Folks are often concerned that XP's practices do not specify any documentation, internal or external. That doesn't mean you don't have to do it: we don't tell you what features you need either. Here, newest first, are some selected articles on the topic.

Producing Documents Ron Jeffries 03/12/2006

I wrote this answer in response to a question on one of the Yahoo groups: “What is the list of documents produced when you are implementing a pure Agile project?” Martine Devos liked it, so I decided to preserve it here in hopes that someone else might like it as well.

A Map is a Document Ron Jeffries 01/02/2005

Harald Mueller and I have been having a little mailing list debate about documentation. I’ve been taking the position that we want understanding, not documents. He’s been saying that documents are one good way to get understanding. So far, we haven’t gotten on the “same page” yet, but I trust that we will if we keep going. In the light of that conversation, though, here are some thoughts on documenting this little product we’re working on.

Where’s the Spec, the Big Picture, the Design? Ron Jeffries 12/28/2004

These questions were recently asked on the XP group, in the context of a review of Mike Cohn’s User Stories Applied. The answers are a function of the whole project, not just User Stories.

XP Design and Documentation Ellen Ferlazzo 01/16/2002

Ellen Ferlazzo, of Sprezzatura Systems, took my rant on documentation seriously. Ellen says that if you do it right, you can deliver the documentation at the same time as the software. I was willing to give the writers an extra iteration. Rock on, Ellen!

Essential XP: Documentation Ron Jeffries 11/21/2001(updated)

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” –Groucho Marx

Outside your extreme programming project, you will probably need documentation: by all means, write it. Inside your project, there is so much verbal communication that you may need very little else.Trust yourselves to know the difference.

Manuals in Extreme Programming Ron Jeffries 11/21/2001

Here’s a bit of a rant I wrote some time back, talking about how to write the manuals for an XP project by using writers as part of the team. It’s a serious proposal, written with tongue a bit in cheek.

Much Ado About Nothing: Documentation Ron Jeffries 10/26/2001

One of the most common raps against XP isn’t even true. People think we say that documentation is a bad idea. XP is focused on conversation for maximum effectiveness. Our recommendations on documentation follow from that simple fact.

Natural XP: Documentation Ron Jeffries 10/07/2001

Kent Beck has described XP as designed to go with people’s natural instincts. In this short series of articles, we’ll take a look at how XP accomplishes goals without a need for lots of discipline or management pressure. In this article, the topic is documentation.