Extreme Programming (XP)

The Agile Mindset was shaped when Ward Cunningham and Kent Beck started playing around with the programming language Smalltalk. They were both working at Tektronix back in the eighties. Tektronix was one of the companies that Xerox gave this new programming language to when they could not commercialize the computer technologies coming out of PARC, their research lab.

Smalltalk, as an object-oriented language with a just-in-time compiler, was conceived by Alan Kay as a learning language for a new computer age.

Using pair programming, Ward and Kent would sit and code sitting next to each other on a single computer. They began to develop new solutions together much faster than could be done using Structured Planning, called the “Waterfall Model”, used by software developers.

One day, a package arrived at Ward's home. It had no return address. Inside was a copy of Christopher Alexander's book _A Pattern Language_.

Over the next fifteen months, Ward and Kent experimented with creating patterns of practice to begin to define and share their experiences using Smalltalk.

In 1995, Ward published a paper that defined this new pattern language of software development, which he called "Episodes". Kent then went on to apply these practices at Chrysler for a new payroll system they were developing. From that experience, he published, in 1999, a book entitled _Extreme Programming Explained_ which launched XP.

XP Loops

Kent came up with the name “Extreme Programming” as a riff off the extreme sports movement, where athletes were beginning to challenge themselves to new heights of performance by new heights of risk.

The early leaders of XP brought a new mindset – one where they were courageous experimenting, guided by their curiosity – to their work. And it was this mindset that launch the agile movement.

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