening.
Does Mary Doria Russell have anything to say about "you haven't been
listening"?
You quote me incompletely, Dale, which seems less fair than your usual
style.

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
Bang, bang, Jeffries' silver hammer came down upon their heads ...


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Dale Emery
2002-09-29 23:52:54 UTC
Permalink
Hi Ron,
Post by Ron Jeffries
Post by Dale Emery
Post by Ron Jeffries
Marv, you haven't been listening.
Does Mary Doria Russell have anything to say about "you haven't been
listening"?
You quote me incompletely, Dale, which seems less fair than your usual
style.
Marv, you haven't been listening. Or, at least, you haven't been
hearing.
Does Mary Doria Russell have anything to say about "you haven't been
listening. Or, at least, you haven't been hearing."?

Dale



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Ron Jeffries
2002-09-30 01:09:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dale Emery
Does Mary Doria Russell have anything to say about "you haven't been
listening. Or, at least, you haven't been hearing."?
Probably, though nothing comes right to mind. Perhaps you would care
to make your point more directly?

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
Talent determines how fast you get good, not how good you get. -- Richard Gabriel


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Dale Emery
2002-09-30 01:52:51 UTC
Permalink
Hi Ron,
Post by Ron Jeffries
Post by Dale Emery
Does Mary Doria Russell have anything to say about "you haven't
been listening. Or, at least, you haven't been hearing."?
Probably, though nothing comes right to mind. Perhaps you would care
to make your point more directly?
I'll try.

In my experience, "you haven't been listening" typically has the
effect, if not the intention, of stopping conversation. It also has
the effect, if not the intention, of attributing the breakdown to the
person who "hasn't been listening."

When I get the feeling that someone isn't listening to me, I almost
always discover that amount of "not listening" is about equal in
either direction. Actually, "not listening" isn't quite right. I
have indeed been listening, but from my own perspective. This is no
surprise for me, as I have no other perspective to listen from but my
own. But usually I find that I have been holding tightly to my
perspective, sometimes even listening specifically for ways to shore
up my perspective and dismiss the other person's.

Meanwhile, the other person may have been doing the same thing.
(Though sometimes it turns out that only I have been doing that.)

To break the deadlock, somebody has to take the first step and relax
their hold on their perspective. "You're not listening" says "you go
first."

I have found "you're not listening" to be ineffective at moving the
conversation forward. Other stuff works better for me. "That isn't
what I intended to convey," for example. Or, "What did you hear me
say that led you to that conclusion?" Or any other statement or
question that acknowledges that we are talking from two different
perspectives, and I want to learn more about yours so that I
understand better how to create shared meaning with you.

Is that clearer?

Dale



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Ron Jeffries
2002-09-30 01:59:36 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dale Emery
Is that clearer?
Yes. Thanks. I don't see that your advice is applicable in this case
but agree that my statement likely has the effect you describe.

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
Don't be afraid of pair programming:
You may not be as good as you think you are, but
You're not as bad as you fear.


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Dossy
2002-09-30 02:27:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dale Emery
I have found "you're not listening" to be ineffective at moving the
conversation forward. Other stuff works better for me. "That isn't
what I intended to convey," for example. Or, "What did you hear me
say that led you to that conclusion?" Or any other statement or
question that acknowledges that we are talking from two different
perspectives, and I want to learn more about yours so that I
understand better how to create shared meaning with you.
I just finished reading "Difficult Conversations" and one of the
prevailing themes of the book is exactly what you describe, Dale.

The book has been a great learning experience for me. :-)

-- Dossy
--
Dossy Shiobara mail: ***@panoptic.com
Panoptic Computer Network web: http://www.panoptic.com/
"He realized the fastest way to change is to laugh at your own
folly -- then you can let go and quickly move on." (p. 70)

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Dale Emery
2002-09-29 23:12:50 UTC
Permalink
Hi Marv,
Post by Marv Miller
A quick perusal of this group's dialogue, leaves me feeling cold and
industrial...that is...without any really human heart.
I have a personal mission to help people create joy, meaning, and
value in their work. Though that may not come through in every
message I write, I do my best to bring my heart to this community. I
think I'm doing a good job of that overall, and I think the community
appreciates it.

