Empirical study on extreme programming
The focus of this research is on the human side of an agile methodology because most of the other research on methodologies tends to focus on the technical aspect. The context for this research is the Software Engineering Observatory at the University of Sheffield, a research facility, which is run by the Verification and Testing (VT) research group. The objective of this observatory is two- fold: firstly, it is to create an environment for the training and development of skills that are associated with the successful construction of a software solution with a real commercial client, and secondly, it is for the carrying out of research work that would be impossible to do in the real software industry. The observatory allows empirical researchers to observe, question or interview software developers working on real industrial projects. The general relevance of this research lies in the ability to evaluate the effectiveness of an agile methodology by first, identifying the difficult practices in the XP methodology and the reasons for the difficulties, with the intention to improve the methodology. Cognitive theory indicates that for a new approach to be accepted easily, it must conform to the ways the brain accepts information, stimulates the mind, and thus motivates the developers. The research demonstrates qualitatively and quantitatively the effect of this improvement on the software developers. Comparison studies between the Extreme Programming (an agile methodology) with the Discovery Method (a design-led methodology) were conducted to evaluate the effect of the XP methodology in term of the work related well being, the work group cohesion, the positive affectivity and finally the quality of the software. To achieve generalisability for some findings, data was collected from an XP team in IBM, Hursley, United Kingdom.