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This chapter is from the book

Q&A

  1. Reading about project runaways and failures seems to imply that tighter project management with more control would reduce risk. Is this the case?

  1. More aware project management is always a good thing, and you can draw the conclusion that control is a key to success. The problem with this is that control only works when you know exactly what is required and how to solve it. The mindset is that we never know exactly where the development path will take us. With this in mind we need a more flexible—not more rigid—approach. Not that XP is formless or uncontrolled, the business control is placed firmly back with the customer, and developers are left to use automated, smart ways of doing their work. In that sense, XP is more controlled (in a software-engineering sense) than a Waterfall approach.

  1. What are some good resources for further study on quality, project management, and risk?

  1. Quantitative Software Management (http://www.qsm.com) has some excellent studies on software metrics. Software Testing Quality and Engineering (http://www.stqemagazine.com) is probably the most accessible journal covering these issues. For general project-management topics try http://www.gantthead.com. InformIT has a broad ranging library of software engineering articles at http://www.informit.com.

  1. Surely allowing the scope to change would result in scope-creep and projects running wild?

  1. The key word is change; the scope can be altered, but the amount of work the team can do remains the same. This means that if the customer wants to add some new functionality, they can, but they have to remove another feature of similar effort. This assumes the team size remains the same; it is possible that more resources can increase the team's throughput. This kind of thinking can be a slippery slope. There is a real limit to how your team can grow and yet maintain output.

  1. Will XP solve all the project risks and challenges covered in this hour?

  1. Using all XP practices together can either mitigate or eliminate all the risks we've covered in this hour. It's not a silver bullet; personnel issues, contractual problems, and technical problems can still derail your project. But with XP you're quickly getting working software into the hands of the customer; this gives you a huge advantage over other non-Agile methodologies.

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