Please consider offering something with heart, and see how that goes.
Post by Marv Miller
I think I'm going to cancel my membership to this, yet another,
heartless machine at work, group.
What does heart mean to you? Can you give some examples of heartful work?

Dale



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Chris Morris
2002-09-29 23:46:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marv Miller
If what I'm reading here passes for creative
thinking...we're doomed to continue INSIDE that same old Industrial Box.
If you've got something better than what we're doing, please tell us. I hate
broad, empty criticisms like this.

Chris


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JUDD John
2002-09-30 04:42:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marv Miller
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, 30 September 2002 13:57
Subject: What are the sheep? (was Re: [XP] Signing off...)
Business leaders find sheep valuble.
Software projects kill sheep, removing value from business leaders.
Business Leaders cancel software projects to protect sheep.
XP Community doesn't want software projects to die out.
XP Community proposes solution to manage software projects without
cancellation.
Business Leaders don't see how that helps them.
Business leaders feel XP community misunderstands their issues.
Now, assuming that we aren't being hired by Shephards*R*Us for
herd-management software, I have to assume that the sheep are also
metaphorical.
But I can't figure out what sheep represent in your story. Without
knowing that, it's hard to figure out what the problem the Business
Leaders really have is.
Based on the importance of sheep to sheep ranchers, I'd guess that
"sheep" represent the main focus of the company -- cars in the case of
Chrysler, buildings in the case of a general contractor, trade in the
case of a merchantile firm, etc. But that leads to the conclusion
that business leaders see software projects as attacks on their core
business. I fail to believe that the business leaders we are talking
about are stupid enough to seek out, hire, and pay for software
projects they feel are ultimately detrimental to their bottom line.
So if coyotes are software projects, then the sheep can't be the core
business of the business leaders.
What are the sheep?
Profits?

Cheers

John

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Dale Emery
2002-09-30 04:43:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by JUDD John
Post by b***@14850.com
What are the sheep?
Profits?
Executives' careers?

Dale



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Laurent Bossavit
2002-09-30 08:21:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marv Miller
I think I'm going to cancel my membership to this, yet another,
heartless machine at work, group.
You seem to be depressed about something.


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Ilja Preuß
2002-09-30 12:54:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dossy
Shooting the coyotes doesn't solve the problem; the remaining coyotes
eat the remaining sheep.
Unless you are able to shoot each coyote before it reaches a sheep.
Post by Dossy
XP can be criticized as not "looking far enough ahead," characterized by
soundbites like "YAGNI" and "DTSTTCPW" ... which makes XP practitioners
sound a lot like sheep ranchers, saying "if we just keep shooting all
the coyotes we can see /right now/ then none of them will make it to the
sheep to eat them!"
The Sierra Club folks say, "at the cost of a few sheep today, wouldn't
you rather do something that will keep them from eating your sheep for
the long term?"
Of course, the XP cattle ranchers say, "but they're eating our sheep
/now/! If I have no sheep left, how will I /eat/ today, let alone in
the long term?"
Well, it's not what I would be saying. What I would be saying is: "I keep them from eating sheep for the long term by shooting them when I see them, without the costs of a few sheep today. The way I do it is even quite human - perhaps you would like to observe how it works for a while?"

Regards, Ilja
______________________________________________________________________________
Die clevere Geldreserve: der DiBa-Privatkredit. Funktioniert wie ein Dispo,
ist aber viel günstiger! Alle Infos: http://diba.web.de/?mc=021104


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Dossy
2002-09-30 13:29:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ilja Preuß
Well, it's not what I would be saying. What I would be saying is: "I
keep them from eating sheep for the long term by shooting them when I
see them, without the costs of a few sheep today. The way I do it is
even quite human - perhaps you would like to observe how it works for
a while?"
Ah, leave it to Ilja to tow the XP party line.

