Tue, 31 Jan 2006
The Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference is one of my favorite conferences. I think it usually runs about 200 people, so it's small enough to meet people. As a regional conference always in the same place (Portland, OR, USA), there's a continuity of attendees that allows some papers to be less introductory than in other conferences.
They tell me:
Deadline is March 31.
The idea of essays is one of those oddities that have made OOPSLA so interesting and productive over the years. You should submit. By March 18.
I'm tired of having to write "Customers (product owners, business experts, etc.)" when talking about the particular project role XP calls "customer" (or "Customer," in a largely fruitless effort to short-circuit the association with someone buying something in a store).
We don't have this problem with "programmer" or "tester", so what's up with that other role? Maybe it's that its name is not based on a verb. It's kind of clear what the central activity of a programmer or tester is—to program or to test—but what is it that a Customer does? Customate? A product owner presumably owns, but "to own" is a pretty passive concept.
Maybe things would be clearer if (a) the noun we used for the Customer role was linked to a verb, and (b) that verb had something to do with the central activity of a Customer (product owner, etc.).
And what is that central activity? I think it's to determine the value of a particular proposed change. The verb that comes to my mind is "appraise." So the role would be named Appraiser. Here's a definition:
1: one who estimates officially the worth or value or quality of things
I like the word "officially," which hints at the making of a final judgment. I also like "authenticity" and "validity." They have connotations of determining whether something is real or not. In software, the Appraiser determines whether something that could become real should become real.
The only active-verb-based alternative in semi-common use is Goal Donor. I think it's inferior to Appraiser because it's about what that role does from the perspective of a programmer. From the perspective of the business, the judging of value is more important than the giving of goals.
Therefore, unless I get a better suggestion by February 15, 2006, on that date all references to "Customer" in XP books or "Product Owner" in Scrum books will retroactively change to "Appraiser," in exactly the same way that "test-driven" became "example-driven" in late 2003.