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The Result That Matters

In 1968, a lanky guy named Dick Fosbury revolutionized the sport of high jumping with a technique that became known as the "Fosbury flop." Instead of going face-first over the bar and scissor-kicking his legs like everybody else, he flopped over on his back and landed on his shoulders. It looked stupid, frankly. Lots of people said, "We've never done things this way" and "That'll never work." But at the 1968 Olympic games, Fosbury cleared every height up to 7'314" without a miss. He won the gold and set a new Olympic record. It is hard to knock the winner for using an unorthodox strategy.

XP is an unorthodox strategy for producing great software that delivers high business value on time, without forcing people to give up their lives. When you face resistance from managers and developers, remind them of this. Each group will have their own particular objections, which we'll talk about in the next couple of chapters, but they all want to "win" as they define it. If doing something new and different, like XP, will increase your chances of winning, then that's the smart thing to do. If you can't get people to agree that winning is the goal, it might be time to change jobs. Losing is a hard habit to break.

If you can get everyone to agree that winning is what's important, cast XP with each group as the best way to do that. Focus on the results XP produces that can help managers and developers win as they define it. This not only will focus attention on what's really important, but will also give you a standard to use when evaluating each practice against other options.

Approach every discussion by asking whether doing things the old way will make winning more likely. Make the strongest possible case for the old way. Talk about what it's missing. Then introduce the possibility that using the XP approach might be best, even if it goes against the gut reaction of most people. Finally, work hard to convince people that the best way to prove whether XP produces better results is to try it for a while.

If XP produces better results sooner and with less pain than the old way, it will be tough for managers and developers to say the team should go with the old way, just because it's familiar. If they do, you might want to consider leaving the organization.

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