What are you thoughts? Have I got the general idea behind CE right?
Pretty much. ALthough, some CE/CD systems run continious test simulations during design so that the final project is known viable before a final build starts.
I WOuld Say CE cuts 1000% off the design and planning time while producing a higher quality product. And it cuts down on problems during building bacause many have already been addressed. Also, in the CE/CD I am familier with, anyone (and I mean anyone) involved can make changes at anytime and get a near real time assesment of the eventual outcome to a project on all aspects.
For example, lets say I want to land a rocket vertically because its too big to land it on cheap airbags (Ala MER mission). So I make the change - five minutes later I notice the budget has actually increased. I look and find the reason why. One might think its fuel - or engineering and testing costs - but actually its programming costs.
I call programming - and I say "Hey - whats with programming costs on my mod?" They say - well, - we can land it cheap if you wanna go dumb - but precision landing cost$$$." "Land it dumb', I say. I save 3million in programming and 10 mil on not having to design a bigger airbag system.
Its a five minute job. One that used to take days or weeks. Its modular, but all personel are in constant contact - and are always allowed to listen in.
Applied to programming I envision the same type of thing - modularity. Only you get to see how someone elses changes might effect your own - and in fact, you can test concurrently.
I imagine XP produces that same huge spread sheets the CE/CD does. But really, if you are involved they are very understand able.
Further, (maybe like XP) there is a "feel" to the beast. It pulses - things seem laud and unproductive. Then for about 5 minutes the chatter stops and, if you have a master screen to look at, little pices of the flowchart start to change at once. A timeline appears, a table appears with possible conflicts or missing data flashing. They slowly stop flashing. The room starts chattering again and it starts over.
I had though XP was similar.