What is extreme programming? Origin, Practices, Pros, and Cons

Extreme programming

Are you wondering about an advanced agile method? Then, extreme programming must be a good choice for you.

The use of agile practices is rapidly increasing. And it’s been quite helpful to the industry so far. According to a statistics report published in 2022, 91% of respondents had adopted agile development in 2018. So, the future of agile practices seems promising to the industry.

Under strict rules and guidelines, extreme programming completes work following adaptability and simplicity. In this blog, we’ll explore the uses and challenges of it. So, keep reading till the end.

What is extreme programming?

Extreme programming

Extreme programming, known as XP, is a type of agile approach in software development. It allows developers to improve the quality and responsiveness of software. The development process involves practices such as pair programming, integrations, and customer feedback. It became popular mainly for its flexible nature to adapt to changes in software requirements.

Origin and principles

Kent Back and Ward Cunningham are famous people known for developing XP. Kent Back created XP in the late 1990s. He was working on a project called C3 (Chrysler comprehensive compensation system), and that’s when he developed it. Later, Ward Cunningham also influenced XP to many extent. It is made with the vision to satisfy customers with their constant involvement and iterative development process.

There are some the key principles it follows:

Key principles of extreme programming


It encourages developers to keep their code clean, simple, and straightforward. It only focuses on simple designs and solutions.


It encourages constant communication among team members and consumers. In XP, it’s quite common for developers to work together.


For immediate feedback and response, regular testing and integration are essential. This helps in catching errors and issues in the early stages.


It mainly promotes speed, flexibility, and adaptability. Development cycles allow regular updates and adjustments. These cycles are called iterations or sprints.


XP promotes embracing changes to take risks with courage. Developers get inspired to own their work and make crucial decisions when needed.

Core practices of extreme programming

Pair programming

It refers to the approach where two programmers can work together in real-time. One writes the code, and the other reviews it simultaneously.

TDD (test-driven development)

TDD refers to the method where tests are written first according to requirements, then the code. This ensures that the codes will match the quality and requirements as expected.

Continuous integration

In this, continuous changes are done in a shared repository. This incorporates automated builds and tests that catch issues early.


Here, all existing codes get restructured without changing their external behavior, so the codes’ readable and maintainable quality improves.

Collective ownership

While collaborating, all member gets ownership. So, any of them can make changes to improve the overall quality if necessary.

Pros of extreme programming


One of the best benefits is improving the quality, even in the late stage. It helps the software adapt to the evolving requirements.

Customer satisfaction

It equally involves customer feedback to align with what customers want in the market. That results in the right product in the hands of the right customers.

Quality enhancement

Regular testing and frequent releases are necessary to fix the bugs and issues earlier. With this, you get high-quality software in time.


XP promotes an environment of intense collaboration. It supports team members to work closely to help each other while sharing insights.


The XP approach encourages quick adaption of changes in a simple way. It helps the software projects to enhance with high quality.

Cons of extreme programming

Team adaption

XP brings a sift between the methods and mindset to the team. Some team members might find it challenging to adapt it as they’re familiar with traditional methodologies.

Customer feedback

Customer involvement constantly is a demanding task. Initially, the team finds lots of challenges to convince them to squeeze the time for proper feedback.

Legacy systems integration

Projects that follow legacy system integration may find difficulties in changing to existing structures. Moreover, that should be done well; otherwise, it’ll be hard to fix things later.

Real examples

Real-life examples of extreme programming

Chrysler comprehensive compensation system (C3)

XP became popular because of this project. It helped in building payroll systems for Chrysler. By working on this project, the ability of XP was highlighted. It showed its ability to work in an iterative approach and efficiently deliver complex functions.

Fidelity investments

It also used XP for quality improvement of software. XP helped in getting quick responses to market changes and customer needs. It emphasized collaboration among team members- developers, testers, and customers. They worked together to achieve high-quality software.

CNET Networks

To enhance its news publication development, CNET networks also used XP. It supported them by creating a responsive system to meet online news distribution demands. With the help of simplicity and communication, they managed to do it.


It is a software consultancy firm. It has often used XP to improve its clients’ projects. With the help of continuous integration, pair programming, and TDD, they’ve delivered quality software. They eliminated errors and enforced adaptability in software solutions.


It doesn’t exclusively follow XP. However, it applies certain principles of XP. Google emphasizes that the team works closely so that new features get released regularly. It also encourages the codebase to get tested and refined constantly. This approach helps in getting quick responses and feedback from the market.


Extreme programming is a practice that builds software, including customer feedback and a rigorous development process. It follows a highly structured process with simplicity to get high-quality software. Many examples have shown its great potential. So, considering to adapt it would be a great choice to make.

Need help in getting advice or a solid strategy for developing software? StakkDev Inc. is here to help you. Get services from the software development consultancy team to help you with queries and strategies.


It’s good for projects where changes in requirements often happen. So, XP helps quickly respond to those changes with a flexible and collaborative approach to making the adjustments.
It stands for Extreme Programming in agile software development.
Yes, it’s used by developers who focus on agile methods.
Kent Back created XP in the late 1990s.

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