eXtreme Programming In A Nutshell

eXtreme Programming was developed in the late 1990s by Ken Beck, Ron Jeffries, and Ward Cunningham. During this time, the trio was working on the Chrysler Comprehensive Compensation System (C3) to help manage the company payroll system. eXtreme Programming (XP) is a software development methodology. It is designed to improve software quality and the ability of software to adapt to changing customer needs.

Concept OvervieweXtreme Programming (XP) is an agile software development methodology that emphasizes customer collaboration, flexibility, and high-quality code. It aims to improve the software development process by fostering rapid iterations, continuous testing, and close cooperation among team members.
Key ElementsKey elements of eXtreme Programming include:
1. Customer Collaboration: Actively involving customers throughout the development process.
2. Continuous Feedback: Frequent testing and feedback loops for code improvement.
3. Iterative Development: Building software in small, incremental steps.
4. Pair Programming: Two developers working together on the same code.
5. Test-Driven Development (TDD): Writing tests before writing code.
6. Simplicity: Striving for minimalistic, clean, and maintainable code.
7. Refactoring: Regularly improving code quality without changing its functionality.
8. Collective Ownership: Team members share responsibility for the codebase.
9. Continuous Integration: Frequent integration of code changes into a shared repository.
10. On-Site Customer: Having a customer representative available to answer questions and make decisions.
Customer CollaborationXP encourages close collaboration between development teams and customers to ensure that software aligns with user needs and expectations. Customers actively participate in defining requirements, prioritizing features, and providing feedback throughout the development cycle.
Continuous FeedbackFrequent testing and feedback loops are integral to XP. Developers write unit tests before coding and regularly execute these tests to identify defects early. Continuous feedback enables rapid adjustments, reducing the likelihood of issues persisting into later stages of development.
Iterative DevelopmentXP promotes iterative development, where software is built incrementally in small, manageable pieces. Each iteration adds new functionality or addresses specific user stories. This approach allows for flexibility and adaptation to changing requirements or customer feedback.
Pair ProgrammingIn XP, developers work in pairs, with two programmers collaborating on the same code simultaneously. Pair programming enhances code quality, fosters knowledge sharing, and reduces the likelihood of errors, as each developer reviews and verifies the other’s work.
Test-Driven Development (TDD)TDD is a fundamental practice in XP. Developers write automated tests before implementing code changes. These tests serve as a benchmark for expected functionality and help ensure that software meets requirements and functions correctly throughout the development process.
SimplicitySimplicity is a core value in XP, emphasizing straightforward, clean, and maintainable code. Developers prioritize simplicity to reduce complexity and make software more comprehensible, testable, and adaptable to changing needs.
RefactoringXP promotes regular code refactoring, which involves improving code quality without altering its functionality. Refactoring aims to enhance readability, maintainability, and performance while reducing the risk of software degradation over time.
Collective OwnershipIn XP, the entire development team shares ownership of the codebase. Team members can modify and enhance any part of the code, promoting a sense of collective responsibility for the software’s quality, stability, and ongoing improvement.
Continuous IntegrationContinuous integration involves frequently integrating code changes into a shared repository, followed by automated build and test processes. This practice ensures that code changes do not disrupt the overall system and helps detect integration issues early.
On-Site CustomerXP encourages having an on-site customer representative who is readily available to provide clarification, make decisions, and answer questions related to the project. This direct communication streamlines the development process and reduces delays caused by uncertainties.
ApplicationseXtreme Programming is applied in various software development projects, including web applications, mobile apps, and system software. It is particularly beneficial for projects with evolving requirements, where flexibility, rapid adaptation, and customer involvement are essential.
Benefits– Enhanced collaboration between developers and customers.- Improved code quality through continuous testing and feedback.- Greater adaptability to changing requirements.- Faster delivery of working software in short iterations.- Reduced defects and improved maintainability.
Drawbacks– Pair programming may not suit all developers’ preferences.- Some organizations may find XP practices challenging to implement initially.- Continuous refactoring requires ongoing effort and time.- Maintaining a balance between simplicity and functionality can be complex.- On-site customer availability may be impractical for remote teams.
Examples1. Developing a web-based e-commerce platform using XP practices, with frequent customer feedback and iterative releases.2. Creating a mobile app with TDD, ensuring consistent functionality across different devices.3. Employing pair programming in a software consultancy to enhance code quality and knowledge sharing.4. Continuous integration in a software startup to streamline development workflows and catch integration issues early.
AnalysiseXtreme Programming’s strengths lie in its customer-centric approach, rapid development cycles, and emphasis on code quality. While it offers numerous benefits, its success depends on team cohesion and a willingness to embrace agile principles. Careful implementation and adaptation to specific project needs are essential for reaping the full rewards of XP.

