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Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practices for Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise (Agile Software Development Series) [Hardcover]

by Dean Leffingwell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

January 6, 2011 0321635841 978-0321635846 1

“We need better approaches to understanding and managing software requirements, and Dean provides them in this book. He draws ideas from three very useful intellectual pools: classical management practices, Agile methods, and lean product development. By combining the strengths of these three approaches, he has produced something that works better than any one in isolation.”

–From the Foreword by Don Reinertsen, President of Reinertsen & Associates; author of Managing the Design Factory; and leading expert on rapid product development

Effective requirements discovery and analysis is a critical best practice for serious application development. Until now, however, requirements and Agile methods have rarely coexisted peacefully. For many enterprises considering Agile approaches, the absence of effective and scalable Agile requirements processes has been a showstopper for Agile adoption. In Agile Software Requirements, Dean Leffingwell shows exactly how to create effective requirements in Agile environments.

  • Part I presents the “big picture” of Agile requirements in the enterprise, and describes an overall process model for Agile requirements at the project team, program, and portfolio levels
  • Part II describes a simple and lightweight, yet comprehensive model that Agile project teams can use to manage requirements
  • Part III shows how to develop Agile requirements for complex systems that require the cooperation of multiple teams
  • Part IV guides enterprises in developing Agile requirements for ever-larger “systems of systems,” application suites, and product portfolios

This book will help you leverage the benefits of Agile without sacrificing the value of effective requirements discovery and analysis. You’ll find proven solutions you can apply right now–whether you’re a software developer or tester, executive, project/program manager, architect, or team leader.

Frequently Bought Together

Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practices for Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise (Agile Software Development Series) + Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large Enterprises + The Principles of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development
Price for all three: $105.17

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Agile Software Requirements


“In my opinion, there is no book out there that more artfully addresses the specific needs of agile teams, programs, and portfolios all in one. I believe this book is an organizational necessity for any enterprise.”

Sarah Edrie, Director of Quality Engineering, Harvard Business School


Agile Software Requirements and Mr. Leffingwell’s teachings have been very influential and inspiring to our organization. They have allowed us to make critical cultural changes to the way we approach software development by following the framework he’s outlined here. It has been an extraordinary experience.”

Chris Chapman, Software Development Manager, Discount Tire


“This book supplies empirical wisdom connected with strong and very well-structured theory of succeeding with software projects of different scales. People new to agile, practitioners, or accomplished agilists–we all were waiting for such a book.”

Oleksandr (Alex) Yakyma, Agile Consultant,


“This book presents practical and proven agile approaches for managing software requirements for a team, collaborating teams of teams, and all across the enterprise. However, this is not only a great book on agile requirements engineering; rather, Leffingwell describes the bigger picture of how the enterprise can achieve the benefits of business agility by implementing lean product development flow. His ‘Big Picture’ of agile requirements is an excellent reference for any organization pursuing an intrinsically lean software development operational mode. Best of all, we’ve applied many of these principles and practices at Nokia (and even helped create some of them), and therefore we know they work.

Juha-Markus Aalto, Agile Change Program Manager, Nokia Corporation


“This pragmatic, easy-to-understand, yet thought-provoking book provides a hands-on guide to addressing a key problem that enterprises face: How to make requirements practices work effectively in large-scale agile environments. Dean Leffingwell’s focus on lean principles is refreshing and much needed!”

Per Kroll, author, and Chief Architect for Measured Improvements, IBM


“Agile programming is a fluid development environment. This book serves as a good starting point for learning.”

Brad Jackson, SAS Institute Inc.


“Dean Leffingwell captures the essence of agile in its entirety, all the way from the discrete user story in the ‘trenches’ to complex software portfolios at the enterprise level. The narrative balances software engineering theory with pragmatic implementation aspects in an easy-to-understand manner. It is a book that demands to be read in a single sitting.”

Israel Gat,, @Agile_exec on Twitter


“An incredibly complete, clear, concise, and pragmatic reference for agile software development. Much more than mere guidelines for creating requirements, building teams, and managing projects, this reference work belongs on the bookshelf of anyone and everyone involved with not only agile processes but software development in general.”

R.L. Bogetti, Lead System Designer, Baxter Healthcare


“This book covers software requirements from the team level to program and portfolio levels, including the architecture management and a consistent framework for the whole enterprise. We have practiced the multi-team release planning and the enterprise-level architecture work with kanban and achieved instant success in our organization. Combining the principles of the product development flow with the current large-scale agile and lean software development is a really novel concept. Well worth reading and trying out the ideas here.”

Santeri Kangas, Chief Software Architect, and Gabor Gunyho, Lean Change Agent, F-Secure Corp.


“Dean Leffingwell and his Agile Release Train (ART) concept guides us from teamlevel agile to enterprise-level agile. The ART concept is a very powerful tool in planning and managing large software programs and helps to identify and solve potential organizational roadblocks–early.”

