PRO WORKSHOP: Building Better Product Culture: Why Extreme Programming (XP) Isn’t Just for Engineers

Kaelin Burns
Artium, VP of Product

Kaelin has over 10 years of experience working in product and tech, with an emphasis on B2B and internal innovation. She is currently the VP of Product at Artium, a software development consultancy, where she has helped brands such as Lionsgate, Grailed, Aperture, and Suited build extraordinary software, adopt best practices, and create a culture of collaboration.

Her passion for problem-solving, enthusiasm for learning, and desire for deep collaboration has served her well while building products at startups, growth-stage, and enterprise companies. Her lightweight and holistic approach to product development is born out of a lit major’s quest for clarity in communication, a love of Extreme Programming (XP) via DevBootcamp, and the belief that the best thing about technology is that there is always so much to learn.

Through launching products and fostering innovation while supporting current business, she has created a strong framework for product discovery that informs both product and business strategy. As a lifelong learner, nothing energizes her more than the opportunity to share what she has learned with people who are equally passionate.

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? Some of the more well known practices of XP are pair programming and Test Driven Development (TDD), but what do they have to do with product management? It turns out that the values, principles, and practices of XP are deeply aligned with a lightweight approach to product management that creates strong, effective, and happy teams. And while these XP practices can be very powerful on their own, when combined with product practices that align around continuous improvement and iteration, the result is greater than the sum of its parts. This is good product culture: deep collaboration between engineering, design, and product to develop better solutions and enjoy the process. There are likely parts of your own practice that fit nicely into an XP-view of product management. Additionally, there are some concrete steps you can start taking today to get some of XP’s benefits by incorporating these practices into your own.