Understanding eXtreme Programming

In 1999, they published the book Extreme Programming Explained about their collective experience at Daimler Chrysler and described their methods in detail.

From their experiences, XP was born.

Extreme Programming is like many other agile methods, but in an interview, Beck explained what makes XP unique:

The first time I was asked to lead a team, I asked them to do a little bit of the things I thought were sensible, like testing and reviews. The second time there was a lot more on the line. I asked the team to crank up all the knobs to 10 on the things I thought were essential and leave out everything else.” 

Indeed, XP promotes frequent, iterative releases throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC).

But the main difference between XP and similar methods, as Beck notes, is that it takes software engineering to “extreme” levels.

Code reviews are one such example. In XP, pair programming should be subject to peer reviews 100% of the time.

XP also focuses on short iterations and release cycles. This helps businesses reduce the likelihood of misalignment with customer needs caused by unnecessary product features. 

When should eXtreme Programming be used?

XP is best suited to businesses that can incorporate a high degree of customer collaboration and continuous development.

Having said that, XP can also work well for teams that:

  • Expect system functionality to change periodically, such as every few months.
  • Have tight deadlines and want to mitigate risk.
  • Have a small number of programmers who contribute to code and suggest fixes, etc. By using pair programming and frequently rotating programmers through the team, XP facilities communication and collaboration.
  • Deal with customers who constantly change project requirements because of uncertainty around what they want the system to achieve. In this case, teams can use class-responsibility-collaboration (CRC) cards that allow them to design a system and see how each object interacts. 

The five fundamental values of eXtreme Programming

Early incarnations of eXtreme Programming established five fundamental values that are now common to many subsequent frameworks such as Scrum.

The five values are:


To maximize value, the project team will do what is needed – but no more.

Product development should be broken down into small, value-adding steps that identify and then mitigate errors as they occur.

Streamlined communication

Teams work together on every facet of a project and participate in daily face-to-face meetings so that every member is abreast of the latest developments.

Individuals are encouraged to raise any concerns which should be addressed swiftly.

Consistent, constructive feedback

eXtreme Programming teams adapt their processes to the needs of the project and the customer.

The software should be demonstrated early on so that feedback can guide necessary improvements.


Each team member should give and receive respect.

This can be facilitated by ensuring that everyone feels they are making a positive contribution – no matter how trivial or insignificant.

Developers should respect the expertise and knowledge of customers, and vice versa.

Respect also means that management let project teams work with autonomy and responsibility without becoming dictatorial.


This can be difficult because it often necessitates that hard decisions be made.

Courage also involves telling the truth about progress, particularly when progress has not met expectations.

To that end, no excuses for failure are ever made.

eXtreme programming Vs. Scrum

Scrum is a methodology co-created by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland for effective team collaboration on complex products. Scrum was primarily thought for software development projects to deliver new software capability every 2-4 weeks. It is a sub-group of agile also used in project management to improve startups’ productivity.

Scrum is a broader methodology and toolbox, which can also comprise eXtreme programming as one of the tools within that toolbox.

eXtreme programming Vs. Agile

Agile started as a lightweight development method compared to heavyweight software development, which is the core paradigm of the previous decades of software development. By 2001 the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was born as a set of principles that defined the new paradigm for software development as a continuous iteration. This would also influence the way of doing business.

eXtreme programming is a sort of agile methodology as, like in agile, it supports frequent releases in very short cycles by focusing on simplicity, streamlined communication, consistent feedback, respect, and courage.

Yet, compared to agile in general, where there is a loop and a small layer between the development teams and customers, intermediate by product managers, which cross the bridge between developers and customers.

In eXtreme programming, the customer is part of the loop, and there are – in theory – no layers between the development team and customers, which are active participants n these short development cycles.

eXtreme programming Vs. Kanban

Kanban is a lean manufacturing framework first developed by Toyota in the late 1940s. The Kanban framework is a means of visualizing work as it moves through identifying potential bottlenecks. It does that through a just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing process to optimize engineering processes, speed up manufacturing products, and improve the go-to-market strategy.

