Kent Beck

Kent Beck
Kent Beck no Workshop Mapping XP.jpg
Born1961 (age 58–59)
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materUniversity of Oregon
Known forExtreme programming, Software design patterns, JUnit
Scientific career
FieldsSoftware engineering
Beck speaking in 2001

Kent Beck (born 1961) is an American software engineer and the creator of extreme programming,[1] 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,[1] 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.[2] Kent has worked at Gusto since April 2019.[3]


Beck attended the University of Oregon between 1979 and 1987, receiving B.S. and M.S. degrees in computer and information science.[4]

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.[1] The one-year delivery target was nearly achieved, with actual delivery being only a couple of months late.



The book illustrates the use of unit testing as part of the methodology, including examples in Java and Python. One section includes using test-driven development to develop a unit testing framework.

Selected papers[]


  1. ^ a b "Extreme Programming", Computerworld (online), 2005, webpage: Computerworld-appdev-92.
  2. ^ "Given my newly independent status after seven years at Facebook..."
  3. ^ "Kent Beck | LinkedIn"
  4. ^ Beck, Kent. "Kent Beck". LinkedIn. Retrieved March 5, 2012.

External links[]