Extreme Programming is (partly) based on the idea that if things are “hard” or “scary”, we simply aren’t practicing them enough.
That’s the thing: practice makes perfect.
So, the approach that Extreme Programming takes, is that things that are hard should not be pushed back as far as possible to avoid them. Instead, they should be embraced and done as early and as often as possible so they become familiar and lose their “scariness”.
Not only does doing things often make them familiar and gives you practice and experience, so that you get better at solving the problems you encounter, but at the same time, the problems get smaller!
Releasing is scary because after a year, you have forgotten all the steps and scripts and magic folders? Don’t just release once a year, release every week! Not only will it help you remember all the arcane scripts, all the steps, all the magic folders, it will also force you to think very hard about whether all those arcane manual steps are really needed or if they can be either eliminated or automated.
Code review is scary because there is always a mountain of code, and it takes endless hours? Do it continuously while you program (pair programming), that way, there is always only one line of code to review and the review only takes half a second or less.
Merging is scary because there are always huge merge conflicts and it takes hours to resolve them? Merge as often as you can! Again, not only will you get better at merging by doing it more often, but also, the merge conflicts get smaller! If everybody on your team merges 5-10 times a day, how far can your code really diverge in that time frame?
So, let’s say by merging often and gaining practice and experience, you become 3 times better at merging. (It’s probably going to be even more than that.) Also, let’s say that by merging more often, your merge conflicts become 3 times less frequent and 3 times smaller.
That means that merging becomes almost 100 times less scary.
That is the XP approach, at least. It works even if you don’t follow all practices of XP, although of course all the practices are meant to work together and link into each other and reinforce each other.