Kent Beck – Keynote Speaker

Original signer of the Agile Manifesto, Author of the Extreme Programming book series, rediscoverer of Test-Driven Development

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Specialist Subjects

  • How development, management, and financing changes as products or ideas mature
  • Incentive systems for creative work
  • How, why, and when to design software to reduce risk and increase value
  • The Return of Extreme Programming, hidden wisdom from the distant (20 year ago) past


  • English


Kent Beck is an American software engineer and the creator of extreme programming, a software development methodology that eschews rigid formal specification for a collaborative and iterative design process. Beck was one of the 17 original signatories of the Agile Manifesto, the founding document for agile software development. Extreme and Agile methods are closely associated with Test-Driven Development (TDD), of which Beck is perhaps the leading proponent.

Beck pioneered software design patterns, as well as the commercial application of Smalltalk. He wrote the SUnit unit testing framework for Smalltalk, which spawned the xUnit series of frameworks, notably JUnit for Java, which Beck wrote with Erich Gamma. Beck popularized CRC cards with Ward Cunningham, the inventor of the wiki.

He lives in San Francisco, California and worked at social media company Facebook. In 2019, Beck joined Gusto as a software fellow and coach, where he coaches engineering teams as they build out payroll systems for small businesses.

Beck attended the University of Oregon between 1979 and 1987, receiving B.S. and M.S. degrees in computer and information science.

In 1996 Beck was hired to work on the Chrysler Comprehensive Compensation System. Beck in turn brought in Ron Jeffries. In March 1996 the development team estimated the system would be ready to go into production around one year later. In 1997 the development team adopted a way of working which is now formalized as extreme programming. The one-year delivery target was nearly achieved, with actual delivery being only a couple of months late.

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