Right on, comrade Ilja. :-)

-- Dossy
--
Dossy Shiobara mail: ***@panoptic.com
Panoptic Computer Network web: http://www.panoptic.com/
"He realized the fastest way to change is to laugh at your own
folly -- then you can let go and quickly move on." (p. 70)

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Ilja Preuß
2002-09-30 17:21:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dossy
Ah, leave it to Ilja to tow the XP party line.
Right on, comrade Ilja. :-)
Thanks! :-)

Regards, Ilja

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Ilja Preuß
2002-09-30 13:01:47 UTC
Permalink
Post by Bryan Dollery
The problem is that the wolves kill the sheep. Cutting off their balls
won't stop them doing that, it'll just ensure that the problem doesn't get
any worse in the future. You've solved the wrong problem, and it's not a
communication issue where they just can't recognise that you've solved
their problem, you really haven't stopped the wolves eating the sheep.
Unless the castration is seen as a punitive measure, in which case it's the
wolves that need educating, not the ranchers ;->
Are you sure that shooting the coyotes solves their problem?
Post by Bryan Dollery
To solve *the* problem you have to compensate the ranchers for the loss of
their sheep, with a bonus for taking away the perverted pleasure of their
bloodlust for killing a harmless endangered species.
Replacing it by the perverted pleasure of setting coyotes on the sheeps? <eek!>

Regards, Ilja
______________________________________________________________________________
Jetzt testen für 1 Euro! Ihr All-in-one-Paket!
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Laurent Bossavit
2002-09-30 13:44:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Ron Jeffries
Post by kentlbeck
You are solving the wrong problem.
Yes, I guess I did get that. But, like the Sierra guys, I don't see
why.
We are *always* solving the wrong problem. It's a rather safe thing
to say both on Kent's part and on the part of the sheep ranchers...

To illustrate : you are now working on the problems of
- figuring out what Bill meant
- figuring out what Kent meant
- figuring out what *I* mean now (or perhaps not...)

But then, we do always look for our keys where there's light rather
than where we lost them.

Cheers,

-[Morendil]-
Use of this tagline in nuclear applications prohibited.



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m***@pobox.com
2002-09-30 15:39:53 UTC
Permalink
Hi, Ron,
Post by Ron Jeffries
What /is/ the problem. Bill's, not the one with the sheep.
Hubris.

Peace,
--Carl
--
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Alex Chaffee / Purple Technology
2002-09-30 20:43:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by m***@pobox.com
Hi, Ron,
Post by Ron Jeffries
What /is/ the problem. Bill's, not the one with the sheep.
Hubris.
I know you were kidding, but I don't think Bill wants to blindly
challenge the gods. Here's what I think his problem is :
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/extremeprogramming/message/62451
--
Alex Chaffee mailto:***@jguru.com
jGuru - Java News and FAQs http://www.jguru.com/alex/
Creator of Gamelan http://www.gamelan.com/
Founder of Purple Technology http://www.purpletech.com/
Curator of Stinky Art Collective http://www.stinky.com/

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Tim Moore
2002-09-30 16:49:48 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marv Miller
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Sunday, September 29, 2002 8:03 PM
Subject: [XP] Coyotes and Sheep
(FYI, while the tone of this reply may be jaunty, the content
is serious. It seemed that a few others were pulling
tongue-in-cheek alternate meanings out of thin air; this is
my honest take.)
Post by Bill Walton
If you assume that,
- sheep ranchers = business leaders
- coyotes = software projects
- Sierra Club/USFS = XP community
Yes, that's what I thought you meant.
Post by Bill Walton
how do you read the story?
I think that the moral of the story as Bill intended it is,
"The USFS is proposing something that won't solve the
rancher's problem, and his down-home folksy common sense cut
through newfangled misguided fuzzy-headed liberal proposals
that don't solve his real problems."
However, after I read it I thought, "Wow, that rancher
doesn't understand the proposed solution. The USFS
presenters must not have explained it in terms he could understand."
See, the rancher is still in the old mindset that to stop
coyotes from killing sheep, you have to kill the coyotes.
In this "big slaughter up front" process, you kill a coyote,
and save all the sheep he would have killed this year.
However, in the "just enough sterilization" process, you
don't save the sheep he would have killed. However, you do
save all the sheep his children would have killed next year.
So this might be a small tradeoff -- sterilization is more
humane, and only slightly less effective.
If the ranchers don't care about the needs of the coyotes, then this is
an unacceptable tradeoff.

So the USFS is obligated to make the ranchers care about the coyotes if
they want their solution to be even considered.

