XP vs. Scrum

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How come that now in 2023, Scrum is more popular than XP (Extreme Programming)?

Both Scrum and XP emerged in the late 1990s at the dawn of agile methodologies.


XP focused heavily on specific engineering practices:

  • Test-driven development
  • Pair programming
  • Continuous integration.

Scrum meanwhile, offered a broader framework. Several factors that contributed to Scrum's wider popularity, compared to XP:

  • Simplicity & flebibility: Scrum's simplicity in implementation and its flexibility to be adapted across various industries and projects made it more accessible to a broader audience, including non-software development teams. This might give a simple reason why Scrum is more popular than XP: because it's applicable in a broader field than XP
  • Framework vs. Engineering Practices: Scrum provided a framework for managing projects and teams, whereas XP emphasized specific engineering practices. Scrum's broader scope and applicability to various project types made it more appealing to a wider range of organizations
  • Visibility and Roles: Scrum's emphasis on clear roles like Scrum Master, Product Owner, and the defined ceremonies like Sprint Planning, Daily Stand-ups, and Retrospectives provided a clear structure for teams, fostering better transparency and accountability
  • Market and Adoption: Scrum gained traction due to its early adoption by industry leaders and influential figures, which increased its visibility and credibility - Maybe just an example of timing being the defining factor for the success of something? Like XP paving the way for Scrum's success?
  • Ease of Adoption: Scrum's principles were relatively easier to adopt and integrate within existing organizational structures compared to XP's more specific engineering practices, which often required significant shifts in development methodologies.

My experience

I really liked XP and I still really like the principles behind it, but it always ticked me off that appearantly "when you don't do pair programming, you're not doing XP" as I read somewhere. That is already an obvious reason for me, why Scrum would be more popular: I used to work in a team of 1, so I can't do pair programming. Besides, I'm still not convinced that pair programming is such a good thing.