What is the Extreme Programming Alliance?
The Extreme Programming Alliance (XPA) was born out of a desire to help individuals and organisations “be Agile” and further drive and influence Agile-related organisational change that has been positively transforming the world of software development since the late 1990s.
Our mission is to “motivate individuals and organisations with Extreme Programming (XP) values, principles and practices, and ultimately stimulate the adoption of true Agility“.
XPA is an organisation that offers support and guidance to practitioners of Agile based software development, and more specifically, XP. We also aim to support the adoption and maintenance of high quality, and deep-rooted Agile practices via XP certification.
Birth of the Extreme Programming Alliance
“Talking agile, not… being Agile” :- (
The XPA was founded by Agile and Scrum advocates who became increasingly frustrated by the number of occurrences they were witnessing whereby they observed organisations “talking agile” and claiming to adopt an Agile methodology (usually Scrum), even utilising Agile/Scrum terminology (Scrums, Daily Stand-ups, Sprint Planning, Sprint Reviews, etc), but ultimately falling very short from “being Agile“.
They witnessed (to highlight just a few examples):
- Development teams attending Daily Stand-ups and reporting (in detail) progress to the Scrum Master;
- Daily Stand-ups lasting 60 mins per day;
- Developers working in isolation throughout Sprints and unveiling the product to the customer for the first time during the Sprint Review;
- Known problems with code not being fixed in a timely manner because the author was not available;
- Emphasis on heavy/detailed documentation being required (and signed-off) before the Sprint starts;
- Lack of robustness in testing of developments during and after Sprints;
- A series of Sprints (sometimes across months and years) leading up to a single big-bang deployment.
It was clear to the XPA that whilst Agile methodologies and frameworks (particularly Scrum) were being implemented… the values and mindsets that they encourage adoption of, and the practices that are required to truly be Agile, were misunderstood and/or being ignored. Organisations were talking agile, maybe doing Agile, but definitely not being Agile!
Conscious that the Scrum Guide (a text that the XPA considers to be the most important, core reference, for any individual or organisation undertaking Scrum) does not explicitly mention any technical practices (because it is specifically, and quite rightly, a lightweight framework), the XPA became keen to help organisations, if they choose to, adopt specific practices that support Agile ways of working!
Indeed development/Scrum teams need to do a lot more than just technical work/programming within a Scrum framework to be Agile! The aforementioned teams need to undertake specific, technical practices that are proven to increase software quality and responsiveness to changing customer requirements… and therefore to help teams be Agile! Those practices were available and proven in the form of XP, but many of them weren’t being considered or acknowledged, let alone being utilised correctly.
And so to the birth of the Extreme Programming Alliance (XPA).
Extreme Programming Alliance Offerings
The XPA was born to offer the following:
- Education/Development – The XPA has developed a number of
progressive training and development paths to assist individuals and organisations in adopting XP methodology.
- Community – The ability to develop and network with other qualified, passionate XP professionals by joining XP user groups, participate in XP forums, and attend focused XP gatherings.
- Certification – A rigorous and robust set of certifications to help individuals and organisations to ensure high competence in the practices of XP.