Whereas Kanban, as adapted in software development, does not necessarily follow an interactive cycle, eXtreme programming, similarly to other agile methodologies and Scrum, does follow an iterative cycle.


  • Pair Programming:
    • Description: Pair programming is a core practice in XP where two programmers work together at the same computer, with one typing (the driver) and the other reviewing and suggesting improvements (the navigator).
    • Challenges: Some developers may initially find it challenging to work closely with another person, and it may be perceived as less productive.
    • How to Overcome: Provide training and guidance on effective pair programming techniques. Highlight the benefits of instant feedback and knowledge sharing.
    • Example: At Pivotal Labs, a software consultancy, pair programming is a standard practice to ensure code quality and collaboration.
  • Frequent Releases:
    • Description: XP encourages releasing functional software in short iterations, often as frequently as every few weeks, to gather user feedback and adapt to changing requirements.
    • Challenges: Rapid release cycles can be demanding, and ensuring each release is stable can be a challenge.
    • How to Overcome: Implement continuous integration and automated testing to maintain code quality. Use feature flags to control which features are active in each release.
    • Example: Facebook releases new features and updates multiple times a week, allowing them to gather user feedback and make quick improvements.
  • Test-Driven Development (TDD):
    • Description: TDD is a practice where developers write tests for a piece of functionality before writing the actual code, ensuring that the code meets the expected criteria.
    • Challenges: Developers may resist writing tests first, and it can be time-consuming initially.
    • How to Overcome: Educate developers about the benefits of TDD, such as reduced debugging time and improved code quality.
    • Example: Red Hat, a provider of open-source solutions, uses TDD extensively to maintain the quality of their software products.
  • Customer Collaboration:
    • Description: XP promotes close collaboration with customers throughout the development process to understand and prioritize their needs.
    • Challenges: Ensuring continuous customer involvement can be difficult, especially in large organizations.
    • How to Overcome: Establish regular meetings with customers, use user stories and personas to understand their requirements, and maintain open channels of communication.
    • Example: Spotify regularly collaborates with users to gather feedback on its music streaming app, leading to continuous improvements.
  • Refactoring:
    • Description: XP encourages developers to continuously refactor their code, making improvements without changing its external behavior.
    • Challenges: Some teams may resist refactoring due to concerns about introducing new bugs.
    • How to Overcome: Emphasize the importance of code quality and provide time for refactoring in each iteration.
    • Example: GitHub, a platform for version control and collaboration, frequently refactors its codebase to maintain code quality and performance.
  • Collective Code Ownership:
    • Description: In XP, the entire team is responsible for the codebase, and any team member can make changes to any part of the code.
    • Challenges: It may require clear guidelines to ensure that code changes are reviewed and tested properly.
    • How to Overcome: Implement code reviews, pair programming, and automated testing to maintain code quality and consistency.
    • Example: Valve Corporation, a game development company, practices collective code ownership to encourage innovation and collaboration among its developers.

