The Extreme Programming (XP) paradigm has developers doing things like programming in pairs, writing tests to verify all code, and continuously refactoring designs for improved performance. Written by two of its inventors, Planning Extreme Programming shows you how to implement XP by using a simple, effective process. This remarkably short (yet remarkably useful) title will give any XP manager or programmer a perspective on delivering software that meets the needs of customers better.
Simplicity is the watchword of the XP software process. This book is virtually devoid of traditional software-engineering jargon and design diagrams, and yet does a good job of laying the foundation of how to perform XP--which is all about working with a customer to deliver features incrementally.
The terminology in the book is commonsensical. (In the terms of XP, each iteration adds certain new features, or stories. It's up to the customer to decide what functionality is more important and will be delivered first. By never letting a working build get out of sight, the XP process virtually ensures that software will be close to what the customer wants.)
Early chapters borrow analogies from everyday experience--like planning a trip or driving a car--to set the stage for XP process planning. The book has plenty of advice for dealing with the stakeholders (customers) of a project. Because of confidentiality agreements, however, we don't get many details from the real world, although the discussion is anchored by a hypothetical project for planning the Web site of the future for travel, with some specifics.
There is plenty of advice for planning projects, based on individual and team "velocity" (a measure of productivity) and the like--practical suggestions for running daily, short status meetings (in which all of the participants stand up, to keep them short). Clearly, there's a culture that surrounds many XP teams, and this text does a good job of conveying some of this to the reader.
At fewer than 150 pages, Planning Extreme Programming is notably concise, and that's probably the whole point. Most shops today work on Internet time, which doesn't wait for extensive project analysis and design documents. In XP, you create working software from the very start. This book is an essential guide to anyone who's working in XP shops or who might be interested in what this innovative, iterative software process can offer. --Richard Dragan