Specialisation in Software Development

Nov 30th, 2002 by Tony in Questioning XP

One very interesting aspect of XP is its lack of specialisation among the developers. Indeed, XP actively encourages a level of cross-training that is unheard of in most other approaches. This can be very useful because it lessens the risk that progress will be slowed as a result of having to wait for one key individual to perform a task.

XP is a good counterexample to the idea that role specialisation is useful in software development. Although there are strong arguments in favour of specialisation for mechanical tasks, the arguments for efficiency through specialisation are inconclusive for intellectual tasks. By making the programmers responsible for doing their own design, XP avoids the inefficiencies and miscommunications that can arise when design ideas are passed from a designer to an implementer.

— Pete McBreen, Questioning Extreme Programming, Chapter 10

No Comments