Case Studies

  • New Product Development:
    • Description: A business is developing a new software product and wants to ensure it meets customer needs.
    • Application of XP:
      • Implement frequent releases to gather user feedback.
      • Practice pair programming to enhance code quality and innovation.
      • Use test-driven development (TDD) to ensure product reliability.
    • Outcome: The company releases a minimum viable product (MVP) quickly, receives user feedback, and iteratively improves the product, resulting in higher customer satisfaction.
  • Project Management:
    • Description: A project management team is working on a complex project with evolving requirements.
    • Application of XP:
      • Embrace adaptive planning to accommodate changing project needs.
      • Maintain open communication channels with stakeholders.
      • Use consistent, constructive feedback to adjust project processes.
    • Outcome: The project team adapts to changing requirements, delivers on time, and maintains a high level of stakeholder satisfaction.
  • Customer Support:
    • Description: A customer support department aims to enhance its responsiveness to customer inquiries.
    • Application of XP:
      • Implement streamlined communication with regular team meetings.
      • Encourage respect for both customers and support team members.
      • Continuously seek feedback from customers to improve support processes.
    • Outcome: Customer support becomes more efficient, response times improve, and customer satisfaction increases.
  • Marketing Campaigns:
    • Description: A marketing team is launching a series of digital marketing campaigns.
    • Application of XP:
      • Break down marketing tasks into small, manageable steps.
      • Use A/B testing to gather data and adapt campaign strategies.
      • Promote a culture of courage to experiment with new marketing approaches.
    • Outcome: The marketing team achieves higher conversion rates by regularly testing and optimizing campaign elements.
  • Human Resources (HR):
    • Description: An HR department wants to streamline its recruitment process.
    • Application of XP:
      • Implement pair interviewing, where two HR representatives assess candidates.
      • Use a continuous feedback loop to adjust recruitment strategies.
      • Encourage a culture of respect for both candidates and HR staff.
    • Outcome: The HR department reduces hiring time, selects better-suited candidates, and improves the candidate experience.
  • Supply Chain Management:
    • Description: A manufacturing company aims to optimize its supply chain operations.
    • Application of XP:
      • Establish regular communication channels with suppliers.
      • Collect and analyze feedback from both internal and external stakeholders.
      • Encourage a culture of simplicity in supply chain processes.
    • Outcome: The company reduces lead times, minimizes inventory costs, and enhances supplier relationships.
  • Financial Planning:
    • Description: A financial planning team is tasked with creating investment strategies.
    • Application of XP:
      • Implement a collaborative approach to investment decision-making.
      • Continuously gather market data and adjust investment portfolios.
      • Encourage a culture of courage to make informed financial decisions.
    • Outcome: The financial planning team achieves better investment returns and adapts to changing market conditions effectively.

Key takeaways

  • eXtreme Programming is an agile methodology that supports frequent releases in very short cycles. This allows developers to adapt to changing customer requirements without sacrificing quality.
  • eXtreme Programming is best suited to smaller project teams who can continuously engage with customers to a high degree.
  • eXtreme Programming is based on five fundamental values: simplicity, streamlined communication, consistent feedback, respect, and courage. Many of these values have been adopted for use in subsequent agile methodologies.

Key Highlights

  • Introduction to eXtreme Programming (XP):
    • Developed by Ken Beck, Ron Jeffries, and Ward Cunningham in the late 1990s.
    • Focuses on improving software quality and adaptability to changing customer needs.
    • XP promotes frequent, iterative releases throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC).
    • Unique aspect: Takes software engineering to “extreme” levels, emphasizing practices like pair programming and code reviews.
  • When to Use eXtreme Programming:
    • Suited for businesses with a high degree of customer collaboration and continuous development.
    • Effective for projects expecting periodic system functionality changes.
    • Works well for teams with tight deadlines and those dealing with changing project requirements.
    • Facilitates communication and collaboration in small programming teams.
  • Five Fundamental Values of XP:
    • Simplicity: Focus on necessary tasks, break down development into small value-adding steps.
    • Streamlined Communication: Daily face-to-face meetings, swift addressing of concerns.
    • Consistent, Constructive Feedback: Adapt processes to project and customer needs, early demonstrations for feedback.
    • Respect: Give and receive respect, respect expertise and knowledge of all team members.
    • Courage: Make hard decisions, tell the truth about progress, no excuses for failure.
  • XP vs. Scrum:
    • Scrum is a broader methodology with eXtreme Programming as one of its tools.
  • XP vs. Agile:
    • XP is a form of agile methodology that supports frequent releases and focuses on simplicity, feedback, etc.
    • XP emphasizes direct customer involvement, unlike some agile methods that involve intermediaries like product managers.
  • XP vs. Kanban:
    • Kanban is a lean manufacturing framework; XP follows an interactive cycle, while Kanban may not.
  • Key Takeaways:
    • XP is an agile methodology for frequent releases and customer collaboration.
    • Suited for smaller teams, adaptable projects, and those expecting changing requirements.
    • Emphasizes values such as simplicity, communication, feedback, respect, and courage.

Connected Agile & Lean Frameworks


AIOps is the application of artificial intelligence to IT operations. It has become particularly useful for modern IT management in hybridized, distributed, and dynamic environments. AIOps has become a key operational component of modern digital-based organizations, built around software and algorithms.


AgileSHIFT is a framework that prepares individuals for transformational change by creating a culture of agility.

Agile Methodology

Agile started as a lightweight development method compared to heavyweight software development, which is the core paradigm of the previous decades of software development. By 2001 the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was born as a set of principles that defined the new paradigm for software development as a continuous iteration. This would also influence the way of doing business.

