Extreme programming is a set of simple and concrete practices than combine into an agile development process.
- Whole Team - Cutomers, managers and developers work closely with one another. So they are all aware of one another's problem and are collaborating to solve the problem. The customers can be a group of BAs, QAs or marketing persons in the same company as developers. The customers can be the paying customer. But in an XP project, the customer, however defined, is the member of and available to the team.
- User Stories - In order to plan a project, we must know something about the requirement, but we don't need to know very much. We need to know only enough about a requirement to estimate it. You may think that in order to estimate the requirement, you need to know all the details. That's not quite true. You have to know that there are details and you have to know roughly the kinds of details, but you don't have to know the sepecifics. Since the sepecific details of the requirements are likely to change with time, especially once the customers begin to see the system together. So when talking about requirements with the customer, we write some key words on a card to remind us of the conversation. A user story is memonic token of an ongoing conversation about a requirement. Every user story should have an estimation.
- Short Cycles - An XP project delivers working software every iteration - one or two weeks. At the end of each iteration, the sytem is demonstrated to the customer or the stakeholder in order to get their feedbacks. Every release there is a major delivery that can be put into production.
The Planning Game - The customers decide how important a feature is and the developers decide how much effort the feature will cost to implement. So the customers will select a collection of stories based on the priority and the previous iterations' velocity.
The Iteration Plan - Once an iteration has been started, the business agrees not to change the definition or priority of the stories in that iteration. The order of the stories within the iteration is a technical decision. The developers may work on the stories serially or concurrently. It depends but it's a technical decision.
The Release Plan - A release is usually three months. Similarly, the business or customer selecte collections of user stories and determines the priority based on their buget. But release are not cast in stone. The business can change or reorder at any time. They can write new stories, cancel stroies or change the priority. However, the business should not to change an interation that has been started.
Acceptance Tests - The detail about the user stories are captured in the form of acceptance tests specified by the customer. The acceptance tests are written by BAs and QAs immediately before or concurrently with the implementation of that story. They are written in a scripting form that allow them to be run automatically and repeatlly. These tests should be easy to read and understand for customers and business people. These tests become the true requirement document of the project. Once the acceptance test passes, it will be added the body of passing acceptance tests and is never allowed to fail. So the system is migrated from one working state to another.
Pair Programming - One memeber of each pair drives the keyboard and types the code. The other member of the pair watches the code being typed, finding errors and improvements.
The roles change frequently. If the driver gets tired or stuck, the pair grabs the keyboard and starts to drive. The keybord will move back and forth between them serval times in one hour. The resulting code is designed and authored by both memebers.
Pair memebership changes frequently. A reasonable goal is to change pair partner at least once per day. They should have worked on about everything that was going on in this iteration. Also it is very good for knowledge transfer.
Collective Ownership - A pair has right to check out any module and imporve it. No particular pair or developer are individually responsible for one particular module. Every developer of the project has fully responsible for each line of the code. So don't complain about the code may be written by the other pair. Let's try to improve it. Since it is our code.
Open Workspace - The team works together at one table or in one room. Each pair is within earshot of every other pair. Each has the opportunity to hear when another pair is in trouble. Each konws the state of the other. The sound in this room is a buzz of conversation. One might think that this would be a noise and distracting envrionment. But study suggested, working in a "war room" envrionment may increase productivity.
Simple Design - An XP team makes its designs as simple and expressive as they can be. Furthermore, the team narrows its focus to consider only the stories that are planned for the current iteration, not worrying about stories to come. The team migrates the design of the system from iteration to iteration to be the best design for the stories that the system currently implements.
- consider the simplest thing that could possibly work. - XP teams always try to find the simplest possible design option fot the current batch of stories.
- You aren't going to need it. - That means an XP team introduces one technology or one infrastructure before it is strictly needed. Yeah, but we know we are going to need that database one day. We are going to have to support multiple threads one day. So don't we need to put the hooks in for those things? The team puts the technology or infrastucture in only if it has proof or at least very compelling evidence. that putting it in now will be more cost-effective than waiting.
- Once and only once. XPers don't tolerate duplication of code. Wherever they find it. they remove it. The best way to remove redundancy is to create abstractions. After all, if two things are similar, some abstraction can be from them.