Responsible Development a la Kent Beck

Five years ago, I had the pleasure of attending Kent Beck’s keynote address at RailsConf 2008. It was him, sitting on a stool, telling stories about his involvement in developing the ideas of developers writing tests, patterns, and Extreme Programming. Really good stuff.

About two-thirds of the way through the talk he said “I think if you start with the principles of responsibility, accountability, and transparency, you end up with practices that look very much like XP’s but with a completely different set of motivations.” He called this Responsible Development. It resonated deeply with me.

That idea and his essay “Accountability in Software Development” have shaped the way I approach software development ever since. They have become the bar by which I measure how I conduct myself as a software developer.

If you have not read that essay–or have not read it recently–I highly encourage you to do so now. It is worthy of your time. You, too, as the essay explains, may find that you can sleep when the wind blows.

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