Agile Program Management

Agile Program Management is a means of managing, planning, and coordinating interrelated work in such a way that value delivery is emphasized for all key stakeholders. Agile Program Management (AgilePgM) is a disciplined yet flexible agile approach to managing transformational change within an organization.

Agile Project Management

Agile project management (APM) is a strategy that breaks large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. In the APM methodology, each project is completed in small sections – often referred to as iterations. Each iteration is completed according to its project life cycle, beginning with the initial design and progressing to testing and then quality assurance.

Agile Modeling

Agile Modeling (AM) is a methodology for modeling and documenting software-based systems. Agile Modeling is critical to the rapid and continuous delivery of software. It is a collection of values, principles, and practices that guide effective, lightweight software modeling.

Agile Business Analysis

Agile Business Analysis (AgileBA) is certification in the form of guidance and training for business analysts seeking to work in agile environments. To support this shift, AgileBA also helps the business analyst relate Agile projects to a wider organizational mission or strategy. To ensure that analysts have the necessary skills and expertise, AgileBA certification was developed.

Agile Leadership

Agile leadership is the embodiment of agile manifesto principles by a manager or management team. Agile leadership impacts two important levels of a business. The structural level defines the roles, responsibilities, and key performance indicators. The behavioral level describes the actions leaders exhibit to others based on agile principles. 

Andon System

The andon system alerts managerial, maintenance, or other staff of a production process problem. The alert itself can be activated manually with a button or pull cord, but it can also be activated automatically by production equipment. Most Andon boards utilize three colored lights similar to a traffic signal: green (no errors), yellow or amber (problem identified, or quality check needed), and red (production stopped due to unidentified issue).

Bimodal Portfolio Management

Bimodal Portfolio Management (BimodalPfM) helps an organization manage both agile and traditional portfolios concurrently. Bimodal Portfolio Management – sometimes referred to as bimodal development – was coined by research and advisory company Gartner. The firm argued that many agile organizations still needed to run some aspects of their operations using traditional delivery models.

Business Innovation Matrix

Business innovation is about creating new opportunities for an organization to reinvent its core offerings, revenue streams, and enhance the value proposition for existing or new customers, thus renewing its whole business model. Business innovation springs by understanding the structure of the market, thus adapting or anticipating those changes.

Business Model Innovation

Business model innovation is about increasing the success of an organization with existing products and technologies by crafting a compelling value proposition able to propel a new business model to scale up customers and create a lasting competitive advantage. And it all starts by mastering the key customers.

Constructive Disruption

A consumer brand company like Procter & Gamble (P&G) defines “Constructive Disruption” as: a willingness to change, adapt, and create new trends and technologies that will shape our industry for the future. According to P&G, it moves around four pillars: lean innovation, brand building, supply chain, and digitalization & data analytics.

Continuous Innovation

That is a process that requires a continuous feedback loop to develop a valuable product and build a viable business model. Continuous innovation is a mindset where products and services are designed and delivered to tune them around the customers’ problem and not the technical solution of its founders.

Design Sprint

A design sprint is a proven five-day process where critical business questions are answered through speedy design and prototyping, focusing on the end-user. A design sprint starts with a weekly challenge that should finish with a prototype, test at the end, and therefore a lesson learned to be iterated.

Design Thinking

Tim Brown, Executive Chair of IDEO, defined design thinking as “a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” Therefore, desirability, feasibility, and viability are balanced to solve critical problems.


DevOps refers to a series of practices performed to perform automated software development processes. It is a conjugation of the term “development” and “operations” to emphasize how functions integrate across IT teams. DevOps strategies promote seamless building, testing, and deployment of products. It aims to bridge a gap between development and operations teams to streamline the development altogether.

Dual Track Agile

Product discovery is a critical part of agile methodologies, as its aim is to ensure that products customers love are built. Product discovery involves learning through a raft of methods, including design thinking, lean start-up, and A/B testing to name a few. Dual Track Agile is an agile methodology containing two separate tracks: the “discovery” track and the “delivery” track.

eXtreme Programming

eXtreme Programming was developed in the late 1990s by Ken Beck, Ron Jeffries, and Ward Cunningham. During this time, the trio was working on the Chrysler Comprehensive Compensation System (C3) to help manage the company payroll system. eXtreme Programming (XP) is a software development methodology. It is designed to improve software quality and the ability of software to adapt to changing customer needs.

