Innovation and Sustainability with Gold Cards

I am not a load factor, I am a free man


                Julian Higman          Tim Mackinnon             Ivan Moore         Duncan Pierce 

Connextra Ltd.

Studio 312, Highgate Studios

53-79 Highgate Road

NW5 1TL, England.

+44 (0) 20 7692 9898

{Julian, Tim, Ivan, Duncan}





An XP team delivers what the customer asks for and is collectively responsible for successful delivery. This can lead to two problems. The first is technical: there can be a lack of innovation because the customer does not necessarily explore options that are technically possible but not currently required. Consequently, cutting-edge knowledge may be slowly lost from the team. The second is personal: team members may not feel they have individual recognition, and managers may find it difficult to assign credit for individual contributions because of collective responsibility.


Perversely, both of these problems are more noticeable as the team becomes more experienced at executing the XP process. At Connextra, we have experienced this effect over the last two years, and have successfully implemented a new practice called “Gold Cards” that addresses these issues.  XP takes away the blame culture; Gold Cards promote a praise culture. Gold Cards allow developers time to explore technical possibilities in a controlled and focused way that leads to innovative stories and that gives team members a chance to be individually recognized. This has resulted in a noticeable increase in innovation and improved job satisfaction among developers.