Kent Beck

Kent is one half of WardAndKent. He is an ENTJ.

Kent's responsible for or a major contributor to HillsideGroup, SmalltalkBestPracticePatterns, SoftwarePatterns, HotDraw, FirstClassSoftware, the TimeTravel patterns, the xUnit family of TestingFrameworks and ExtremeProgramming.

Here's his bio with photo from the repository:

After two years of Swiss adventure, we are in Oregon as of 1 October 1999 (KentInMerlin). I work for FirstClassSoftware and ThreeRiversInstitute sitting on an AeronChair, coaching teams applying ExtremeProgramming. My family and I are living the life of Rural Techugees. You can write us at P.O. Box 128, Merlin, OR 97532 USA. Email still goes to

Recent projects include:

I enjoy re-applying facilitation patterns like PolarizingQuestion, ObliqueQuestion, and DichotomyList.

KentBeckPapers is an annotated bibliography of my papers. I often write 4-6 pages as a thought tool.

I perform various forms of American folk music, including CowboyMusic, which has lead me to think about WhyCowboys?

I have a new favorite author: MrBunny

I'm experimenting with a new project metric, SoftwareInProcess.

And on August 02, 2004 Kent has become a Software Fellow with Agitar (see ManfredLange
Kent is an excellent teacher. He is patient and knows how to lead people to understanding. Patterns are about conveying knowledge, this is also known as teaching. Therefore, Kent is good at writing patterns and teaching.

Kent is the author of the Object Explorer. The product is no longer available.

I "revived" the ObjectExplorer?. It can be found at That version is for VisualWorks 5i, but I also have a version for VW 3.x. The code is available under the ParcPlace Public License. -- Peter Hatch

I met Kent at OOPSLA 97 in Atlanta. He and ErichGamma did a tutorial called "AdvancedDesignWithPatternsAndJava?". Great job! They left me with the impression that they were seriously considering collaborating on a new book on Patterns and Java. I wonder what is the status of the JavaAndPatternsBook??

Re: XP books. Boy am I stupid. When I finally got my head out long enough for two or more oxygen molecules to reach my brain at the same time, I realized that the ExtremeWay to write a book series is to write the first book covering the most important stories, and then later on write some more books if necessary. Please contribute to the XpBookStories.
I just got back from the SecondVancouverOopsla?. I am on the verge of winning the MirandaPrize. I am also still in the throes of the FooteEffect. Here are my thoughts about MacreadysTalk.
Kent, big compliments on DrivingMetaphor. I think this is the most accessible description of WuWei I've ever seen. -- PeterMerel
I'm interested in ServletTesting.
Kent, regarding your comment that "all methodologies are based on fear". Would I be way off if I were to guess your fear was the ChangeCostCurve? -- BenAveling

No, my fears are more about not spending enough time with my kids, growing away from my wife, and dying young of heart trouble like my grandfather. The ChangeCostCurve I know how to handle.

Have you ever thought of visiting a therapist?

Therapists are good for helping people get in touch with feelings they're avoiding. But Kent doesn't mind sharing his fears -- it's disarming and effective at opening up communication. I don't know why that would indicate therapy. Kent's openness has challenged me and helped me see more ways to build professional relationships (thank you, Kent!). So, gentle poster, have you ever considered sharing your fears? Do you know what they are? -- RyanPlatte

(newcomer comments transferred to AnOoMagicBullet and WikiPublicWall?)

Recent books I've enjoyed:

Happy Birthday Kent. My colleagues tell me that I'm officially a VeryOldPerson because I'm over 40. When asked what it was like to be another year older my 70 year old grandfather replied; "It's better than the alternative!" Experienced any SoftwareAgeism recently? -- PaulObrien
What was the SwissAdventure? like?
KentBeck is one of the authors of PlanningExtremeProgramming and is the author of the earlier book ExtremeProgrammingExplainedEmbraceChange.

I had previously worked with Martin using XP and now am stuck back in one of the old process environments. This is really showing me the true value of XP. -- JohnHarby
This sounds like fun. Though this may not be the right page to start editing as a first time user, I thought it better to start somewhere than not to at all. Thanks Kent for giving this opportunity. -- KramsRamasubramanian?

WardCunningham is our GraciousHost, but you're welcome to scribble here. Someone will refactor it if necessary. -- Kent

Q: Where can I find a more or less complete biography for KentBeck? A: has as much information as is pulled together

This is really fabulous. Thanks for giving young timers some oxygen. I work in a consultancy where the new rage among management consultants is collaboration, community, loose coupling etc etc. I wonder if any of them had ever noticed this and whether we are ever going to get a book on Xtreme pioneers and their stories - maybe a book on Xtreme personality patterns. - DebjaniRoy?

I've been asked to write a HarvardBusinessReview? article, so perhaps the general business world is waking up. As far as a vanity book, none such is planned by anyone sensible. How would it help you ?

Question: do you know if some of the XP books are going to get translated soon into French? If not, which organization should one contact first in order to propose a translation work: Addison Welsey, a French publisher, both?

ExtremeProgrammingExplained is being translated to French for publication in late 2002. (I'm getting lots of interesting mail about it.)

I'm told: Pour des informations en franšais sur XP: -- KeithRay (I don't speak/read French)

Hey, Kent, did the code discussed over at MirandaPrize ever get evaluated by those four Smalltalkers? -- FrancisHwang I'm curious about this too. --JimLittle
Kent, I was browsing through BookPool and found a link mentioning the not yet published "Contributing to Eclipse: Principles, Patterns, and Plugins." Would you care plug it/whet my appetite a little? --anon

Whatever came of the concepts as described here? Has nobody heard of Permaprogramming? Related to PermaCulture

Reading books by Beck makes me think one of us hasn't a scrap of common sense. But I can't tell who. --PhlIp

Kent, I noticed that you're an ENTJ and began to wonder how one might capitalize on available MBTI in attempts to build hypereffective XP teams. Are you (or is anyone else) aware of empirical or anecdotal data which might suggest patterns for building highly compatible XP teams? At the very least, the creation of a set of unbiased type-centric patterns (or anti-patterns) could be established and shared which might offer insight in how extra "extremeness" can be wrung from a team composed of highly compatible players. Any thoughts on the relevance of such an idea or if it even makes sense in the context of human factors when applied to agile methods? -Bill Craun

Kent, please make the text from the "The Metaphor Metaphor" presentation available (OOPSLA 2002). The discussion of the use of the war metaphor in our attempts to fight terrorism as opposed to a disease model are important and timely -- Watson Crick

Kent, the page BorrowingTrouble says that your grandmother cautioned you against borrowing trouble. Perhaps you could explain the what this means on that page. -Mark Carter 15-Aug-2004

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