Another False Dichotomy? Do You Really HAVE to choose between Scrum and XP?

According to the Wikipedia: “false dilemma, also referred to as false dichotomy or false binary, is an informal fallacy based on a premise that erroneously limits what options are available. The source of the fallacy lies not in an invalid form of inference but in a false premise.“Some of false binaries (dichotomies), with respect to choosing Kanban over Scrum, have been already described.  When a team decides to give up Scrum in favor of Kanban, reasoning could vary widely.  Here is the summary on this topic: “Should Teams Use Kanban, Instead of Scrum or LeSS?” and here is a related video recording: “Can Kanban be used with/instead of LeSS or Scrum? WHO is asking and WHY?“.

In this post, we are going to focus on another false binary (dichotomy): “… we are doing XP and, therefore, we cannot do Scrum or LeSS...”.

Below is a very short compare & contrast view of Scrum & XP:

Dimension Scrum & LeSS XP
Values Focus, Openness, Commitment, Courage, Respect Communication, Simplicity, Feedback, Courage, Respect
Roles Scrum Master, Product Owner, Developer(s)

  • SM – is not required to have technical skills
  • Product Owner does not sit ‘inside’ a team

XP coach, Product Manager, Developer(s), Tracker

  • XP coach – is required to have technical skills
  • Product Manager – someone who site ‘inside’ a team


Events Sprint Planning, Sprint Review, Product Backlog Refinement (PBR), Sprint Retrospective Planning, Implementation, Review, Retrospective
Artefacts Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Product Increment (PSPI)
  • Acceptance tests
  • Code
  • Iteration plan
  • Release and iteration plans
  • Stories
  • Story cards
  • Statistics about the number of tests, stories per iteration, etc.
  • Unit tests
  • Working code every iteration
Engineering practices Pair programming, Test First Development (TDD), CI/CD automation, code refactoring, collective code ownership, Unit Testing
Test Automation
Pair programming, Test First Development (TDD), CI/CD automation, code refactoring, collective code ownership, Unit Testing
Test Automation, Specification by Example (BDD)
Sprint/Iteration length From 1 to 4 weeks (team’s choice) 1 week

Short History:

XP has a very strong focus on engineering practices.  Historically, XP was developed by Kent Beck for his C3 project work, at Chrysler. Another two Agile Manifesto co-creators, Ron Jeffries and Ward Cunningham, were also involved in XP development.  Chet Hendrickson is another significant investor in XP development.

Scrum – is a light-weight software development framework, designed for teams of 3-9 members who break their work into goals that can be completed within time-boxed iterations, called sprints. The term scrum was first used in a 1986 paper titled “The New New Product Development Game” by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka.[5]. Scrum, as a framework, has been coined by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland.  Scrum is an empirical process control that can very swiftly include various engineering practices, that increase adaptiveness of product development.  There is no surprise that Scrum can very effectively implement all of XP practices, including Test-Driven Development (TDD).  Similar to Scrum but to a much larger extent, Large Scale Scrum (LeSS) makes a very explicit emphasis on technical excellence, including: Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, Clean Code, Architecture & Design, Unit Testing, Test-Driven Development, Thinking About Testing, Test Automation, Acceptance Testing, Specification by Example

TDD & BDD – a closer look:

Leave a Comment

Please help us fight spam. Lets make sure you are not a robot !!!