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Agile Coaching Paperback – September 7, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-1934356432 ISBN-10: 1934356433 Edition: 1st

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Agile Coaching + Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn)) + Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; 1 edition (September 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934356433
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934356432
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,629 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rachel Davies provides expert coaching to teams in Agile software development techniques, such as Test-Driven Development and planning with User Stories. She has been working with Agile teams using XP and Scrum since 2000. Rachel is internationally recognized in the agile community, a frequent presenter at industry conferences worldwide, and a director of Agile Alliance.

Liz Sedley is an Agile Coach and .Net Developer working in London, UK. She has fifteen years industry experience, mostly as a C++ / C# developer. Liz has spent the last four years enabling companies to be more Agile.


More About the Author

I am co-author of a book on "Agile Coaching" with Liz Sedley. I had a lot of fun writing this book and I hope you enjoy reading it, as much as we enjoyed creating it!

I live in the UK, where I coach teams in agile software development techniques, such as planning with user stories and test-driven development. I've been using these techniques for 12 years now.

I love going to agile conferences and running interactive workshops. In my spare time I like organizing agile conferences large and small. I got a great buzz putting together the biggest event agile conference, Agile2008, with 1500 attendees and 400 speakers! But my favorite events are much smaller open space events where you can take a deeper dive into interesting topics like Agile Coaches Gathering.

I also served the agile community on the board of directors of not-for-profit Agile Alliance for 7 years and I'm still involved in the conference sponsorship and speaker programs.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
If you are starting out as an agile coach this book is a must read!
Mark Pearl
Agile Coaching is a one-stop shop, packed with practical advice, examples to work from and stories from the trenches.
Gerry J. Kirk
The book is an easy read, it isn't to long but covers a lot of topics at a high level with practical advice.
Mark Pearl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Methods & Tools Software Development Magazine on September 1, 2009
Format: Paperback
There was a time when software developers worked with consultants that will do things for their company or teach some technical knowledge. Agile approaches have brought forward another type of people: coaches. According to Rachel Davies and Liz Sedley, a coach doesn't tell you what to do, rather she shows you how she thinks you might do things and hope that it will help you to improve your situation. She leads by example. It is not easy to write a book on this type of topic. The authors recognize this situation and manage to achieve a good balance between general advice and practical usage reports.

The first part of the book is concentrated on the basics of coaching and communicating in software project. The software development curricula are often weak on "people" skills and you are not always lucky to find the right person as a supervisor when you get out of school. The second part goes through the different activities of a typical Agile project (daily meeting, user stories definition, planning, etc.) and discuss how coach can help a project team to achieve its goals. Each chapter has a final checklist and the book is also full of "personal stories" from the authors that enhance the theoretical advice, applying it on real situations.

Although the title of the book and some of its content might make you think that its value is limited to an agile context, I will recommend this book to every person that has some supervision function in software development organizations and to every developer who believe than acquiring additional "people" skill might improve its work environment. Just changing the way you talk with colleagues could lead to having more sunnier days at the office.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gerry J. Kirk on October 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
I echo Yves' statement in that I wish I had this book when I started out coaching teams. The book covers all the bases to get started as a coach.

For coaches like me who have a few years' experience, some sections might seem dry, but overall you will gain insights in many areas. The PrOpER (Problem, Options, Evaluate, Review) model for deciding what to do in a situation is an example of something I learned. Overall, I feel that Agile Coaching helps me go to a deeper level on the practices I am already using, as well as teaching me about technical practices less familiar.

The book is an easy read, organized so you can dive into the topics that matter most to you now and can be used as a quick reference later.

My road to learning how to be a more effective coach involved scouring posts and articles online, discussing in mailing lists and talking to other coaches. Agile Coaching is a one-stop shop, packed with practical advice, examples to work from and stories from the trenches.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By General Dogsbody on February 22, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a non programmer I was not looking forward to wading through another Agile book, but was pleasantly surprised to find it full of sensible advice for "normal" people. I've found a lot of great ideas, many common sense ones, which I can use to help institute our fledgling Agile practices. Many of the techniques suggested fit with educational practices, and which, from long experience as a teacher have proved to have worked. I'm recommending it to the Agile "drivers" in our business.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Timothy J. Andersen on September 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a rather thin book that is a quick read. I like the cover art that was chosen for this book. Rachel and Liz did a great job of sprinkling little stories throughout the book to provide relevant examples that provided good context for the current topic.
I really enjoyed the first part of the book that focused on working with people, leading change, and building teams. The middle part of the book was a bit basic, but I won't judge harshly because the organization I work at has a fairly mature (6 years, 4 teams) adoption of Extreme Programming, so this part of the book was good review. It would be more valuable for someone who is trying to introduce teams to agile software development for the first time. The last part of the book was very good, it covers topics such as listening to feedback, helping teams reflect, and growing yourself.
I wish this book would have dealt more with 1-on-1 coaching and provided some insights/stories for "player coaches." I'd like to see a more advanced edition of this book for organizations who have a mature agile adoption and are looking to grow their own coaches.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Crispin on January 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Agile Coaching, in my opinion, isn't only for people who coach agile teams. If you're in the software business, you'll learn something valuable from this book. Start with the last chapter - "Growing You". The only way to succeed in our industry is to continually learn and improve, and this chapter gives great suggestions how to do that.

This book is a model of concise, clear writing. It's packed with information in the form of narrative, bullet points, graphics, photos, stories of real teams and projects, exercises, tips and examples. The authors have been walking their talk for a long time, so you can feel confident about following their advice. Their flair for language makes the book fun to read. It could be a quick read, except you'll find yourself stopping to reflect on your own experiences, and thinking about how you could apply the technique you just read about on your own team. Each chapter includes hurdles you may face, and a checklist summarizing action items for you, the reader.

I particularly enjoyed the little vignettes with dialog from a typical team illustrating topics such as "Not Quite Done Yet" and "Getting Ready to Demo". The authors have insight into all aspects of coding, testing, and managing software teams. You'll find advice you might not expect in a software-related book, such as "Be kind to yourself". The focus on people and teams will make you a better person and team member.
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