Why Agile instead of XP: Agile is an umbrella term that includes a lot of different practices. This include XP.
Focus on the hard area. Do the things that are hard to do. Do it more often. Practice it enough until you are good at it (find a way to make it work for you without any hassle)

We often do not know how long it will take us to do an item that requires some research. How do you treat these items? Consider these items as part of the "architecture / platform" backlog. The "architecture / platform" backlog need to be visible and shared across teams. Have a separate scrum team to handle items that are on the "architecture / platform" backlog. We do not have to necessarily establish a timeline for items on the "architecture / platform" items, but we still need to establish priority for items on the "architecture / platform" backlog.

Product backlogs should have two sections (prioritized and unprioritized). Members of the team should be able to express their opinion on priority perhaps by other mean of communication, or just anotate it on the wiki). Should prioritizing user stories be a team activity (have regular meeting)?

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