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Scrum vs Extreme Programming | What Are The Major Differences?

Agile software development is all about incrementally delivering quality software to businesses. Today, we are reviewing two agile methodologies: Scrum and Extreme Programming. Both of them build on top of certain principles and provide clear guidelines to product development.

What is the Scrum Methodology?

Scrum has a simple and circular process with two constant elements of inspection and adaptation.

  • Creating and maintaining ruthless order to-do lists, known as product backlogs.
  • Element refers to prioritizing items dedicated to different steps in short time periods.

A Scrum team consists of a product owner, scrum master and development team. The role of the product owner is to translate the customer’s goals back to the team.

A Scrum master is the facilitator for a team clearing obstacles and ensuring good working relationships.

The team works on the development and testing of every high priority item through seven steps:
  • Requirements formulation
  • UI/ UX design
  • Development
  • Full testing
  • Integration
  • Documentation
  • Approval.
Projects are tangibly built, increment by increment. These tangible increments are then showcased to stakeholders for feedback. The new requirements generated by their feedback are placed in the product backlog and prioritized according to existing tasks, this is called the Scrum cycle.

To ensure on-going communication, there are daily scrums, which is a 15 minute daily internal meeting.

Next, a sprint planning meeting is used to plan the work that needs to be performed during the sprint. A sprint review meeting is done at the end of the sprint to assess the achievements during the sprint and what should be done in the next sprint.
Projects are tangibly built, increment by increment. These tangible increments are then showcased to stakeholders for feedback. The new requirements generated by their feedback are placed in the product backlog and prioritized according to existing tasks, this is called the Scrum cycle.

To ensure on-going communication, there are daily scrums, which is a 15 minute daily internal meeting.

Next, a sprint planning meeting is used to plan the work that needs to be performed during the sprint. A sprint review meeting is done at the end of the sprint to assess the achievements during the sprint and what should be done in the next sprint.
Scrum can be used on any complex project, it specifically benefits the projects with cross-functional teams, without constant interruptions from everyday business activities. That requires a quick feedback loop that uses stakeholders feedback to prioritize tasks for the next sprint.

What is Extreme Programming (XP)?

Extreme Programming is a lightweight, efficient, flexible way to develop software. It derives its name from taking elements of traditional software engineering practices to extreme levels. XP is based on a specific planning approach, on-site customer and continuous testing. Extreme programming takes traditional principles to extreme levels through a number of practices.

The XP practices include:

  • Simple design
  • Pair programming: is the practice of having two people simultaneously working together on all production code
  • Constant testing
  • On-going integration: is the practice of integrating the system several times per day, every time a task is completed by a developer. Integration in XP is supported by tests like unit testing and functional testing.
  • Refactoring: is the practice of restructuring a program or implementing a feature without changing the behavior of the system.
  • Coding standards
  • Small releases.

XP projects have three phases:

  • Release planning phase. The customer writes stories based on requirements. The programmers estimate them and the customer chooses the order in which stories will be developed
  • Iteration phase. The customer writes tests and answers questions while the developers develop software according to the stories. The iteration phase provides ready to go software
  • Release phase. The programmers install the software and the customer approves the result.

XP works best for small to mid-sized teams developing software working in the midst of vague or fast-changing requirements.

What do XP and Scrum have in common?

Both Scrum and Extreme programming divide the development process into sprints. Have a planning meeting before the development starts and pinpoint user stories during such meetings. They also both imply having a planning meeting before each sprint as well, their goals are similar.

What is the difference between Scrum and XP?

  • The main difference is their primary focus. Scrum is heavily focused on management itself. It deals with the activity done besides coding, as it does not give much technical and engineering emphasis on how work is actually done or how a product is actually built. On the other hand, Extreme programming concentrates programming and coding and the test driven approach.
  • Sprints are a bit different too. Scrum sprints last for two to four weeks and their length is quite flexible. Under XP, however, there are shorter iterations of one, sometimes two weeks to develop a working system.
  • The aim of an XP sprint is not focused on product release but on creating a working bug-free system. In turn, Scrum sprints are supposed to result in a working product.
  • XP is more flexible when it comes to changes, unlike in Scrum, changes can be made by the customer during the sprint itself.
  • When it comes to prioritizing tasks, in Scrum, developers determine the order of their actions themselves. In XP, teams follow strict orders according to priority and requirement.
The two frameworks discussed, Scrum and XP both focus on delivering a high quality product to the customer as fast as possible.
There is no universally best framework suitable for all cases, each of them has its pros, cons and use cases. If you don’t know how to settle on just one framework, what you can do is combine Scrum and XP.

If you don’t know where to start, contact EZtek and we will help you implement your idea into life. We provide consulting, software development and design service to top businesses and enterprises.
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