Get Extreme (Part 1)

Extreme Programming, or XP, is a software development approach built on the premise that, when done right, the cost of changing software is constant. In other words, implementing a feature today will not be cheaper then implementing it in the next release. It's therefore not critical (nor realistic) that your team designs the perfect system in its first iteration.

Kent Beck, the creator of XP, introduced the process as a collection of 12 fundamental practices. Few of these practices are new, but collectively, they reinforce each other and allow you to deliver systems on time, according to specs, within budget and, more importantly, maintain a constant cost of change.

The rest of this article briefly explains these 12 fundamental practices.

Practice #1: Make the Customer Available

For XP to be successful, the customer must be available. And by available, I don't mean that you can e-mail or play phone tag with him and get an answer within the next few days. This customer must be on-site and accessible to everyone on the XP team. When developers have a business related question and need a face-to-face meeting to get an answer, they must be able to do so in minutes, not days.

The customer's main responsibility is to write user stories and later prioritize the features. The technical team can suggest areas of improvements and even write user stories themselves if they…

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"Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers."

- Voltaire

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