Monday, March 22, 2010

Review: Succeeding with Agile




In Succeeding with Agile, Mike Cohn gives organizations a handbook for how to succeed using Agile practices and principals. If you are picking up this book, keep in mind that he assumes you have some experience with Agile before you begin. He starts the book by presenting some agile adoption patterns then discusses how and why those patterns are resisted by individuals within the organization. Next he spends a number of chapters explaining new roles and how existing ones change in an organization after agile practices are adopted. I particularly like when he describes a practice, or role, in detail; then steps back to discuss how it will affect each role in an organization and how to overcome resistance. The remainder of the book covers additional topics about agile adoption that aren't large enough to cover a chapter themselves. By the time you get to chapter 20 he is discussing "Human Resources, Facilities, and the PMO." I especially liked the end, "You're not done yet." - these practices are always evolving and growing.

I think this is a great reference and guide. However, my only real disappointment with the book is that it makes agile adoption seem very complex and scaring. If you think about it, you have to be a pretty large organization before "facilities" is powerful enough to get in the way of adopting business practices. Having read a number of Mike Cohn's previous titles I feel he is now writing for large organizations only. Of course, as larger organizations are beginning to take Agile seriously this kind of book is necessary. Thus, my guess is that this book will be quoted in many conference rooms in the future.

Conclusion

This is another book that I wish had been written 5 years ago since it would have saved me time explaining the "big picture" in coaching situations. If you have been building software using agile practices for some time already I would not suggest this book to you. However, if you are in the middle of, or trying to refine the practices you are already using, this is a though book that goes into the right amount of depth.

:: Originally Posted on Pathfinder Development's Blog ::

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