Some SEM firms use third-party bid technology. We don't. We believe bid management and portfolio optimization are a core competency for us, and so we've committed the significant and ongoing tech resources to maintain and continuously improve a leading-edge paid search management platform. As a result, we have a great IT team writing great code. Lots and lots of code.
(Shameless plug: we're hiring.)
Our IT folks like to explore new ideas about development methodologies. We've adopted many tenets of XP: unit tests, continuous integration, occasional pair programming, sustainable pace, coding standards, collective code ownership, small releases, refactoring. But we're not a pure XP shop by any means.
Pragmatically, we've taken what we like from the XP teachings. Stephens and Rosenberg's new book, Extreme Programming Refactored: The Case Against XP lambasts the religion of Pure XP. Stephens and Rosenberg also offer suggestions for a "refactored XP," designed to defang XP's "deadly snakes". Stephens and Rosenberg are smart, witty, thoughtful, rude, sarcastic, and clever.
Their book is also funny as hell. IT folks will laugh out loud reading the songs and satire. This might make a great holiday gift for your favorite CTO. And consider their message carefully -- proceed with caution before embracing Pure XP.