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Main Differences Between Agile Scrum And XP Framework

Fri 01 Jan 2016 10:41

"There are subtle, but marked, differences between Agile scrum and XP frameworks. While both the frameworks appear to be similar at a first glance, the differences lie in how the sprint backlog items are committed, and how the development team takes up the user stories for development during the daily sprints."

Xp And Agile

Of all Agile frameworks, scrum is the most popular one. Scrum methodology is highly recommended for developing IT projects and it is so widely recommended for it that it is often confused with Extreme Programming or "XP" Agile framework, which is synonymous with software development. Both the frameworks are much similar, and to a person not conversant with Agile, both might appear to be the same at a first glance. While most Agile processes and events remain the same, there are some subtle differences between the two frameworks.

Sprint durations

Typically, in scrum, the sprint iteration can last from two weeks up to one month. In XP, the duration is much shorter, and generally lasts from one to two weeks. The sprint duration does not exceed two weeks in XP.

Sprint Duration

Committing the sprint backlog

One of the major differences, and an important one too, is how user stories are committed in the sprint backlog while implementing scrum and XP. In scrum, the sprint backlog is "owned" by the development team. Once the team accepts the sprint backlog, all the user stories in the backlog are "committed" for development purposes. The team is required to complete all the user stories stated in the backlog. Moreover, once committed, the sprint backlog cannot be "changed" while implementing scrum. If any new user story is required to be developed, it can only be included in the next sprint after a new sprint planning meeting is conducted. This is not the case with XP. The sprint backlog does not become "static" even after it is accepted by the team and the user stories are taken up for development. If required, based upon the feedback received from the stakeholders, a user story taken up for development can be replaced with another one having the same estimation in terms of story points. Therefore, the sprint backlog is not "committed" at any time in XP. New stories can be replaced in lieu of those currently existing in the backlog - something that is impossible in scrum. However, it is important to know that such a "replacement" of user story is only possible in XP before the particular user story is taken up for execution in the daily sprint. Once the development of a user story starts in XP, it cannot be replaced.

Determining the sequence while developing user stories

The role of the product owner remains common in both scrum and XP. The PO prioritizes the product backlog in accordance to the importance of user stories based upon the business values. Feedback is availed from the stakeholders as to which of the user stories are more important and pertinent from the development point of view, and the PO categorizes the product backlog based upon the business values of the user stories. The similarity, however, ends there. In scrum once the user stories are prioritized and taken up for development during the daily sprints, the development team enjoys the autonomy of deciding how the user stories should be actually taken up for development during the daily sprints.

Product Backlog

The role of the product owner remains common in both scrum and XP. The PO prioritizes the product backlog in accordance to the importance of user stories based upon the business values. Feedback is availed from the stakeholders as to which of the user stories are more important and pertinent from the development point of view, and the PO categorizes the product backlog based upon the business values of the user stories. The similarity, however, ends there. In scrum once the user stories are prioritized and taken up for development during the daily sprints, the development team enjoys the autonomy of deciding how the user stories should be actually taken up for development during the daily sprints.

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