The History Of Extreme Programming

Pavol Kutaj
2 min readFeb 5, 2022

The aim of this page📝 is to share notes on the cocky/funny Kent Beck’ talk (2015) on the History of Test-Driven-Development and Extreme Programming (XP), which is embraced by Uncle Bob as the ideal expression of Agile methodology. Personal highlight. Back to the 90s.

what I think people miss is the extent to which jUnit as a political statement — it’s not a piece of technology primarily. As a piece of technology, most programmers could write the equivalent functionality in a few hours. The political statement is that as a programmer I accept responsibility for the quality of my work. At that time it was a revolution; it was a symbol of the acceptance of responsibility. It is not okay to say I’m a programmer and I’ve made it good enough and now I’ll give it to the QA people who will make sure that it’s really good enough. No — I’m the programmer; I’m fully responsible for the quality of what I’m doing — that was a revolution at that time (the late 90s).


  • 0h:4min On using Smalltalk in the 80s
  • 0h:6min On the invention of the testing framework, SUnit generalized into xUnit
  • 0h:7min On the inspiration for TDD from programming books of his father, when programs were put on input/output tapes and first you created expected result, and when program until they match
  • 0h:11min 1996 Kent Beck begins work on Chrysler C3 project where XP is designed
  • 0h:15min 3-week sprints to have running software. Measure progress. Acceptance tests. Pair programming. Prepared, but improvized. Inspiration is preparation plus panic. Neither alone is sufficient
  • 0h:18min 1997 Creation of jUnit with Erich Gamma Martin Fowler got jUnit at the conference and spread the framework. jUnit is also a political statement to accept full responsibility for the quality of a program. QA is not needed. That was revolutionary
  • 0h:21min 2000 Extreme Programming Explained published
  • 0h:22min On reading Toyota production system providing metaphors for explaining XP. Lean for software.
  • 0h:25min 2001 Agile Manifesto
  • 0h:26min 2005 Second Edition of Extreme programming Complete rewrite with the big shift in tone — the intention to be much more inclusive
  • 0h:28min 2011 Kent Beck joins Facebook
  • 0h:31min What to keep in XP — Values, Practices, one more as a working model
  • 0h:34min What to change — Name. It attracted people who were looking for an escape, not to embrace responsibility
  • 0h:35min What to change — Tone and scope




Pavol Kutaj

Today I Learnt | Infrastructure Support Engineer at with a passion for cloud infrastructure/terraform/python/docs. More at