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Agile Management for Software Engineering: Applying the Theory of Constraints for Business Results Paperback – September 27, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0131424609 ISBN-10: 0131424602

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall (September 27, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131424602
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131424609
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #719,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"This book does a good job of describing the methods employed at Sprintpcs.com ... over 250 people practicing Feature Driven Development and reporting their progress to me at the monthly operations review."
--Scott B. Relf, Chief Marketing Officer, Sprint PCS

"A tremendous contribution to the literature in the field. This should be required reading for all development teams going forward."
--John F. Yuzdepski, VP & GM, Openwave Systems

A breakthrough approach to managing agile software development, Agile methods might just be the alternative to outsourcing. However, agile development must scale in scope and discipline to be acceptable in the boardrooms of the Fortune 1000. In Agile Management for Software Engineering, David J. Anderson shows managers how to apply management science to gain the full business benefits of agility through application of the focused approach taught by Eli Goldratt in his Theory of Constraints.

Whether you're using XP, Scrum, FDD, or another agile approach, you'll learn how to develop management discipline for all phases of the engineering process, implement realistic financial and production metrics, and focus on building software that delivers maximum customer value and outstanding business results.Coverage includes:

  • Making the business case for agile methods: practical tools and disciplines
  • How to choose an agile method for your next project
  • Breakthrough application of Critical Chain Project Management and constraint-driven control of the flow of value
  • Defines the four new roles for the agile manager in software projects-- and competitive IT organizations

Whether you're a development manager, project manager, team leader, or senior IT executive, this book will help you achieve all four of your most urgent challenges: lower cost, faster delivery, improved quality, and focused alignment with the business.

About the Author

DAVID J. ANDERSON has been in the software business for more than 20 years, with experience as a developer and manager in start-up environments and in three of the world's largest companies. He was a member of the team that created Feature Driven Development. David is currently Director of Emerging Technology with 4thpass Inc., a Motorola subsidiary based in Seattle, WA.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Earl Beede on September 26, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Abraham Lincoln once asked something like, "If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?" The answer is four. "Just because you call a tail a leg doesn't make it so." Just because you want to call some development practice "Agile" doesn't make it so. In this book, David Anderson makes a case for calling Theory of Constraints the underlying definition of Agile software development practices. The principle tie is that a key measure in the Theory of Constraints is called Throughput; the amount of value delivered to the customer. Agile methods pride themselves as delivering value to the customer quickly. Based on the Theory of Constraints definition, the Feature Driven Development (FDD) method, Anderson's personal expertise, turns out to be the most Agile of all.

In making the case for the Theory of Constraints based approach, Anderson has given us a lot of formulas and metrics for looking at software projects. This is the most thorough treatment of the subject I have seen yet. I wasn't fully satisfied with the metrics as I felt the book didn't deal with the biggest problem in metrics, the problem of characterizing the measure. To do good metrics, you have to be very clear on what you are measuring, the characterization problem. Without that, all the formulas, graphs, and trends are pretty much useless. Most of the book dealt with the problem by saying, "If you could measure `X', then..." I got really tired of all the Ifs in the book.

In fact, I am not sure I should like this book or not. I found myself half of the time saying to myself, "Hmm, that is a interesting idea," and the other half saying, "I don't think so." Perhaps it was all the Ifs, perhaps it was the repetition.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Avid Reader on October 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Agile methods are all the rage these days, and with good reason: they work. Unfortunately, current practice is largely a hodgepodge of rules of thumb rather than a consistent theory derivable from basic, verifiable assumptions.
That's where David Anderson's book comes into play. David explores the foundations from which most of the Agile concepts can be derived. While most of the concepts are borrowed from manufacturing, David does an excellent job of explaining how they relate to software. The book is very well written, the graphics are excellent, and the concepts are ones that anyone involved with software will need to master if they want to stay competitive.
Excellent work, david.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on December 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
The accounting-based framework for assessing the value contributions of a team seem like an effective way of measuring Agile products and whether or not they're good for the company.
Unfortunately, the book was full of distracting grammar and even *spelling* errors. It also had a serious tendency to use a lot of acronyms / variables for concepts, but didn't bother to even quickly re-expand the name when they hadn't been used for a couple of chapters and jumped back up again. Plodding from chapter to chapter, it builds up formulae with just enough description to bury you in the details of the relationships between the variables, without actually conveying examples of what the variables represent in real life projects.
For being as formula-oriented as this book was, I would've expected to see a detailed example of a project, assessment of it as it went along, and the calculations of the value being delivered by the project. There were a few hypothetical examples, but nothing that actually sounded like a real evaluation of a project as it progressed.
Finally, they might as well have cut out SCRUM and XP. I would've been much happier if this book had just been an application of TOC (Theory of Constraints) to FDD (Feature-Driven Development) and if it had concentrated more on real examples of the two in practice, rather than trying to extract some theory and try to convey how one might apply it to other methodologies.
I just couldn't say that, having read all of it, I could correctly measure what they state, compute the numbers the the way they suggest, and then have any confidence in any decisions I made based on those numbers.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By slashcart on October 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
Anderson takes agile development, which is a loose-leaf collection of unintegrated practices, and transforms it into a serious discipline with a firm foundation. He accomplishes this by borrowing concepts from manufacturing (like theory of constraints) and applying them to software development. Such a book could only be written by someone thoroughly familiar with both software development and manufacturing; fortunately the author seems quite knowledgeable about both.
In all, this book is serious, contentful, and even profound at times. It is by far the best book I've read on the topic in quite a long while.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Clarke on October 14, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the hardest - and possibly best - Agile software book I have read so far. It's hard because it digs deeper into the cause and effect at play within agile environments and because it deals with the "bigger" financial aspects of lean. It's a well written, comprensive text.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DesertGamer on June 21, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My professor required this book for my software project planning course. Being from a science background, I've never been very interested in business-related subject matter. However, in this book, Anderson provides simple models and strategies that seem simple and easy to apply. I've even had a somewhat hostile view of management in the past. This book has made me re-evaluate my attitude. I can now see that management does have an important role in a healthy organization.
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