Experience Exchanges XP2001

Name, Affiliation & Address

Dr Rick Mugridge
Department of Computer Science
University of Auckland
Private Bag 92019
New Zealand

Phone & Fax

Phone: 649 373 7599 x8914
Fax: 649 367 7151


I'm running a (full year) software engineering project course at second year (with others). The last third of the course is on XP, which starts some weeks after XP2001. I'm keen to clarify the best approach to getting the (60) students going well on XP. They have met PSP.

Problem: A group of programmers are learning XP

Consider when a group of inexperienced programmers (maybe students) are applying XP for the first time, under the guidance of one somewhat experienced XPer.

The programmers need to start using the techniques, but can easily swamp the experienced person with questions. They may make poor design decisions which have to be altered.

I assume that the idea is to start with a very simple problem, but which is big enough to have several people working on it at once. But it's probably better to start them off in pairs before they have to deal with others on the project.

Problem: Range of skills

Consider when people of different skills are working together on an XP project, and especially when one person is more experienced than the rest. When a pair with lesser skills inserts new code or carries out a refactoring, the result may be unpleasant for others on the project. Those others may then feel compelled to upgrade the altered code.

How can this be done in a positive way so that all learn? There may be insufficient time for inexperienced people to pair regularly with all the experienced people. Maybe short design/code meetings would serve better?