Extreme programming (XP) is a proven method for engineers to produce higher quality code and work better together. But what if I told you XP practices were the key to a better product culture for everyone? When we think of XP, we think of iteration happening at multiple levels and intervals. Usually we look to engineering first; iteration that occurs at the code and system level, but there are iterations at the product level that can happen before code ever gets written. These product iterations can create even more value for those engineering-focused iterations, and for the organization at large, especially when all product teams are involved. This is good product culture: deep collaboration between engineering, product, and design to develop better solutions and enjoy the process.
If we think of XP, Lean, and User Centered Design as a meta collaboration on the methodology level between engineering, product, and design, we can start to see how this symbiotic relationship drives the powerful and effective work of product teams. When XP was originally developed, there were no product managers (by name) and so there is a gap when considering XP practices in a modern product organization. But the values, principles, and practices of XP are deeply aligned with a lightweight approach to product management that creates strong, effective, and happy teams. There are likely parts of your own practice that fit nicely into an XP-view of product management, and, if not, there is a place to start incorporating these practices into your work without taking your team through a full-on XP transformation.
- Align XP practices with the parallel or complementary product practices from Lean and User Centered Design, and see the increased value in combining them.
- An XP transformation is a huge undertaking. If your team or org isn’t ready for that, find ways to amplify the collaboration, like starting with Continuous Discovery.