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Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change, 2nd Edition (The XP Series) Paperback – November 26, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-0321278654 ISBN-10: 0321278658 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley; 2nd edition (November 26, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321278658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321278654
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 9.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kent Beck consistently challenges software engineering dogma, promoting ideas like patterns, test-driven development, and Extreme Programming. Currently affiliated with Three Rivers Institute and Agitar Software, he is the author of many Addison-Wesley titles.

Cynthia Andres holds a B.S. in psychology with advanced work in organizational behavior, decision analysis, and women’s studies. She has worked with Kent on the social aspects of Extreme Programming since its inception. She is also affiliated with Three Rivers Institute.


Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The goal of Extreme Programming (XP) is outstanding software development. Software can be developed at lower cost, with fewer defects, with higher productivity, and with much higher return on investment. The same teams that are struggling today can achieve these results by careful attention to and refinement of how they work, by pushing ordinary development practices to the extreme.

There are better ways and worse ways to develop software. Good teams are more alike than they are different. No matter how good or bad your team you can always improve. I intend this book as a resource for you as you try to improve.

This book is my personal take on what it is that good software development teams have in common. I’ve taken things I’ve done that have worked well and things I’ve seen done that worked well and distilled them to what I think is their purest, most “extreme” form. What I’m most struck with in this process is the limitations of my own imagination in this effort. Practices that seemed impossibly extreme five years ago, when the first edition of this book was published, are now common. Five years from now the practices in this book will probably seem conservative.

If I only talked about what good teams do I would be missing the point. There are legitimate differences between outstanding teams’ actions based on the context in which they work. Looking below the surface, where their activities become ripples in the river hinting at shapes below, there is an intellectual and intuitive substrate to software development excellence that I have also tried to distill and document.

Critics of the first edition have complained that it tries to force them to program in a certain way. Aside from the absurdity of me being able to control anyone else’s behavior, I’m embarrassed to say that was my intention. Relinquishing the illusion of control of other people’s behavior and acknowledging each individual’s responsibility for his or her own choices, in this edition I have tried to rephrase my message in a positive, inclusive way. I present proven practices you can add to your bag of tricks.

  • No matter the circumstance you can always improve.
  • You can always start improving with yourself.
  • You can always start improving today.

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Customer Reviews

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I believe the basis in software development for business is in this book.
Leo B.
You'll finish the book without getting bored and you'll know just enought about extreme programming.
It is easy to read and understand and covers the subject matter very well.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Lasse Koskela on December 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
The release 1st edition of this book is still considered by many to be the kick start for the growing adoption of a software development process called Extreme Programming. After 5 years, the 2nd edition faces a much different world but also with much different content and approach. The world has learned much and so has the author. I'm glad to see that this 2nd edition reflects that development.

Beck has revised his thinking throughout the book. Some obvious examples include his current preference towards using ideal time over abstract time units in estimating, the fifth value among the initial four, the new set of principles, and the rehash of the practices.

Extreme Programming Explained is not a detailed how-to for adopting the process it describes. Actually, it doesn't really describe a process at all. What it does describe is a system of values and principles and a set of practices to support these. Even though Beck does give each practice (divided into primary and corollary practices in the 2nd edition) their share of explanation, the focus is still strongly on the "what" and "why" instead of the "how".

As someone who has read a dozen books on the topic already, I was delighted to find almost every page to provide something intriguing that either created or challenged my own thoughts. Especially the latter half of the book, dealing with topics such as TOC, scaling, Taylorism, the Toyota Production System, and the hot potato itself -- offshoring -- offered a lot to think about.

This is what a 2nd edition should be like, every single chapter reflecting new insight gathered over the years.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By David Bock on August 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
When I read the first edition several years ago, my first thought was how XP needs a name change. It seems as if Beck said, "Lets take a bunch of common 'best practices', develop a methodology around performing them consistently, and then give it a name that will scare away managers".

XP is not a silver bullet, not is it 'evil'. If you develop software and you work in an environment where you always seem to struggle with issues that prevent your team from operating effectively, then this book is for you. Extreme Programming is about taking several core 'practices' and 'values', and turning that into a methodology - perhaps even a philosophy - of software development, team interaction, and process improvement. I don't care if you end up falling in love with XP or if you end up following RUP, CMMi or some other improvement framework, reading this book is an excellent first start to pull yourself out of the doldrums that most software development shops operate in.

Yes, I am a fan of XP and this book. I think the first edition was better. This book seems to digress a lot into touchy-feely subjects, rather than staying on the subject of software development (for example, there are a few pages about personal relationships in the workplace, including dealing with issues that cross the line into HR management - not appropriate for a book that is supposed to be about XP). Beck also seems to flip-flop between describing XP as a solid methodology and a loose collection of his own ideas. I think that XP would greatly improve if it grew up and formalized itself a little better... XP should not be defined with the primary author's telling of anecdotal stories, as appear in this book.

Read it with a pragmatic eye, and figure out what is relevant to your situation. Trying to apply these (or any) ideas dogmatically will probably solve some issues while creating far worse ones.
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34 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Jacob Marner on February 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
I have been using Agile programming methods for some time, so I decided to find a book to describe the details of Extreme programming. Extreme programming is an important variant of Agile programming so it is worth studying in more detail.

I bought this book with the expectation that it would be a serious description of how to apply extreme programming and how it relates to other methods. No such luck. The book does explain practices and philosophies, but is primarily an emotional pep talk in favor of Extreme programming. This is to much "Zen" for me. And it seems that the pep talks mostly compared it to the trational waterfall model. In this comparison it is no wonder that extreme programming seems so good. But the book gives seriouos indication of why this method is best; as it claims it is.

So overall, it is an adequate book that does fairly good job presenting what extreme programming is all about but it could have been so much better.

Whatever you do, don't read this book as your first book on software engineering. For that purpose I recommend Steve McConell: Rapid Development. Reading books on agile development should happen after that - otherwise it might be hard to see things in the right perspective.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. Newkirk on March 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
In Kent Beck's first edition he articulated a manifesto for lightweight methodologies. These methods today are referred to as Agile Methodologies; which Extreme Programming is only one.

The Second Edition builds on the first edition but has a distinctly different tone. In the first book XP was a described as 12 practices that may or may not have been new but the aggregation of the 12 brought together something that as whole changed the way many people wrote software. In this book more emphasis is placed on the whys behind the practices which include values and principals. For example, here is a quote from the book, "Values bring purpose to practices". Kent goes on to say that if he told you to follow practices blindly some people would but most people want to know why you might do a practice. Here is where the values and principals come in to give you the reasoning why a practice is useful. Overall given the renewed emphasis on values, principals, and practices I thought the book itself was much more approachable than the first edition which hopefully will encourage the people who had been on the fence to try out the practices on their next project.
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