eXtreme Programming Versus Scrum

extreme programming versus scrumSo you’ve had enough of failed projects. You like the sound of agile development as an alternative. You buy into the key principles and you’re ready to take the plunge.

Which methodology should you go for?

I don’t have any official stats on which agile methodologies are most widely used, but there certainly seems to be much more of a buzz about eXtreme Programming and Scrum, at least on a global basis.

So which is right for you, eXtreme Programming (XP) or Scrum?

I’ve heard people ask this question. I’ve heard people talk about them as though they are mutually exclusive choices. But really they are not.

eXtreme Programming and Scrum are so different they are not really comparable.

They share the same underlying values described in the agile manifesto, and the same underlying principles that characterise ‘agile’. They overlap in areas, but fundamentally they address completely different aspects of agile software development.

Scrum is an agile management methodology. Whereas XP is an agile engineering methodology. As such they are entirely complementary.

If your motivation for agile is wanting more visibility, better business engagement, team collaboration, a clear process for prioritisation, etc – Scrum is for you.

In both cases you will benefit from a more incremental, iterative approach to development.

In my experience, Scrum is the more likely starting point when the adoption of agile is driven by management. XP is the more likely starting point when the adoption of agile is driven by developers.

In my view? Ideally you would do both. Or at least elements of both. And you would start with the one that addresses the issues causing you to adopt agile in the first place.


Photo by i-plus

15 Responses to “eXtreme Programming Versus Scrum”

  1. axe says:


    but how we can do good agile only with agile management without agile engineering?

    It’s seems dubiously :(

  2. Kelly Waters says:

    Hi Axe

    In my post, I suggested that ideally you need to do both, because they address different aspects of software development, i.e. Scrum for management, XP for engineering.

    It is possible to achieve acceptable product quality without XP, although XP I believe would raise the quality.

    Therefore, if quality is not an problem area, you can achieve very good benefits from Scrum (i.e. agile management) or other agile management methods. XP, whilst very good, is optional and not a pre-requisite for good agile performance.


  3. axe says:

    Oh, sorry, my previous comment wasn’t enough applicable :(

    You are right.

  4. Franck says:

    We could also ask the opposite question: “how we can do good agile only with agile engineering without agile management ?” ;o)

  5. Anonymous says:

    Your article is very hard to read with the ubiquitous use of bold, underlines and blue-but-it-isn’t-a-link.
    At a glance, it looks more like a tag cloud than a blog post.
    I diddn’t bother reading i for that reason, so I cannot comment on the contents of the article.

  6. Kelly Waters says:

    Thanks to Anonymous for the feedback above.

    I started doing the bold thing a while back, in order to make it quicker for people to skim read my entries and still get the key points. Perhaps I have over-done it.

    I would be grateful for any other feedback on this, so I can make my blog better for everyone going forward.

    Does it help or does it hinder?


  7. Dantelope says:

    I have read two blog entries now and both invited the same reaction sequence:

    1) “Whaaa?” — Your titles/intros are often the inverse of what you are trying to say and serve to incite. While that may make for “exciting reading” to you, it infuriates your readers (me at least).

    2) “Ohhhh” — It comes out that you are trying to say something other than what your title/intro suggests.

    3) “I agree” — I typically agree with your main argument. Especially in this post. XP vs. Scrum is moronic comparison by people who haven’t bothered to understand what either is before they try to compare them.

    4) “That sucked” — Because of the shortness of your articles, the ubiquitous and annoying use of bold/blue (not a link… very troubling), and the inverted argument, I am left both times feeling negative about the article even though I agreed with it.

    So in response to “Does it help or does it hinder?” — it definitely hinders, but it’s not the only thing holding you back.

    LOVE the content, but HATE the format.

  8. Kelly Waters says:

    Thanks to Dantelope for the feedback. Despite the criticism, I’m really pleased to hear it and it will help me to improve my blog.

    More please :-)

    Many thanks


  9. Anonymous says:

    I like the highlighting. :)

  10. Anonymous says:

    Bold helps stress the points and I like that.

  11. DatNt says:

    I like the way you apply Bold to the font in the document. Very useful.


  12. Jude says:

    Scrum + XP is a good combination. I am looking at adopting it for my company. How does scrum address product release process. I see it as more focussed toward delivery rather than on release and maintenance

  13. Anonymous says:

    i think its dumb that people commented on the formatting structure.. frankly who cares its the information that counts ..

    u really broke up the meaning of the words in simple terms for me, I found it easier to comprehend the meaning behind both methods

  14. isak.swahn says:

    The boldness works fine with me – it gives a sense of the writer "speaking" directly to me, putting her emphasis on the words that are important, just like an inspiring lecturer would do.

    The taste is different, and it's not possible to accommodate everyone. The first person who complained said he didn't even read the article, so I guess he went on to find a different article on the subject. This means he didn't suffer from this style either. :-)

  15. wic says:

    I don't think it is fair to say that XP is more an engineering practice than Scrum. Scrum is more like a subset of XP, which means that XP contains at least the same amount of project management practices as Scrum. More info here:


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