Feature-Driven Development

Feature-Driven Development is a pragmatic software process that is client and architecture-centric. Feature-Driven Development (FDD) is an agile software development model that organizes workflow according to which features need to be developed next.

Gemba Walk

A Gemba Walk is a fundamental component of lean management. It describes the personal observation of work to learn more about it. Gemba is a Japanese word that loosely translates as “the real place”, or in business, “the place where value is created”. The Gemba Walk as a concept was created by Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System of lean manufacturing. Ohno wanted to encourage management executives to leave their offices and see where the real work happened. This, he hoped, would build relationships between employees with vastly different skillsets and build trust.

GIST Planning

GIST Planning is a relatively easy and lightweight agile approach to product planning that favors autonomous working. GIST Planning is a lean and agile methodology that was created by former Google product manager Itamar Gilad. GIST Planning seeks to address this situation by creating lightweight plans that are responsive and adaptable to change. GIST Planning also improves team velocity, autonomy, and alignment by reducing the pervasive influence of management. It consists of four blocks: goals, ideas, step-projects, and tasks.

ICE Scoring

The ICE Scoring Model is an agile methodology that prioritizes features using data according to three components: impact, confidence, and ease of implementation. The ICE Scoring Model was initially created by author and growth expert Sean Ellis to help companies expand. Today, the model is broadly used to prioritize projects, features, initiatives, and rollouts. It is ideally suited for early-stage product development where there is a continuous flow of ideas and momentum must be maintained.

Innovation Funnel

An innovation funnel is a tool or process ensuring only the best ideas are executed. In a metaphorical sense, the funnel screens innovative ideas for viability so that only the best products, processes, or business models are launched to the market. An innovation funnel provides a framework for the screening and testing of innovative ideas for viability.

Innovation Matrix

According to how well defined is the problem and how well defined the domain, we have four main types of innovations: basic research (problem and domain or not well defined); breakthrough innovation (domain is not well defined, the problem is well defined); sustaining innovation (both problem and domain are well defined); and disruptive innovation (domain is well defined, the problem is not well defined).

Innovation Theory

The innovation loop is a methodology/framework derived from the Bell Labs, which produced innovation at scale throughout the 20th century. They learned how to leverage a hybrid innovation management model based on science, invention, engineering, and manufacturing at scale. By leveraging individual genius, creativity, and small/large groups.

Lean vs. Agile

The Agile methodology has been primarily thought of for software development (and other business disciplines have also adopted it). Lean thinking is a process improvement technique where teams prioritize the value streams to improve it continuously. Both methodologies look at the customer as the key driver to improvement and waste reduction. Both methodologies look at improvement as something continuous.

Lean Startup

A startup company is a high-tech business that tries to build a scalable business model in tech-driven industries. A startup company usually follows a lean methodology, where continuous innovation, driven by built-in viral loops is the rule. Thus, driving growth and building network effects as a consequence of this strategy.

Minimum Viable Product

As pointed out by Eric Ries, a minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort through a cycle of build, measure, learn; that is the foundation of the lean startup methodology.

Leaner MVP

A leaner MVP is the evolution of the MPV approach. Where the market risk is validated before anything else


Kanban is a lean manufacturing framework first developed by Toyota in the late 1940s. The Kanban framework is a means of visualizing work as it moves through identifying potential bottlenecks. It does that through a process called just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing to optimize engineering processes, speed up manufacturing products, and improve the go-to-market strategy.


Jidoka was first used in 1896 by Sakichi Toyoda, who invented a textile loom that would stop automatically when it encountered a defective thread. Jidoka is a Japanese term used in lean manufacturing. The term describes a scenario where machines cease operating without human intervention when a problem or defect is discovered.

PDCA Cycle

The PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle was first proposed by American physicist and engineer Walter A. Shewhart in the 1920s. The PDCA cycle is a continuous process and product improvement method and an essential component of the lean manufacturing philosophy.

Rational Unified Process

Rational unified process (RUP) is an agile software development methodology that breaks the project life cycle down into four distinct phases.

Rapid Application Development

RAD was first introduced by author and consultant James Martin in 1991. Martin recognized and then took advantage of the endless malleability of software in designing development models. Rapid Application Development (RAD) is a methodology focusing on delivering rapidly through continuous feedback and frequent iterations.

