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Agile and Iterative Development: A Manager's Guide Kindle Edition

54 customer reviews

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Length: 368 pages

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From the Back Cover

Agile/iterative methods: From business case to successful implementation

This is the definitive guide for managers and students to agile and iterative development methods: what they are, how they work, how to implement them—and why you should.

Using statistically significant research and large-scale case studies, noted methods expert Craig Larman presents the most convincing case ever made for iterative development. Larman offers a concise, information-packed summary of the key ideas that drive all agile and iterative processes, with the details of four noteworthy iterative methods: Scrum, XP, RUP, and Evo. Coverage includes:

  • Compelling evidence that iterative methods reduce project risk
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Agile and iterative values and practices
  • Dozens of useful iterative and agile practice tips
  • New management skills for agile/iterative project leaders
  • Key practices of Scrum, XP, RUP, and Evo

Whether you're an IT executive, project manager, student of software engineering, or developer, Craig Larman will help you understand the promise of agile/iterative development, sell it throughout your organizationaeand transform the promise into reality.

About the Author

CRAIG LARMAN is known throughout the international software community as an expert and passionate advocate for object-oriented technologies and development, and iterative and agile development methods. He serves as Chief Scientist at Valtech, a global consulting and skills transfer company, where he has led the adoption of iterative and agile methods. Larman also authored Applying UML and Patterns, the world's best-selling text on object-oriented analysis and design, and iterative development.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Mike Tarrani HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on July 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
If ever there is a book that should be part of a college-level software engineering curriculum as well as carefully read by software engineering development and project managers this is it. Every major iterative development methodology is covered in complete detail, with an emphasis on Agile methods, and a solid business and technical case is provided for the general approach.
Why make a case for? As difficult as it may be to believe, the waterfall method is still prevalent despite the large body of literature on rapid, iterative development SDLCs. Indeed, I have worked in environments that claimed to embrace the RUP as the enterprise methodology in principle, yet in practice projects were planned and managed using the waterfall SDLC. Why the disconnect? Managers were set in their ways and had no true understanding of the mechanics or value of Agile and iterative development methods.
This book can change that because each major approach is carefully described using the following format for easy comparison and to clearly show strengths and weaknesses:
Method Overview
Lifecycle
Workproducts, Roles, and Practices
Values
Common Mistakes and Misunderstandings
Sample Projects
Process Mixtures
Adoption Strategies
Fact versus Fantasy
Strengths versus "Other"
More importantly, these approaches are placed in the context of the benefits of incremental delivery, with clearly presented evidence of the benefits, which is provided in Chapter 6.
Regardless of biases or preferences, any objective reader will come away with a clear sense of the meaning of 'Agile' and the power and value of iterative development. You will also come away with a good frame of reference with which to compare your own organization's approach to development and delivery, and how to improve it.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Lasse Koskela on October 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
I was expecting a lot from this book, having read and enjoyed Larman's prior work. On the other hand, I expected it to be somewhat simplistic as the title implied the target group being managers, which I am not. One of these expectations was correct.
Larman's latest presents a wonderful introduction into what iterative and evolutionary development is about. The word "agile" in the title seems a bit displaced as the text mostly discusses about "iterative" and "evolutionary" rather than "agile", but that really is no big deal because what's inside the covers is pure gold for any one.
After a thorough introduction to the theory, Larman drops a bomb on the table; the chapter titled "Evidence" is worth the salt alone. Larman has collected an impressive list of references to early, large projects employing iterative and evolutionary development. He also reminds us how the creators of predictive planning based methods have themselves preferred an iterative approach from day one.
The book also packs nice descriptions of four iterative and evolutionary processes, namely XP, Scrum, UP, and Evo. The descriptions are clear but, to some degree, repetitive.
Although the chapter on evidence is definitely the gold chip, the last 70 pages proved to be a very pleasant surprise. Larman presents a list of practical tips and tricks for adopting and running iterative processes, as well as answers the toughest questions in a Q/A section.
Highly recommended. Have your boss read it as well.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Welsh on November 25, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Yes, indeed, Finally. Abundant proof in one book that the traditional waterfall approach is a terrible way to manage software projects, and is therefore slowly being displaced by agile and iterative approaches. Larman does a devastatingly thorough job of debunking waterfall once and for all.
The book cogently and painstakingly explains how several of waterfall's practices have been conclusively linked to project failures, and how, on the other hand, the practices of Agile and iterative methods like Scrum and XP reduce project risk. Larman summarizes research findings encompassing thousands of projects, and quotes the supporting opinions of standards bodies and industry thought-leaders. The net effect is compelling, to say the least.
If you are an Agile skeptic, this book may rattle your conviction. If you are fence-sitter, it may convince you. And if you already have Agile fire in the belly, then certainly this book will stoke that fire. After reading it, I am left wondering how intelligent, experienced software development management can justify the continued use of a process that has wasted so much money and caused so much pain.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sanjiv Augustine on November 17, 2003
Format: Paperback
Craig's book begins with an excellent presentation of the fundamental concepts behind agile development and follows with a strong "Evidence" chapter.
Next is the clear, easy-to-read comparison between the leading agile methodologies (XP, Scrum and UP) and Evo that illustrates their commonalities and differences.
The 'icing on the cake' is the "Practice Tips" chapter that contains many practical insights that I learned the hard way. I think it will be especially useful for project managers new to agile.
As a manager with over 3 years experience managing XP projects, my opinion is that this book is a must-have for any manager interested in agile and iterative development.
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