What Is Extreme Programming? Definition and Overview

Max 5min read
extreme programming

What Is Extreme Programming?

Extreme Programming Definition

Extreme programming or XP comes under the category of agile methodologies and is a software development methodology. The basis of extreme programming is on the values, practices, and principles. The main goal of extreme programming is to help small and medium-sized teams of programmers to produce software high in quality and smoothly adapt to ever-changing requirements.

Extreme programming is an agile software development approach. 

The main focus of XP is on improving the quality of life of the development team by producing high-quality software that meets the user’s expectations

It incorporates precise engineering practices for the development process.

When To Use Extreme Programming? 

To begin with, any software development company with projects in hand can use extreme programming. Although one thing to keep in mind before they start using extreme programming is they must understand the basics of XP and the key principles. 

Once the company is aware of the principles and other necessary information about XP, it can start building a team of developers. Remember that the extreme programming teams are small in size, mainly comprising 2-12 people. 

Smal teams for complex projects are much better to handle as well. There are two benefits to having small teams:

  • Communication is easier. And as we know, all agile methodologies work better with communication
  • A brainstorming session is quick

The other time you can use the method of extreme programming is when your project has a strict time limitation. Your workflow will be less efficient and slower if there is no time limit. 

One of the best extreme programming advantages is speed. The other extreme programming roles apply to the systems having features with no constant functionality. 

What Are the Key Aspects of Extreme Programming?


  • User stories written from the customer’s point of view are essential.  They can be simple, without technical language, and short with about 2-3 sentences. 
  • You should make a release schedule along with the layout of the overall project, which can help plan the releases and the work accordingly. 
  • For effective customer feedback, teams must conduct small yet frequent releases. 
  • You can divide the project into loops planned before a particular sprint to incorporate them when the work starts. 


  • Allot a dedicated and open workspace to the team. 
  • Start each day with a stand-up meeting.
  • There needs to be a sustainable pace of delivery.
  • You should measure the speed of work constantly.
  • ‘Collective Code Ownership’ should be implemented where businesses train staff across different disciplines and constantly rotate to avoid exclusivity. 


  • Designs must be simple and aesthetically pleasing.
  • While designing, you can use the CRC cards. 
  • Avoid unnecessary functions.
  • Chance and update the design as per requirements. 


  • Customers and clients should be accessible for constant feedback.
  • Follow the agreed standards while writing code. 
  • You should use test-driven approach. 
  • You must utilize the source control.


  • Teams must conduct unit tests on all codes.
  • The written codes must pass all the tests before being processed further. 
  • You should create a test around them and resolve the issue whenever you find bugs.

What Are the Practices of Extreme Programming?

Extreme programming practices are the rules and methods that set it apart from other methods. When you combine these extreme programming rules, the development risks get mitigated, resulting in a high-quality return.

Extreme programming or XP has 12 practices that you must use when developing any software. To simplify, you can cluster them into four groups. 


Pair Programming

This extreme programming practice requires two programmers to work. While one focuses on writing, the other suggests improvement, reviews codes, and fixes mistakes. 

The Planning Game

Before every iteration cycle, a meeting teams conduct a meeting called the planning game in extreme programming. Here the customer and the development team approve the features of the product. 

Test-Driven Development

The extreme programming team practices TDD or test-driven development which helps them write an automated unit test before coding. This process helps them write clear code since it gives them immediate feedback. 

On-site Customer

One of the essential extreme programming rules is that the ned customer must be present at the development site. They can resolve disputes, answer questions and set specific priorities.  

Code Understanding

Collective code ownership

As the name of this extreme programming practice suggests, it is the entire team’s responsibility to design a system. 

Coding standards

The development team must have the common coding practices, same formats, and styles for writing the code. 

Simple design

What wins for any software is its simplest design. Your design must check all the below boxes; only then can you consider it a simple design. 

  • It must have no duplicate code
  • Pass all the tests
  • Must contain few classes and methods

System metaphor

A simple design with a set of qualities is a system metaphor. Developers must name their products in such a way that it is understandable.

Continual Process

Code refactoring

Extreme programming uses code refactoring to deliver business value in the form of well-designed software. The technique of code refactoring helps in improving code. 

Continuous integration

Extreme programming has its basis in continuous delivery, committing code multiple times in a day. Here programmers discuss the sharing and reusing of codes. Therefore integration problems get eliminated. 

Small releases

This extreme programming practice points out that teams must release MVP quickly while developing products. 

Pro tip: To develop products, use product management software like Chisel. 

Work Conditions

The workweek of 40 hour

To prevent burnout and be efficient, work faster while keeping the quality of the product intact requires rest. Therefore work hours in extreme programming cannot exceed 45 hours per week. 

What Are Real Life Examples of Extreme Programming?

One of the most famous extreme programming real life examples is Google’s search engine.

Amazon developed Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the wake of extreme programming. They used this methodology to build the infrastructure for their cloud computing services, making it possible to scale up quickly.

Airbnb is another real life example of an organization that uses extreme programming to build its business. They use this methodology to deliver high-quality products and services at scale.

Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Microsoft are all real-life examples of extreme programming and have successfully used them to grow their businesses.

Companies like Facebook and Amazon have adopted this approach, and the results they have seen speak for themselves.

Extreme Programming vs. Agile Development

If you know about agile, you must also know that there is possibly no difference between extreme programming and agile development. 

Extreme programming is an agile framework. 

Extreme programming is a set of practices that follows agile principles and values. On the one hand, extreme programming is a discrete method, whereas agile development is a classification.

Extreme programming is one of the several agile methods. However, you cannot compare the scope and broadness of extreme programming to any other agile methods.

Extreme programming is the only method that provides profound ways for developers to do their work among the agile methods. Test-driven development is one of the best extreme programming practices so far.


Who invented the Extreme programming framework?

The Extreme programming framework was invented by Kent Beck in the year 1996 while working on his project Chrysler Comprehensive Compensation System.

What are the four values of Extreme Programming?

Initially, in 1999, only four values were recognized by extreme programming. These extreme programming values are simplicity, communication, feedback, and courage. 

However, in the second edition of extreme programming explained, they added a new value: Respect. 

What are the rules of Extreme Programming?

The extreme programming rules are in five boxes planning, coding, managing, designing, and testing. 

We have spoken about these rules in the key aspects of extreme programming.

To simplify, we will list the top rules from each category.

  • User stories are essential
  • The customer must always be available for feedback
  • Teams must get an open workspace
  • Designing must be simple
  • You must include unit tests  in all codes

Crafting great product requires great tools. Try Chisel today, it's free forever.