I don't know if this really fits into the analogy well or not. I, like
others here, still don't fully get it. And I think Bill may have
already left, so we'll probably stay in the dark. :-\
--
Tim Moore / Blackboard Inc. / Software Engineer
1899 L Street, NW / 5th Floor / Washington, DC 20036
Phone 202-463-4860 ext. 258 / Fax 202-463-4863


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Bill Walton
2002-09-30 17:18:13 UTC
Permalink
I think Bill may have already left, so we'll probably stay in the dark.
:-\

By "Signing off ..." I didn't mean I was exiting the list (as you can tell
from my continued presence). Only exiting the discussion on that particular
topic.

Best regards,
Bill


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Tim Moore
2002-09-30 16:57:03 UTC
Permalink
The essential problem with the analogy in my mind is that it implies
that software projects are viewed by business executives as unwanted
pests that infiltrate the business and draw resources away. I don't see
how that applies. A more fitting analogy would be if the sheep ranchers
also bred the coyotes, and then had to deal with the problems of their
coyotes eating their sheep. If that were the case, I'd have to wonder
why they choose to pursue these conflicing goals.
--
Tim Moore / Blackboard Inc. / Software Engineer
1899 L Street, NW / 5th Floor / Washington, DC 20036
Phone 202-463-4860 ext. 258 / Fax 202-463-4863
Post by Marv Miller
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 12:55 PM
Subject: Re: [XP] Re: Signing off...
Post by kentlbeck
You are solving the wrong problem.
Kent
Hi Kent,
I don't mean to characterize it as the *wrong* problem. I'm
simply observing that the two groups are solving *different*
problems. Here's what I take away from the story.
Since I don't know much about it, I start with the assumption
that sheep ranching, like any other business, must be hard.
I'm comfortable assuming that ranchers have lots of problems
they have to attend to to be successful at their business.
Things like competition, access to markets, costs of
production, etc., etc., etc. Hard problems that they mostly have very
little control over. Coyotes are probably not a primary
focus of the
ranchers. I would imagine they only get the rancher's
attention when their impact gets "above the bar." When that
happens, the ranchers have a simple, cost-effective solution.
Not a long-term solution. Just one that pushes the problem
back below the bar and lets them quickly get back to the big
problems. I would imagine that's all they're looking for.
I know even less about the Sierra Club, but sticking to the
story, it seems to me that the problem they're solving is
having the coyotes treated more "humanely." (I wonder how
the coyotes would vote :-) ) It seems they're attempting to
get the ranchers to buy-in by couching their solution in
terms of what they perceive to be the ranchers' problems.
The proposal seems to be to *keep* the coyote problem "above
the bar." Trapping and castrating the coyotes is going to be
much more time consuming and costly than just shooting them.
It's intent is to avoid reducing the coyote population in the
short term. In the long-term, it might or might not ever
have any material impact, depending on how much time and
effort is put into it.
As an aside, I'm not sure about coyotes, but I do know that
in wolf packs only the alpha male breeds. Castrating the
non-alpha males will have zero impact on the population.
Also, if you castrate the alpha male, the next male in the
pecking order will take his place. So it's pretty much an
all or nothing solution. You'd have to castrate them all to
have any effect. That, of course, would guarantee extinction.
Perhaps coyotes are different that wolves in this respect.
They must be for the SC's proposed solution to make any sense
at all. In case some of you think, "that's how we could sell
it to the ranchers!", I would say that at least some ranchers
recognize that coyotes play a valuable role in the ranch
ecosystem. They don't want to see them extinct. They just
want to keep the problem "below the bar."
Putting myself in the role of an observer, rather than a
participant, at the meeting in the story I ask myself a
couple of questions.
1) Did the SC do itself any good? In the story, it does not
appear so.
2) Did the SC do itself any harm? Probably, if credibility
is a concern.
a) They didn't acknowledge the ranchers' real problem,
running a successful business, and how the coyote problem
fits into it.
b) They proposed a solution that really addresses the SC's
problem, not the ranchers' problem.
c) They probably offended at least some of the ranchers, by
the act of proposing this solution, by implying that the
ranchers were too stupid to see that it was really a solution
to the SC problem couched as though it was a solution to the
ranchers' problem. (a wolf in sheep's clothing, so to
speak)
Does that make either of them *bad* or *wrong*? Not in my
mind. Was the meeting was a waste of everybody's time? Not
if any of them learned a little more about the other party's
problem. Was the past week a waste of my time? Absolutely
not. I've learned something about your problem that I
sincerely didn't understand before: there are a substantial
number of programmers out there who don't feel valued, don't
feel respected. *That's* a problem that needs attention.
Best regards,
Bill
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Bill Walton
2002-09-30 17:24:53 UTC
Permalink
Post by Tim Moore
The essential problem with the analogy in my mind is that it implies
that software projects are viewed by business executives as unwanted
pests that infiltrate the business and draw resources away. I don't see
how that applies.
From time to time, software projects become problems that require the
business exec to divert their attention from their main problems. Any thing
that does that is, to the extent possible, going to be handled like the
ranchers handle the coyotes; as quickly and cost-effectively as possible so
they can get back to the main problem of running a successful business.
Post by Tim Moore
A more fitting analogy would be if the sheep ranchers
also bred the coyotes, and then had to deal with the problems of their
coyotes eating their sheep. If that were the case, I'd have to wonder
why they choose to pursue these conflicing goals.
Management is about nothing *but* conflicting goals.

