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Agile Software Development Ecosystems [Paperback]

by Jim Highsmith
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 5, 2002 0201760436 978-0201760439 1
Traditional software development methods struggle to keep pace with the accelerated pace and rapid change of Internet-era development. Several "agile methodologies" have been developed in response -- and these approaches to software development are showing exceptional promise. In this book, Jim Highsmith covers them all -- showing what they have in common, where they differ, and how to choose and customize the best agile approach for your needs. Highsmith begins by introducing the values and principles shared by virtually all agile software development methods. He presents detailed case studies from organizations that have used them, as well as interviews with each method's principal authors or leading practitioners. Next, he takes a closer look at the key features and techniques associated with each major Agile approach: Extreme Programming (XP), Crystal Methods, Scrum, Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), Lean Development, Adaptive Software Development (ASD), and Feature-Driven Development (FDD). In Part III, Highsmith offers practical advice on customizing the optimal agile discipline for your own organization. For all software developers, project managers, and other IT professionals seeking more flexible, effective approaches to developing software.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

In a highly volatile software development environment, developers must be nimble, responsive, and able to hit a moving target--in short, they must be agile. Agile software development is designed to address this need for speed and flexibility. Agility describes a holistic, collaborative environment in which you can both create and respond to change by focusing on adaptability over predictability, people over process. Agile software development incorporates proven software engineering techniques, but without the overhead and restrictions of traditional development methodologies. Above all, it fulfills its promise of delivering software that serves the client's business needs.

Written by one of the leaders of the Agile movement, and including interviews with Agile gurus Kent Beck, Robert Charette, Alistair Cockburn, Martin Fowler, Ken Schwaber, and Ward Cunningham, Agile Software Development Ecosystems crystallizes the current understanding of this flexible and highly successful approach to software development. It presents the key practices of all Agile development approaches, offers overviews of specific techniques, and shows how you can choose the approach that best suits your organization.

This book describes--in depth--the most important principles of Agile development: delivering value to the customer, focusing on individual developers and their skills, collaboration, an emphasis on producing working software, the critical contribution of technical excellence, and a willingness to change course when demands shift. All major Agile methods are presented:

  • Scrum
  • Dynamic Systems Development Method
  • Crystal Methods
  • Feature-Driven Development
  • Lean Development
  • Extreme Programming
  • Adaptive Software Development

Throughout the book, case stories are used to illustrate how Agile practices empower success around the world in today's chaotic software development industry. Agile Software Development Ecosystems also examines how to determine your organization's Agile readiness, how to design a custom Agile methodology, and how to transform your company into a truly Agile organization.


About the Author

Jim Highsmith is a well-known consultant, software developer, writer, and speaker. He is a founding member of the AgileAlliance, serving on its first board, and is coauthor of the Agile Manifesto. Jim is director of the Agile Project Management Advisory Service for the Cutter Consortium. He is also the author of Adaptive Software Development (Dorset House), winner of the 2000 Jolt Award.


Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (April 5, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201760436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201760439
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,317,336 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jim Highsmith is an executive consultant at ThoughtWorks, Inc. He has 30-plus years experience as an IT manager, product manager, project manager, consultant, and software developer.

Jim is the author of Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products (Addison Wesley, 2004); Adaptive Software Development: A Collaborative Approach to Managing Complex Systems (Dorset House, 2000; winner of the prestigious Jolt Award), and Agile Software Development Ecosystems (Addison Wesley, 2002). Jim is the recipient of the 2005 international Stevens Award for outstanding contributions to systems development.

