Rob gave a talk this afternoon on XP and coaching. My take on the XP coach is that it sounds a lot like a baseball manager - the job isn't to play baseball, but to make the other guys play baseball to the best of their abilities. now, like any metaphor, this one doesn't hold completely - while both jobs can be seen as transient (just look at how long the typical baseball manager lasts!), they aren't really the same. The coach is looking to train the team and go - the manager is really not hoping to work himself out of a job. In any event, Rob did a better job of conveying this than my notes indicate. It was a very interactive session, with a lot of feedback solicited from the audience. Here are the notes:
Rob MeeXP and Coaching What is it - if XP is self organizing, why do we need a coach?
i.e., much like a sports team coach Attributes of a good coach?
- Someone who has done it before
- Observing (everything)
- enforcing discipline
- Course correction
- Participating in all team practices
- keeping the balance
Questions: What about business domain knowledge?
- technically Competent
- Likes to share power and responsibilityYou won't come in with it anyway. Will have to learnWhat about coaching the customer team?(Lowell)Could be a separate person. Just as we need competent programmers, we need competent customerWhat is the most challenging of these skills for you?difficult to answer in three minutesCoach is a separate role from programmer - does he program?Yes, participates and pairs (hopefully with everyone)
Tips, Techniques, Patterns How to win over a reluctant team (individual)?Promise to go away after a fixed time Ask for temporary cooperation They can do it their way when you leavegood cop/bad cop (Rob, Kent - audience laughs) The integrator bunny Use a fun or provocative token for integration. breaks the ice. Team building Used a bunny - too small, got lost. Then used bunny ears (wearable) Pattern - Ronaldo (soccer) work is not everything The coach needs to make sure that the team makes non-work time part of the culture Live your life normally, and do your job better Relax, get away from work, get refreshed Strategic Retreat As soon as you start coaching, you are on your way out
Experiences - question on failures references Kent's project cancellation story from yesterday Quote - XP is more suited to party people than other processes (Kent) - as a coach, it's important not to get sucked into the personality conflicts of the staff Experience - XP at a Silicon Valley startup, $25M funding large, ambitious browser based system Currently about 3000 unit tests hundreds of acceptance tests Flexibility
- Start delegating
- lead meetings less often
- Stop giving tech advice
- Make fewer decisions
- removed WebLogic EJB 3 weeks before going live
- Planning module - 4 dim rotating model, designed to handle 3 million nodes -- changed to handle 350 million in 3 weeksHow to replace the coach?
Experience - XP in Germany
- start finding possibilities early
- intensive mentoring
- handing over of responsibility
- encourage XP community contribution (articles, talks, etc.)
Fired all staff, waited a week, hired 12 back 1st meeting - mgrs, 12 staff - We need you to teach us XP Results
- 100 year old insurance company
- 4 yrs
- 70 developers
- how much money did you say?
- nothing delivered
Tests Customer tests - Fit Unit tests - independent - no db contact, no 'container' (Tomcat) contact Why did it work?
- initial fear and dismay
- most doubtful - cried, even - became biggest champion
- team evolved into best estimators ever seen
- 8 weeks to a deployable system
who to become new coach?
- realistic goals
- one week iterations
- OS packages (over 10)
- Sane working conditions
Answer - coalition of all three Audience questions - how long to get there?
- one diplomatic, flexible, communicative
- another refactorer, aggressive
- third - technically brillianttypically 2-3 months if team has no XP knowledge With some background, small team - could be 3-4 weeksKent - principle behind XP is one of creating social networks, not hierarchies Coaching is not about "power and glory" Job one - make the coach go away Job two - create a replacement