PSP, XP, TDD and other methodologies for solitary programmers

Brett g Porter BgPorter at
Thu Jan 2 21:49:26 CET 2003

"Brad Clements" <bkc at> wrote in message
news:3e145e67_1 at
> I'm looking for war stories, comments and insight regarding suitable
> development methodologies for "lone wolf" programmers.
> That is, developers who work alone.  I'm also interested in how these
> methods work in the context of Python development.
> For example, I'm considering PSP and would like to hear from others who
> using it, or have tried it. "Real life" stories are useful. I'm somewhat
> annoyed by the SEI (sm) aspect of PSP, so if you haven't been tutored by
> SEI instructor, phrase your statements as "PSP-like".
Here's my experience -- I got authorization for a small pilot project to
test the PSP in our company.  A small group of programmers interested in
learning the PSP was given regular on-the-clock budget hours to read
Humphreys' books (both "Introduction fo the PSP" and "Discipline for
Software Engineering") and we set aside online conferencing facilities to
discuss it and work together.

After a month or so, the initial enthusiasm pretty much completely petered
out (well, any enthusiasm I might have had was converted into hostility by
that point).

The PSP is pretty rigid about what you're expected to do and how you're
expected to do it. Monitoring my LOC output and timing my every motion (and
running regular regression analyses on my performance) is about as contrary
to my way of working as it's possible to get. Also, a little more reading on
Taylorism (dunno if Humphreys was _directly_ influenced by Taylor's
writings, but it's clearly coming from the same place)and its failures
elsewhere makes me a little more than dubious about the claims that the SEI
makes for PSP.

I also note that the few people I've met who claim to use PSP have turned
out to not really use it on a day-to-day basis because of the high overhead
it imposes. I'm also curious that I've never heard anyone who I consider to
be an especially good programmer endorse it (but I keep looking...).

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