Reading this book is like having the best mentor you can desire sitting at your side desk.
Kent Beck explains clearly his thoughts and experiences and how he made up his mind to find out better ways to deliver value.
He does not present himself as the perfect teacher reporting his bright series of successes as a proof of his perfect theory.
Instead he is our senior colleague sitting next to us and telling us about his failures and his desire to improve. The desire to improve his and our way of delivering value but also to do it in such a way that our society could get better, at least a little bit.
He tells us about what he tried and when it worked. But he also tells us about his weaknesses of today and of yesterday.
While reading this book you cannot do anything else than believe him and want to try and to be part of his call for change.
The incipit of the first chapter is:
“Extreme Programming (XP) is about social change”
and this should be enough to let you understand what the book is about.
If you want some anticipation about the content I can tell you that Kent illustrates clearly
the three pillars on which Xp is based: Values, Principles and Practices.
We’re used to be presented with frameworks and phylosophy via the description of one or all of this 3 components but usually noone explains what this components represent.
Kent explains us about Principles being what bridges the gap between abstract Values and mere Practices.
An example he uses is how
the Value –> Communication could lead to written documents or daily conversations but
the Principle –> Humanity suggests that daily conversations better suit the human nature
this finds a good context in Practices like: ‘Sit together‘ and ‘Real Customer Involvment‘.
In the book you will find the details of all the practices he suggests and of all the values and principles that originated them.
You can then find the practices that best fit your environment if you need more.
I attach here a mindmap of the book. It cannot replace reading the book but I hope it can help as a reminder after having read it.
You can find it in image format as well as in the main mindmap formats.