Retrospective Analysis

Retrospective analyses are held after a project to determine what worked well and what did not. They are also conducted at the end of an iteration in Agile project management. Agile practitioners call these meetings retrospectives or retros. They are an effective way to check the pulse of a project team, reflect on the work performed to date, and reach a consensus on how to tackle the next sprint cycle. These are the five stages of a retrospective analysis for effective Agile project management: set the stage, gather the data, generate insights, decide on the next steps, and close the retrospective.

Scaled Agile

Scaled Agile Lean Development (ScALeD) helps businesses discover a balanced approach to agile transition and scaling questions. The ScALed approach helps businesses successfully respond to change. Inspired by a combination of lean and agile values, ScALed is practitioner-based and can be completed through various agile frameworks and practices.


The SMED (single minute exchange of die) method is a lean production framework to reduce waste and increase production efficiency. The SMED method is a framework for reducing the time associated with completing an equipment changeover.

Spotify Model

The Spotify Model is an autonomous approach to scaling agile, focusing on culture communication, accountability, and quality. The Spotify model was first recognized in 2012 after Henrik Kniberg, and Anders Ivarsson released a white paper detailing how streaming company Spotify approached agility. Therefore, the Spotify model represents an evolution of agile.

Test-Driven Development

As the name suggests, TDD is a test-driven technique for delivering high-quality software rapidly and sustainably. It is an iterative approach based on the idea that a failing test should be written before any code for a feature or function is written. Test-Driven Development (TDD) is an approach to software development that relies on very short development cycles.


Timeboxing is a simple yet powerful time-management technique for improving productivity. Timeboxing describes the process of proactively scheduling a block of time to spend on a task in the future. It was first described by author James Martin in a book about agile software development.


Scrum is a methodology co-created by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland for effective team collaboration on complex products. Scrum was primarily thought for software development projects to deliver new software capability every 2-4 weeks. It is a sub-group of agile also used in project management to improve startups’ productivity.


Scrumban is a project management framework that is a hybrid of two popular agile methodologies: Scrum and Kanban. Scrumban is a popular approach to helping businesses focus on the right strategic tasks while simultaneously strengthening their processes.

Scrum Anti-Patterns

Scrum anti-patterns describe any attractive, easy-to-implement solution that ultimately makes a problem worse. Therefore, these are the practice not to follow to prevent issues from emerging. Some classic examples of scrum anti-patterns comprise absent product owners, pre-assigned tickets (making individuals work in isolation), and discounting retrospectives (where review meetings are not useful to really make improvements).

Scrum At Scale

Scrum at Scale (Scrum@Scale) is a framework that Scrum teams use to address complex problems and deliver high-value products. Scrum at Scale was created through a joint venture between the Scrum Alliance and Scrum Inc. The joint venture was overseen by Jeff Sutherland, a co-creator of Scrum and one of the principal authors of the Agile Manifesto.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating errors or defects in a product, service, or process. Six Sigma was developed by Motorola as a management approach based on quality fundamentals in the early 1980s. A decade later, it was popularized by General Electric who estimated that the methodology saved them $12 billion in the first five years of operation.

Stretch Objectives

Stretch objectives describe any task an agile team plans to complete without expressly committing to do so. Teams incorporate stretch objectives during a Sprint or Program Increment (PI) as part of Scaled Agile. They are used when the agile team is unsure of its capacity to attain an objective. Therefore, stretch objectives are instead outcomes that, while extremely desirable, are not the difference between the success or failure of each sprint.

Toyota Production System

The Toyota Production System (TPS) is an early form of lean manufacturing created by auto-manufacturer Toyota. Created by the Toyota Motor Corporation in the 1940s and 50s, the Toyota Production System seeks to manufacture vehicles ordered by customers most quickly and efficiently possible.

Total Quality Management

The Total Quality Management (TQM) framework is a technique based on the premise that employees continuously work on their ability to provide value to customers. Importantly, the word “total” means that all employees are involved in the process – regardless of whether they work in development, production, or fulfillment.


The waterfall model was first described by Herbert D. Benington in 1956 during a presentation about the software used in radar imaging during the Cold War. Since there were no knowledge-based, creative software development strategies at the time, the waterfall method became standard practice. The waterfall model is a linear and sequential project management framework. 

Read Also: Continuous InnovationAgile MethodologyLean StartupBusiness Model InnovationProject Management.

Read Next: Agile Methodology, Lean Methodology, Agile Project Management, Scrum, Kanban, Six Sigma.

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