Extreme Programming Practice

Slack XP

Slack is a type of Agile practice in Extreme programming (XP). Slack is essential in planning for a successful sprint that yields consistent and high-quality results.

Slack assists in delivering consistent sprint commitments and high-quality software. Slack is used alongside other Agile practices and is vital for reducing waste and establishing trust in a team’s ability to deliver.

Since the world is always full of surprises, slack, that is buffers, are vital to protecting critical deadlines such that a project can proceed smoothly. A project runs smoothly when separate buffers are created for tasks rather than overestimating each task.

Any kind of a task that can be postponed instantly is a slack practice. Some XP tasks that can be categorized as slack include:

  • Adding tests to a legacy code
  • Paying off a technical debt such as improving a build system
  • Architectural refactoring
  • Improvements to testing strategies such as a mocking a database
  • Energized work at a sustainable pace

Such slack tasks build the capacity of a team to deliver. They all assist a team to work more efficiently and effectively. If a team works without practicing slack for multiple iterations in a row, there can be lasting damage.

Therefore, slack is essential for meeting deadlines and commitments. It is a practice that establishes a reputation for timely deliveries and establishing trust with the team involved in a project.

How to Practice Slack

Slack works by following the practices of refactoring and new design throughout the sprint. The resulting speed in the sprint is then checked. This speed is applied in future sprints such that time for refactoring and functional design is factored in.

Although slack tends to be non-intuitive at first, this practice assists the team to be faster in the long run. For instance, refactoring assists in paying down any technical debt. If such liability is not paid down continuously, the code design may deteriorate, and the software will end up being brittle, that is hard to alter. The resulting effect is that the team slows down. However, paying constant attention to the design through refactoring makes the code easier to change, and this increases the speed of the team to deliver.

Integration in the sprint

By integrating these practices in the sprint, you get some room for emergencies, that is some slack. In the event of emergencies, some refactoring can be put off to meet the goal of the sprint. In case you find that you’re consistently putting off the much need refactoring, then it means you lack enough slack.

Beat technical dept

By varying the time spent on paying the technical debt, iterations will always be consistent. Slack offers this assurance and yields high-quality codes with a good design and allows the team to move faster.