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Agile Software Development Paperback – October 22, 2001

ISBN-13: 078-5342699692 ISBN-10: 0201699699

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional (October 22, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201699699
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201699692
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,190,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Coming of age for software developers means understanding that software is a cooperative effort, not something individuals do in isolation. This is a book that teams of software developers can thrive upon, full of sensible advice for a cooperative development approach."

--Tom DeMarco, The Atlantic Systems Guild

Software development paradigms are shifting. The development group's "team" ability, and the effects of the individual developer, become more important as organizations recognize that the traditional approach of increasing process pressure and overworking team members is not meeting getting the job done. The pioneers of Agile methodologies question the preconceived processes within which development teams work. Rather than adding to the burden of the individual developer, Agile asks "how can we change the process so that the team is more productive, while also improving quality?" The answer is in learning to play the "game."

Written for developers and project managers, Agile Software Development compares software development to a game. Team members play the game knowing that the ultimate goal is to win--always remembering what they have learned along the way, and always keeping in mind that they will never play the same way twice. Players must keep an open mind to different methodologies, and focus on the goal of developing quality software in a short cycle time.

Based on a decade's work and research, and interviews with software project teams, this book presents sound advice for bringing difficult projects to successful conclusion with a minimum of stress. It includes advice on:

  • The principals behind agile methodologies
  • Which methodologies fit different projects--including appendixes to select the appropriate methodology on a project
  • New vocabulary for describing methodologies
  • Just-in-time methodology tuning
  • Managing the incompleteness of communication
  • Continuous methodology reinvention
  • The manifesto for agile software development

Today's software developers need to recognize that they have a number of methodologies to choose from. With this book as a guide, they can break free of nonproductive habits, move beyond old routines, and clear a new path to success.



0201699699B09142001

About the Author

Alistair Cockburn is a recognized expert on use cases. He is consulting fellow at Humans and Technology, where he is responsible for helping clients succeed with object-oriented projects. He has more than twenty years of experience leading projects in hardware and software development in insurance, retail, and e-commerce companies and in large organizations such as the Central Bank of Norway and IBM.



0201699699AB07302002


More About the Author

Alistair Cockburn is a recognized expert on use cases. He is consulting fellow at Humans and Technology, where he is responsible for helping clients succeed with object-oriented projects. He has more than 20 years of experience leading projects in hardware and software development in insurance, retail, and e-commerce companies and in large organizations such as the Central Bank of Norway and IBM.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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After every chapter you will find yourself bursting with excitement to tell someone about what you have learned.
Paul G. Hughes
I use this opportunity to thank Mr. Cockburn for writing this book and to congratulate him for his top-of-class thinking and writing.
Alejandro Berganza
If you work in or with a team developing software, then you owe it to yourself (and your team) to read this book.
Dave Thomas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Dave Thomas on November 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
Every fifteen years or so, a great book pops up that describes what
projects are really like. There was Brooks, then DeMarco and Lister,
and now there's Cockburn.
Why is there such a gap between these great books? Possibly because
the message they contain isn't the easy-to-digest dictate: "run your
project this way and everything will be fine." Instead these books all
focus on the fundamentals of projects: people and the way they work
together. These books treat people as people, and not replaceable
parts in a process. The books accept people's foibles and
inconsistencies, and work out how to work with them, rather than how
to try to stamp them out. The books ask: how can we help these funky
people work better together to produce great software?
Agile Software Development has some great answers, which makes it a
significant book. It deals with the issue that programming is
essentially communicating. It looks at the success factors of
individuals, and how to help align the project with these. It
discusses practical ways to reduce the latency of communication (do
you know how much each extra minute taken finding things out costs on
a 12 person project? How do you line your walls with information
radiators?) The book mines the metaphor of development as a
cooperative team game, and looks at development organizations as a
community, where good citizenship pays.
So how _do_ you organize all these people, these team players, these
citizens? The answer is with methodologies. But not with something you
buy off-the-shelf. Cockburn argues that teams should work to define,
and then refine, their own methodologies, bringing in standard ones
where they fit.
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49 of 55 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
In Agile Software Development, Alistair Cockburn has quietly authored a masterpiece. With extraordinary insightfulness and encompassing perspective, Cockburn writes of fundamental truths around the business of software development, the people and teams involved, and the nature of methodology.
This book will give you vocabulary and concepts to communicate what you experience on your projects: what software development is all about, the importance of people and their motivations and traits, the adequacy of communication within your team community, and the appropriateness of your methodology for your context.
The first in a series based on the idea that different projects need different methodologies, and that focusing on communication and community is more relevant than focusing on process, the book is primarily concerned with what *is* methodology - and what identifies agile methodology, in particular.
Cockburn begins with the premise that communication is never perfect or complete - and therefore one task of your methodology, which amounts to the set of conventions your team follows, is to ensure that communications are optimal for the purposes at hand.
But what are the purposes at hand? Cockburn adeptly uses the metaphor of game theory to accurately characterize software development as "a cooperative game of invention and communication", whose primary goal is to deliver useful, working software, and whose secondary goal is to prepare for continued play. In so doing he reflects thoughtfully on the characterization of software as engineering, and derides the characterization of software as model-building - observing, thankfully, that building models is not the purpose of the game. The purpose of the game is delivering software.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Christo on May 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
When I started reading this book I was not a fan of XP, but certainly in favour of lighter methodologies. The book is unusual (amongst IT books) in the sense that it starts off with patterns of human communication. In fact the first three chapters - which analyses game-play, individual communication modes, and team cooperation - covers about 40% of the book. However, it was this section of the book that won me over and convinced me about the basis of the "methodologies" such as XP.
But for me personally the most practical and relevant chapter was Chapter 5: "Agile and self-adapting". In this chapter Cockburn covers issues such as how much documentation, team structures, and most importantly: a methodology growing technique. This chapter is closely followed in importance by chapter 4: "Methodologies". In this chapter Cockburn covers methodology concepts and design principles, including how to publish and introduce (role out) a methodology (before going on to dissect XP). Chapter 6: "The crystal methodologies" consolidates these ideas. Cockburn takes you along while describing and shaping his family of Crystal methodologies.
The book is rounded of with the agile software development manifesto, a formal proposal drawn up by several software authors; and philosophical contributions from other authors. Many good references can be found in the appendix.
Cockburn acknowledges that the chosen methodology must fit issues such as the project and team size and environment. And although I can see the benefits of many aspects of the agile philosophy, there are other aspects I am still cynical about. However, my review is not about XP, but about this book. And the book is well written, well argued, sensible, with plenty of stories and examples, which makes it easy to read. In my case, Cockburn was NOT preaching to the converted, and I gained much value from reading the book. It helped me to question some of my preconceived ideas and long-held views.
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