Jim is a coauthor of the Agile Manifesto, a founding member of The Agile Alliance, coauthor of the Declaration of Interdependence for project leaders, and cofounder and first president of the Agile Leadership Network. He has consulted with IT and product development organizations and software companies in the United States, Europe, Canada, South Africa, Australia, China, Japan, India, and New Zealand.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good overview, good description of what agile means June 19, 2002
I found Jim Highsmith's Agile Software Development Ecosystems to be an easier read than his first book Adaptive Software Development.
This one is an overview of the Agile methods and people behind them -- Scrum, Dynamic Systems Development Method, Crystal Clear, Feature Driven Development, Lean Development, Extreme Programming, Adaptive Software Development, Kent Beck, Alistair Cockburn, Ken Schwaber, Martin Fowler, Ward Cunningham, himself, Bob Charette -- and descriptions of some projects each method was used on.
None of the method descriptions are in-depth enough to actually do them, but they provide enough information to point you into a direction for further investigation. There is some discussion about Agile principles and values, and Agile methods versus non-Agile methods and Company Culture and Market Style, and some discussion on "how to make your own agile methodology" (or how to adapt one to your company's requirements).
I recommend it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but read this second :) January 7, 2004
I found the book a good read, but feel that for trying to "show people the light", it gives sceptics a bit too much ammunition. Craig Larman's "Agile and Iterative Development: A Manager's Guide" is better written, of more immediate practical value and more likely to win over the sceptics. Try Larman's book first, then this one for further perspectives...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
This book is a good overview of the Agile movement, it's goals and aims, and provides a passable description of several of the methods that have now been labeled as "Agile" as opposed to the lumbering, dinosaur-like methods we have previously used (like the Rational Unified Process and its ancestors).
But that's not why you should buy this book. The best thing about the book are the personal interviews with several of the members of the Agile alliance like Kent Beck, Martin Fowler and Alistair Cockburn. The interviews give you special insight into their personalities that reading their own work won't give you, and helps you place their work in context.
The book is light and very readable (rare for a book on software methodology) and you given its structure you can even put it down for a few days and then come back without losing the thread of what is being discussed. Overall, it's a good "endcap" addition to any software developer's bookshelf right after the books on XP, Crystal and SCRUM.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent April 29, 2002
This book is about "The Agile Movement", if there is such a word.
This books attempts to convey the rationale and "night thoughts" of veterans who have been the route of traditional methodologies and UML and the hard lessons learned.
It is an interesting and eye-opening book along the line of "The Mythical Man Month" that every software architects, program managers and students of software engineering should read. It does holds its concerns well. An analogy from the art world would be fit here:
It is an "Impressionist" software practices resurgent in responding to traditional "Renaissance" software practices in responding to market forces and expectation and to "get the job done", avoiding over-engineered and over modelled process.
Whether Agile movement will be the last say in software process in the next decade is hard to say.
One big problem with software is that there are lack of accountability that other engineering discipline have and does not seem to fit the shoe as well other disciplines.(civil,electrical,etc). No one got drag to court if a software fails miserably. Compare that to a bridge or house collapsing.
So the ultimate question is "What is Software Engineering and does it makes sense?".
I think by reading this book will provoke you into thinking.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excelent starter December 8, 2002
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very good starter for Agile practices.
I have been involved in software projects in different roles( programmer, Architect, manager, integrator etc) for 20 years. I felt that MS project never reflected the work hat was actually done, and that if I wanted things to progress, most of the practices I was asked to do were of little help (Heavy documentation, requirements tractability, lots of very detailed design before coding and other fun stuff).
This book gives a good definition for the things that really matter.
Methodology helps your project only if you adjust it to your people, goal and organization. By giving a broad perspective of agile methodologies, this book enables you to select what should work for you.
And - on top of it - I really enjoyed reading it
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Intro to Agile February 24, 2004
By M. Hall
Jim Highsmith does an excellent job of introducing you to the agile software philosophy. This book includes the basic motivation for agility in the software arena, the foundational philosophies of agile, a review of the top 7 agile approaches being used today (XP, Scrum, DSDM, FDD, ASD, LD, and Crystal), interviews with the leading proponents, and a comparison of Agile versus a more rigorous process-oriented approach.
If you are new to Agile approaches or just looking to fine-tune your current software methodology, this book is an excellent start.
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