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Tue, 04 Nov 2003

This is an archived blog post. I've switched to using WordPress as my blogging software and have not migrated all my old posts. I believe strongly in not letting an old link die, so this page continues to work. Please do visit mikemason.ca/blog to read newer posts.

Walking The Path

Extreme programming advocates a number of practices, including unit testing, pair programming, and daily standup meetings. Before starting on an Agile project, I’d read the white book and thought I believed it. It all sounded great, like something I already knew that I was rediscovering. Since working for ThoughtWorks, I’ve experienced this stuff first hand. Test-first programming, pairing, red/green/refactor. Something I recently realised is that when I step away from these practices, when we skip our daily standup, when I write code without a unit test to guide me, when I fail to grab a partner for pairing, I know I’m doing something wrong. I get a nasty sinking feeling and I know I’m going to get myself into trouble.

Sometimes it takes a moment to realise why I’m feeling that way. Years of writing the code first, then exercising it manually, have meant it’s easy to slip back into the bad old ways. I took a walk around the office this afternoon and realised I should have written a bunch of tests before doing anything else. I went back to my desk, wrote the tests, got my green bar, and felt happy. I just need to remember that I know this is how it works. There really is a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.

Posted 15:24, 04 Nov 2003.  

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