Best regards,
Bill


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Tim Moore
2002-09-30 18:22:45 UTC
Permalink
OK, so here's what we have, as I see it. (Sorry if I'm a little slow to
catch on.)

Many of us on this group believe that XP is the best way to run a
software project.

but, sometimes what's best for a software project is not what's best for
the business at large.

therefore,

a) XP and its practisioners need to be adaptable enough to fit within
constraints imposed by external business needs.

b) The people representing those needs have to understand that XP can
adapt to them before they are willing to consider XP solutions to
software development problems.

c) XP advocates need to be more aware of the types of constraints
they're likely to face, so that they can develop effective ways of
dealing with them.


Does this all sound about right?
--
Tim Moore / Blackboard Inc. / Software Engineer
1899 L Street, NW / 5th Floor / Washington, DC 20036
Phone 202-463-4860 ext. 258 / Fax 202-463-4863

P.S. I'm glad you've stuck around! :-) My mistake for misinterpreting.
Post by Marv Miller
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 1:25 PM
Subject: Re: [XP] Re: Signing off...
Post by Tim Moore
The essential problem with the analogy in my mind is that
it implies
Post by Tim Moore
that software projects are viewed by business executives as
unwanted
Post by Tim Moore
pests that infiltrate the business and draw resources away.
I don't
Post by Tim Moore
see how that applies.
From time to time, software projects become problems that require the
business exec to divert their attention from their main
problems. Any thing that does that is, to the extent
possible, going to be handled like the ranchers handle the
coyotes; as quickly and cost-effectively as possible so they
can get back to the main problem of running a successful business.
Post by Tim Moore
A more fitting analogy would be if the sheep ranchers
also bred the coyotes, and then had to deal with the
problems of their
Post by Tim Moore
coyotes eating their sheep. If that were the case, I'd have
to wonder
Post by Tim Moore
why they choose to pursue these conflicing goals.
Management is about nothing *but* conflicting goals.
Best regards,
Bill
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Charlie Poole
2002-09-30 18:33:47 UTC
Permalink
Tim,
Post by Tim Moore
OK, so here's what we have, as I see it. (Sorry if I'm a little slow to
catch on.)
I think you probably have it right if you're trying to recapitulate what
Bill has been telling us. Which makes this a handy place to recapitulate
some comments.
Post by Tim Moore
Many of us on this group believe that XP is the best way to run a
software project.
but, sometimes what's best for a software project is not what's best for
the business at large.
At least it's not what certain managers believe is best for the business
as large. We have some opinions about what might turn out to be best
if only they would let us try it.
Post by Tim Moore
therefore,
a) XP and its practisioners need to be adaptable enough to fit within
constraints imposed by external business needs.
b) The people representing those needs have to understand that XP can
adapt to them before they are willing to consider XP solutions to
software development problems.
c) XP advocates need to be more aware of the types of constraints
they're likely to face, so that they can develop effective ways of
dealing with them.
So if the business people want a solid plan and budget up front, do
we give it to them? Do we tell them we can't do it?

