Related link: http://www.ddj.com/articles/2004/0405/
Matt Stephens and Doug Rosenberg (co-authors of eXtreme Programming Refactored: The Case Against XP) wrote “The Irony of Extreme Programming” for the latest Dr. Dobbs Journal (which you can also get online with a membership).
They point out some of the things that I have thought for a while: eXtreme Programming (XP) has a lot of nice ideas, and it mitigates some problems, but it is neither a religion or a cure-all. In fact, it can create some problems of its own if not used well.
I like that they step back from the hype to look at some of the problems. I think the programming world (or maybe just the world, unqualified) tends to get too caught up in using a particular process or technique, even if common sense says something else. I have often told those close to me that if they cannot criticize their favorite thing, they do not know it well enough.
They quote an email one of their readers sent them:
The pair programming is mind numbing. With this XP stuff, software development is no longer a professional occupation, it’s just another type of assembly line work.
Different people have different ideas about that, and as I write this from Detroit, home of the Henry Ford Museum, I wonder if those great innovations I learned in elementary school, like division of labor and the assembly, caused the same reaction. I would certainly expect that demoting a master craftsman to the assembly line would cause some problems, so why do some shops insist on doing that to senior developers just so they can say they practice XP?