Skip to main content

An Ethnographic Study of XP Practice

Abstract

Agile methods are a response to more rigorous and traditional approaches to software development which are perceived to have failed both customers and software development practitioners. eXtreme Programming (XP) is an example agile method and we report on an ethnographic study of XP practice carried out in a small company developing web-based intelligent advertisements. We identify five characterizing themes within XP practice and summarize these findings in terms of XP culture.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  • Beck, K. 2000. eXtreme Programming Explained: embrace change. San Francisco: Addison-Wesley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beynon-Davies, P., Tudhope, D., and Mackay, H. 1999. Information systems prototyping in practice. Journal of Information Technology 14: 107–120.

    Google Scholar 

  • Boehm, B. 2002. Get ready for agile methods, with care. IEEE Computer 35: 64–69.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brown, J. S., Collins, A., and Duguid, P. 1989. Situated cognition and the culture of learning. Educational Researcher 18: 32–42.

    Google Scholar 

  • Button, G., and Sharrock, W. 1996. Project work: The organization of collaborative design and development in software engineering. CSCW 5: 369–386.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cockburn, A. 2000. Balancing lightness with sufficiency. Cutter IT Journal 13: 26–33.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cockburn, A. 2001. Agile Software Development. Reading, Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Davis, H. 2001. The social management of computing artefacts in nursing work: An ethnographic account. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

  • DeMarco, T., and Boehm, B. 2002. The Agile methods fray. IEEE Computer 35: 90–92.

    Google Scholar 

  • Fielding, N. 2001. Ethnography. In N. Gilbert (ed.), Researching Social Life. London: Sage, pp. 145–163.

    Google Scholar 

  • Geertz, C. 1973. The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Geertz, C. 2000. Available Light: Anthropological Reflections on Philosophical Topics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hammersley, M., and Atkinson, P. 1983. tEthnography, Principles in Practice. London: Tavistock.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heath, C., and Luff, P. 1992. Collaboration and control: Crisis management and multimedia technology in London underground line control rooms. Proceedings of CSCW'92, pp. 69–94.

  • Highsmith, J. 2002. Agile Software Development Ecosystems. San Francisco: Addison-Wesley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Livingston, E. 1982. An ethnomethodological investigation of the foundations of mathematics. PhD thesis, University of California at Los Angeles.

  • Low, J., and Woolgar, S. 1993. Managing the socio-technical divide: Some aspects of the discursive structure of information systems development. In P. Quintas (ed.), Social Dimensions of Systems Engineering: People, Processes, Policies and Software Development. Chichester: Ellis Horwood.

    Google Scholar 

  • Low, J., Johnson, J., Hall, P. A. V., Hovenden, F. M., Rachel, J., Robinson, H. M., and Woolgar, S. 1996. Read this and change the way you feel about software engineering. Information and Software Technology 38: 77–87.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pinch, T. J., and Bijker, W. E. 1984. The social construction of facts and artefacts: Or how the sociology of science and the sociology of technology might benefit each other. Social Studies of Science 14: 399–441.

    Google Scholar 

  • Robinson, H. M. 1996. (Re)presenting the p-word: Paradigmatic discourse on programming languages. In M. Woodman (ed.), London: Programming Language Choice. International Thomson Computer Press, pp. 333–344.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schön, D. A. 1983. The Reflective Practitioner. London: Temple Smith.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sharp, H., and Robinson, H. M. 2002. Object technology: Community and culture. OOPSLA '02 Companion, Seattle: ACM Press, pp. 92–93.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sharp, H., Robinson, H. M., and Woodman, M. 2000. Software engineering: Community and culture. IEEE Software 17: 40–47.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sharp, H., Woodman, M., Hovenden, F., and Robinson, H. M. 1999. The role of ''culture'' in successful software process improvement. Proc. IEEE Euromicro '99, Milan, pp. 170–176, September.

  • Sim, S. E. 1999. Evaluating the evidence: Lessons from ethnography. Proceedings of the Workshop on Empirical Studies of Software Maintenance. Oxford, England, pp. 66–70.

  • Sim, S. E., and Holt, R. C. 1998. The ramp-up problem in software projects: A case study of how software immigrants naturalize. 20th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) Proceedings. Kyoto, Japan, pp. 361–370.

  • Singer, J., Lethbridge, T., Vinson, N., and Anquetil, N. 1997. An examination of software engineering work practices. Center for Advanced Studies Conference (CASCON), Toronto, Ontario, pp. 1–15, November.

  • Wenger, E. 1998. Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning and Identity. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Woolgar, S. 1988. Science: The Very Idea. London: Tavistock.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Sharp, H., Robinson, H. An Ethnographic Study of XP Practice. Empirical Software Engineering 9, 353–375 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:EMSE.0000039884.79385.54

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1023/B:EMSE.0000039884.79385.54

  • XP culture
  • XP community
  • XP team
  • agile development
  • ethnographic studies
  • field studies