It's a hard problem. We say that the customer decides value. If the
customer doesn't value our approach, are we stuck?

Charlie Poole
***@pooleconsulting.com
www.pooleconsulting.com
www.charliepoole.org






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Bill Walton
2002-09-30 20:46:52 UTC
Permalink
----- Original Message -----
From: "Tim Moore" <***@blackboard.com>
To: <***@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 1:22 PM
Subject: RE: [XP] Re: Signing off...
Post by Tim Moore
OK, so here's what we have, as I see it. (Sorry if I'm a little slow to
catch on.)
Many of us on this group believe that XP is the best way to run a
software project.
but, sometimes what's best for a software project is not what's best for
the business at large.
therefore,
a) XP and its practisioners need to be adaptable enough to fit within
constraints imposed by external business needs.
b) The people representing those needs have to understand that XP can
adapt to them before they are willing to consider XP solutions to
software development problems.
c) XP advocates need to be more aware of the types of constraints
they're likely to face, so that they can develop effective ways of
dealing with them.
Does this all sound about right?
Sounds about right to me.
Post by Tim Moore
--
Tim Moore / Blackboard Inc. / Software Engineer
1899 L Street, NW / 5th Floor / Washington, DC 20036
Phone 202-463-4860 ext. 258 / Fax 202-463-4863
P.S. I'm glad you've stuck around! :-) My mistake for misinterpreting.
Thanks.
Post by Tim Moore
Post by Marv Miller
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 1:25 PM
Subject: Re: [XP] Re: Signing off...
Post by Tim Moore
The essential problem with the analogy in my mind is that
it implies
Post by Tim Moore
that software projects are viewed by business executives as
unwanted
Post by Tim Moore
pests that infiltrate the business and draw resources away.
I don't
Post by Tim Moore
see how that applies.
From time to time, software projects become problems that require the
business exec to divert their attention from their main
problems. Any thing that does that is, to the extent
possible, going to be handled like the ranchers handle the
coyotes; as quickly and cost-effectively as possible so they
can get back to the main problem of running a successful business.
Post by Tim Moore
A more fitting analogy would be if the sheep ranchers
also bred the coyotes, and then had to deal with the
problems of their
Post by Tim Moore
coyotes eating their sheep. If that were the case, I'd have
to wonder
Post by Tim Moore
why they choose to pursue these conflicing goals.
Management is about nothing *but* conflicting goals.
Best regards,
Bill
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Tim Moore
2002-09-30 18:54:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by Marv Miller
-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, September 30, 2002 2:34 PM
Subject: RE: [XP] Re: Signing off...
Post by Tim Moore
Many of us on this group believe that XP is the best way to run a
software project.
but, sometimes what's best for a software project is not
what's best for the business at large.
At least it's not what certain managers believe is best for
the business as large. We have some opinions about what might
turn out to be best if only they would let us try it.
OK, but I can see how it could be viewed as a little presumptuous for a
technical team to be telling executive management that they know how to
run the business better than they do.
Post by Marv Miller
Post by Tim Moore
therefore,
a) XP and its practisioners need to be adaptable enough to
fit within
Post by Tim Moore
constraints imposed by external business needs.
b) The people representing those needs have to understand
that XP can
Post by Tim Moore
adapt to them before they are willing to consider XP solutions to
software development problems.
c) XP advocates need to be more aware of the types of constraints
they're likely to face, so that they can develop effective ways of
dealing with them.
So if the business people want a solid plan and budget up
front, do we give it to them? Do we tell them we can't do it?
It's a hard problem. We say that the customer decides value.
If the customer doesn't value our approach, are we stuck?
If we are, then I guess that's the failure of XP that Bill is pointing
to. It IS a hard problem, but it's also a common one. As XP advocates,
we need to have a way to solve it.

