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The 'Edge of Chaos': CMM, XP, and the Concept of Maturity
Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 12:00pm to Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 1:00pm

This seminar will be given by Brent Capps, Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering at OGI Oregon Health and Sciences University.

The ongoing war of words between partisans of the Software Engineering Institute and the Agile Programming movement conceals a hidden fault line running deep beneath the surface of the software development community. This dispute isn't just about SPI best practices, for the SEI (Software Engineering Institute) and Agile Programming camps hardly even speak the same language. The CMM (Capability Maturity Model) hammers home the need to establish control over the development process, while XP (Extreme Programming) argues just as forcefully for the need to nurture programming's creative side. Midsized software companies are ambivalent: while each framework seems to have its merits, neither manages to definitively clinch the argument. Smaller firms find it difficult to scale down the CMM to their environment, while larger firms find it impossible to manage XP.

The CMM and XP would seem to represent diametrically opposed viewpoints. Or do they?

In this talk Brent Capps will offer a complex systems perspective on the CMM/XP dispute. The 'Edge of Chaos' is an idea from systems theory which has found practical application in many fields. Brent will apply the 'Edge of Chaos' concept to SPI to explain how the CMM/XP dialogue may be understood as a balance between entropy and constraint. Despite its abstract-sounding premise, this talk will offer many surprisingly practical applications of the 'Edge of Chaos' concept.