Mike Harris

Elsevier Ltd

It’s XP Stupid!

We’re all doing Agile nowadays, aren’t we? We’ll all delivering software in an Agile way. But what does that mean? Does it mean sprints and stand-ups? Kanban even? But what about Extreme Programming? If as a development team we’re not using pair programming, test driven development, continuous integration, and other XP practices, then we’re not really doing Agile software development and we may be on a march to frustration, or even failure.

I’m going to look at why the current trend of companies and projects adopting Scrum, calling themselves Agile, but not transitioning their development to XP, is a recipe for disaster. I’d like to cover the main practices of XP as well as other good practices that can really help a team deliver quality software, whether they’re doing two-week sprints, Kanban, or even Waterfall.


Mike works as Software Engineering Lead for Elsevier in Oxford working on the SSRN Open Science Publishing Platform. Since graduating in 1993, he has worked principally as a software engineer but also has experience of general IT management. He has been an avid fan of using Agile, XP and Lean methodologies for software engineering for the last seven years or so. He has also worked with free software since the early nineties and is a strong advocate of the free software movement (although his MacBook is his current weakness).

His programming experience is with a multitude of languages, including BASIC, Java, C, C++, Ada, OCCAM, Pascal, Python, Perl, PHP, Javascript, and he has more recently got interested in both COBOL and Kotlin!

In addition to software development, Mike has also been involved in planning, producing and providing technical and sound facilities for many live events, including BarnCamp, a weekend of free software and alternative technology workshops held deep in the Welsh Borders. Being from Somerset, he is also an avid fan of West Country cider, and believes that the cider from Somerset is the best. Mike is also an avid camp-fire musician and can be regularly found jamming on guitar, guitarlele, or bouzouki.


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