XP and Scrum Methodologies: When To Use Them


Software development methodologies have become essential for development teams for a reason: they organize the process and help in getting the best possible outcomes.

Yet, they aren't all alike. Different projects call for different methodologies to get the best results, which is why you need to know when to use them.

In this article we’ll focus on XP and Scrum methodologies, explaining what types of projects would benefit from using them.

Extreme Programming (XP) Software Development Methodology

XP is about creating frequent software solutions and releases by fulfilling each of the client’s requirements. The magical thing about XP is that it breaks complex project pieces into smaller ones so the team can run efficiently in a very short development cycle.

From the developers’ perspective, this is a software methodology designed to test your core being. Whatever you do, DO NOT use this methodology with small teams that can't keep up with the rapid client request and constant testing.

Extreme Programming methodology is like the final boss of the software development world.

If you conquer it, every other methodology is a walk in the park.

What makes Extreme Programming a different methodology compared to others is its use of pair programming. Sure, that doubles the cost, but the XP methodology isn't for small, low-budget projects.

Since you have more people at the workstation, you can swiftly adapt to dynamically changing demands and requests.

Having more people at the keyboard is one part of the equation, but the second more crucial one is never-ending customer involvement.

Note to project managers: Efficiency is the driving force of the Extreme Programming methodology. If your team doesn’t have it, don't use it.

Dealing with the XP method is like running in thick fog. You don't know where you're going and where it ends. The only thing you know is you're testing the code non-stop, while clients' DMs overflow your inbox. 

Extreme Programming software development methodology - TL; DR

Here's a recap of when you should use the Extreme Programming development methodology:

  • When you have long, complex projects with a highly-experienced development team
  • When you don't know what the future results are, but that's why client involvement is 24/7
  • When you need a high level of flexibility with pair programming to pull out stable solutions
  • Don't use it if your budget can't allow more human resources.
  • Don't use it when you can't achieve efficiency with your team.
  • Don't use it if you don't have access to test automation, constant integration (CI), test-driven development, etc.

Scrum software development methodology

Compared to XP, Scrum is the complete opposite. Instead of running an endurance marathon, you're dealing with short, weekly sprints.

Scrum development method has three key personas without the whole thing falling apart:

  • Product owner - a middleman between the client and the development team
  • Scrum master - the facilitator and enforcer of Scrum onto the team
  • Development team leader - a person that carries the whole team on their back and stops it from falling

The scrum master is also the protector and the gatekeeper of the team. They block any tasks and could’ves from getting through, no matter how useful they might be.

Like Spiral and Extreme, Scrum methodology also contains stages. They are:

  1. Planing
  2. Designing
  3. Developing
  4. Testing
  5. Deploying working increment

And that's all done within two weeks or even faster, depending on the project.

Note to project managers: If your team isn't used to working in a fast-paced environment, but rather likes to code at their own pace, don't use this methodology.

The truth with the Scrum method is that it's so attractive to many lead devs and project managers, but with every Agile flavor, the documentation flies out of the window.

Scrum software development methodology - TL; DR

Here's a recap of when you should use the Scrum development methodology:

  • Use it when you're running a small to a mid-size, fast-paced project.
  • Use it if your dev team has previously used Scrum or is familiar with the methodology.
  • Use it when you want to be super-efficient, yet running on a small budget.
  • Don't use it if the whole team can’t commit to Scrum.
  • Don't use it if you already know the requirements and business needs.
  • Don't use it if your team isn't used to having daily review meetings, but rather likes to work in its own way.

I hope this article will help you decide between using XP and Scrum for your next project. Don’t forget to make sure your team is on board and able to carry it out, as you’ll need everybody to be on the same page for it to work.

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