What is Extreme Programming and its importance for team’s productivity

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As agile methodologies are a real deal for many enterprises, there are some which are simply good to make your teamwork grow in a short time.

And of them is Extreme Programming (XP), a tool that has its own values and rules and is helpful to every company which needs to increase productivity. Similar to other agile methods, Extreme Programming also offers small iterative releases at frequent intervals throughout a project’s lifecycle.

The programming methodology aims to increase the efficiency of development teams, which makes room for them to accomplish their tasks in shorter periods, without negatively affecting the quality of the project.

In this article, you will learn what is Extreme Programming and its benefits to increase productivity in any team. You can perform better using the best GitScrum features, including User Stories, Gantt Chart, Task Checklist, and many others with a lifetime special deal you will ever find!

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What is Extreme Programming?

One of the most popular of the agile movement, Extreme Programming is the most appropriate software development methodology for the industry, because it produces quality improvements and a high level of adaptability.

Software engineering XP provides more agility for accelerated environments. They are no longer consistent with traditional project management approaches, such as the cascade or predictive method, which provides for a long period of execution and only one delivery Final.

Using this methodology enables developers to provide more customer satisfaction because it allows for more confident responses to changing requirements and scope, even when the product is at the end of its cycle.

The main goal of XP is to take a set of practices that are said to be good in software engineering to the extreme. Among them we can mention the test, since looking for defects is a waste of time, we have to constantly test

In the market, where software can be considered a real competitive advantage, customers are increasingly demanding about cost, quality, and timeframe in which the project will be delivered.

In this scenario, thanks to its advantages and characteristics, this methodology can be seen as a valuable tool.

When to use Extreme Programming?
It is important to emphasize, however, that XP tends to present its qualities more effectively when applied under the following conditions:

  • in small teams, with less than 12 participants;
  • in research projects where the incidence of change is high;
  • when there is some time risk related to the implementation of new technology;
  • when the project makes room for automated functionality and unit tests to be performed;
  • when the project is subject to dynamic modifications related to software requirements.

Extreme Programming was created in 1996 by software engineer Kent Beck when the emergence of the internet in the early 1990s promoted a need for changes in software development, which previously had a much longer lifecycle.

XP works with simple rules, but they operate very effectively, making managers, customers, and developers all partners, forming a highly productive and self-organized team.

XP Principles​​

Extreme Programming has a set of principles and values, where principles tend to be more concrete than values. The set of values ​​serve as a criterion that guides the people involved in software development, in addition to complementing each other. The principles are:

1) Simplicity
To ensure the efficiency of each stage of the project, its processes must be simple and easy to understand by the person responsible for its execution. Therefore, XP breaks the main objective into small goals that can be accomplished by the team.

2) Communication
When information is not properly shared between people, the risk of a concept being misunderstood is very high. Furthermore, delays in exchanging information can cause activities to be carried out incorrectly for long periods, which tends to delay the project.

To avoid situations like these, Extreme Programming establishes that meetings must be held daily by team members. In this way, critical points can be addressed before they become more serious problems.

3) Courage
The development team must have the courage to point out this fact and explain to the client that, given the new reality, the completion of the project tends to take a little longer.

While this attitude appears to be simple, it allows development personnel to devote the necessary time to solve the problem. This reduces the pressure they are under and allows them to work more efficiently.

4) Feedback
Since the software is developed for a specific customer, it is necessary to ensure that it meets their expectations. For this reason, the project must be presented to the client frequently so that he can give feedback on the quality and possible changes.

5) Respect
For the other values ​​to be applied, respect must be always present. After all, without it, the relationship between the people who participate in the development team, and even between the team and the client, will not be without friction.

This type of situation, in addition to jeopardizing project deadlines and quality, can even lead to legal problems. Therefore, respect is essential at all stages of Extreme Programming.

XP Practices

In addition to these values, there is a set of principles that must be followed by teams that will use XP on projects, being quick feedback, assuming simplicity, embracing change, high-quality work, small steps, improvement, diversity, reflection.

Practices are the main core of the process. They highlight the values ​​that will help us succeed in the project.

1) Present customer
The customer must actively participate in the development process. Everything needs customer communication. He should receive the best possible result each week, see progress in the system, be informed of changes in plans, etc. Listen, so you know what the problem is to be solved.

2) Planning
Development is done in iterations. An iteration is a short period of time (1 or 2 weeks) where the team develops a set of features. So at the beginning of the week, developers and customers get together to prioritize features.

This meeting is called a planning game and the stories must already be created in it. If a story is very large, it should be broken down into tasks with a maximum duration of a few days.

3) Stand-Up Meeting
These are stand-up meetings and are of short duration, but very productive so that the team remains aligned. This is important to know what each one is doing exactly, where the project is, and if anyone is having problems executing your tasks. Even if a problem arises, this meeting is not intended to think of solutions.

4) Pair programming
As it is only one computer, the software is always reviewed by two people, thus reducing the possibility of failure. The evolution of the team is always sought, improving the quality of the source code. It is one of XP’s primary practices, as two programmers doing the work together add a lot to the teamwork.

5) Constant tests
Test-Driven Development (TDD) is used,  firstly, to create the unit tests and then create the code to make the test work, this approach is complex at first, but unit tests are essential for the quality of the project to be maintained.

6) Refactoring
It is a process that allows continuous improvement of the programming, the minimum introduction of errors, and maintaining compatibility with the existing code. Refactoring improves clarity, code readability, and eases maintenance. In addition, the code is more cohesive and you have a better use, avoiding duplication in the source code.

The Challenges of Extreme Programming

There are also factors to be considered negatively in this methodology. For the project to succeed, it is necessary to ensure a good and mature team so that the issues are properly discussed.

Another challenge is it requires more time from the client. This is for him to meet with the team and give his feedback on the software under development. Furthermore, there is the issue of a possible loss of productivity with the adoption of pair programming.

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