I have a feeling that XP is NOT incompatible with the constraints Bill
is talking about. I want to be sure that I understand him correctly,
though, before I try to address that.
--
Tim Moore / Blackboard Inc. / Software Engineer
1899 L Street, NW / 5th Floor / Washington, DC 20036
Phone 202-463-4860 ext. 258 / Fax 202-463-4863

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Charlie Poole
2002-09-30 20:41:01 UTC
Permalink
Tim,
Post by Tim Moore
Post by Charlie Poole
Post by Tim Moore
Many of us on this group believe that XP is the best way to run a
software project.
but, sometimes what's best for a software project is not
what's best for the business at large.
At least it's not what certain managers believe is best for
the business as large. We have some opinions about what might
turn out to be best if only they would let us try it.
OK, but I can see how it could be viewed as a little presumptuous for a
technical team to be telling executive management that they know how to
run the business better than they do.
There's an understatement if I've ever seen one!

It's a bit outside of the topic, but I see convincing executive management
of the value of XP as a business function that is not part of XP. It may
be done by an XP coach, if that coach is equipped to talk the language
of the business, or it may need to be done by a satisfied customer.
Post by Tim Moore
Post by Charlie Poole
Post by Tim Moore
therefore,
a) XP and its practisioners need to be adaptable enough to
fit within
Post by Tim Moore
constraints imposed by external business needs.
b) The people representing those needs have to understand
that XP can
Post by Tim Moore
adapt to them before they are willing to consider XP solutions to
software development problems.
c) XP advocates need to be more aware of the types of constraints
they're likely to face, so that they can develop effective ways of
dealing with them.
So if the business people want a solid plan and budget up
front, do we give it to them? Do we tell them we can't do it?
It's a hard problem. We say that the customer decides value.
If the customer doesn't value our approach, are we stuck?
If we are, then I guess that's the failure of XP that Bill is pointing
to. It IS a hard problem, but it's also a common one. As XP advocates,
we need to have a way to solve it.
It's individual, I think. Different people in different companies need
different sales jobs. Bill strikes me as somebody who would know how to
sell it if he believed in it.
Post by Tim Moore
I have a feeling that XP is NOT incompatible with the constraints Bill
is talking about. I want to be sure that I understand him correctly,
though, before I try to address that.
Me too. In some ways, this is old news. We've discussed problems of
perception of XP on this list many times before. Not everyone wants
to be part of the effort of changing those perceptions - they just
want to find a good environment in which to work. For those of us
who need to create our own opportunities, there isn't much choice.
We have to learn how to explain XP in a way that companies we need
to work with will accept it.

Another side to this is that if we explain XP well, so that the
executive understands what it will be like to work with XP, we're
likely to have a more successful procect. To me, that means we
can't get away with just glossing over aspects they don't like.

Charlie Poole
***@pooleconsulting.com
www.pooleconsulting.com
www.charliepoole.org




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Steve Ropa
2002-09-30 19:08:36 UTC
Permalink
Hi Dossy,
Post by Dossy
But, of course, the coyote ranchers don't understand that just like
sheep, coyote breed in patterns and try to reach a self-sustaining
equilibrium population ... which, in some way, depends on the sheep
population.
So to solve the problem, we need to kill the sheep? ;-)

Steve

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Dubbs, Roger
2002-09-30 20:35:59 UTC
Permalink
This brings to mind Steve McConnell's book Rapid Development. He has
a scheduling story. The developer in the story gives the most accurate
and precise estimates possible to the customer throughout the project.
They go something like:

(initially) 2-5 quarters
(after a month) 3-5 quarters
(after three months) 6-9 months remaining
(after eight months) 12-16 weeks remaining

What is interesting to me is that the developer never lied, and always
stated the estimates in ranges. McConnell's advice is to avoid giving
a point estimate or allowing someone to "split the difference". In the
text, he also gives the customer the opportunity to steer.

XP does much the same thing, but manages to a date by controlling scope.
If the scope is fixed, the velocity and the workload give a decent
estimate of the date it will be finished by early, so decisions can be
made. I've heard Bob Martin talk about decreasing error bars on the
estimates. Has anyone tried combine these methods?
Post by Bill Walton
Post by Bill Walton
I work in environments where changes to schedules and
estimates are not
Post by Bill Walton
rewarded when change means increase, as is typically the case.
The issue is not reward, but lack of punishment. If you make a good
faith effort and are punished for it, I recommend looking for a new
job.

Roger Dubbs


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