What do Software Engineering Projects Consider Important?

Nov 22nd, 2002 by Tony in Questioning XP

Initially it was thought that the reason why projects were experiencing trouble was that the programming part wasn’t being done properly. This gave rise to the era of structured programming, which soon led to the realization that the implementation activities were not the real cause of project failures. Attention then shifted upstream, and a variety of approaches were created that sought to rectify problems in the design activities.

Jackson Structured Design is just one example of this kind of approach that demonstrated that the design activities were not the main cause of the problem either. Shortly afterward, we got some structured analysis or structured analysis and design approaches that demonstrated it wasn’t really an analysis problem either. Shortly after that, depending on how you read history, attention shifted to either the project management aspects of projects or to an integrated, whole life cycle approach to software development.

One remarkable thing about this interpretation of history is that, in all of it, testing never really showed up as an area on which to focus much attention. This is interesting from the viewpoint of the agile methodologies, which place a lot of emphasis on testing. And it is especially interesting from the viewpoint of Extreme Programming, which places a massive emphasis on testing and testability.

— Pete McBreen, Questioning Extreme Programming, Chapter 4

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