Markku Lukkarinen, Head of Programs, Nokia Siemens Networks

About the Author

Dean Leffingwell, a thirty-year software industry veteran, has spent his career helping software teams achieve their goals. A renowned methodologist, author, coach, entrepreneur, and executive, he founded Requisite, Inc., makers of RequisitePro, and served as its CEO. As vice president at Rational Software (now part of IBM), he led the commercialization of the Rational Unified Process. As an independent consultant and as an advisor to Rally Software, he has helped entrepreneurial teams and large, distributed, multinational corporations implement Agile methods at scale. He is the author of Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large Enterprises (Addison-Wesley, 2007) and is the lead author of Managing Software Requirements, Second Edition (Addison-Wesley, 2003), which has been translated into five languages.

Product Details

  • Series: Agile Software Development Series
  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (January 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321635841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321635846
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 7.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Biography of Dean Leffingwell

Dean Leffingwell is an entrepreneur, executive, author and consulting methodologist who provides agile transformation consulting services to large software enterprises.

Recently, Mr. Leffingwell was founder and CEO of consumer marketing identity company, ProQuo, Inc. He also served as chief methodologist to Rally Software ( where he focused on the application of agile development methods to large scale software development. Formerly, Mr. Leffingwell served as Sr. Vice President to Rational Software (now IBM's Rational Division), where his responsibilities included development and commercialization of the Rational Unified Process (RUP), ClearQuest, RequisitePro and the company's methodology and product training courses.

Mr. Leffingwell has been a student, coach and author of contemporary software development and management practices throughout his career.

He is the author of the following books (all form Addison-Wesley and all available on Amazon):

Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practices for Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise (2011), This book provides practical, agile approaches to managing software requirements for teams and teams of teams, as well as practices that scale to the full enterprise architecture and portfolio level.

Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large Enterprises (2007), focuses on the application of agile methods to large, distributed development organizations.

Managing Software Requirements: First (1999) and Second (2007) Editions.

Mr. Leffingwell holds a Masters Degree in Engineering from the University of Colorado in Boulder.

From 1993 to 1997, Leffingwell was founder and CEO of Requisite, Inc. , makers of RequisitePro, which was acquired by Rational in 1997. He was also the author of Requirements College, a three day software methods course. Prior to 1993, Leffingwell was founder, chairman and CEO of publicly held Colorado MEDtech, Inc. and it's predecessor company, RELA, Inc., a Boulder-based software, product development and manufacturing outsourcing company.

Mr. Leffingwell is an experienced entrepreneur and businessman who has served as a board member at a number of public and private companies throughout his career.

He can be reached at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
I still remember the first few pages of Managing Software Requirements: A Unified Approach (The Addison-Wesley Object Technology Series). I was in BWI waiting on my daughter's flight to arrive. The book opened with such a great beginning I knew I was going to love it. In a nutshell what I heard the authors say was we have years of experience that you don't, let us show you what we have learned so you don't have to repeat our mistakes. That is my number one reason for reading books. The message at the beginning of this book is the same.

I feel this is the first complete book on what an enterprise level agile process should look like. What baffles me is the number of enterprises I have been in that have not come close to implementing 10% of the process this book outlines, yet they call themselves agile and lean. The one thing this book brings to light is just how complex and advanced agile processes are. Like the book says, "it is not easy, it is agile".

This book has the caveat that certain skills are required for the agile teams to be successful. I agree with that completely. The thing I have a hard time with is the fact that agile processes assume such skill sets are readily available. They aren't. That is why I see such a mess in 90% of the attempts I have seen when enterprises attempt to go agile. Almost all of them will claim to be successful at implementing their agile processes, but budgets and bugs don't lie. Agile does not equate to simple or easy, actually the opposite is true.

So then does that mean agile methods should be avoided and this book is not worth reading? Absolutely not. It is one of the few books that may just help you implement a successful agile enterprise environment.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Close, But Wrong Features October 13, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I believe Dean Leffingwell has a solid grasp of the issues that face agile and, in particular, Scrum as it scales. He does well in basing his approach on the the thoughts of people like Donald Reinertsen. However, I can give the book only three stars as I disagree with Mr. Leffingwell in several important aspects.

First area is the people Mr. Leffingwell left out. If one is going to talk about scaling software development, one must at least engage Fred Brooks and his recent work, The Design of Design. Even if you disagree with Mr. Brooks' position that a single mind is required for conceptual integrity (at a given level of abstraction), you need to more than throw an agile principle at his well reasoned thought.

Then there is Tom Gilb. Mr. Gilb was agile for there was an agile. I feel that anybody who wants to talk seriously about scaling and agile needs to engage Mr. Gilb's position on requirements and their being testable at any level of abstraction. Again, you may disagree but not to consider it seems a huge oversight. His design impact estimation would be a perfect add to an architecture workshop.

A second area is the lack of testability at the higher levels of abstraction. Given a features approach, it seemed to me that Mr. Leffingwell had a hard time describing how to test things at the highest level. If, instead, he had the higher levels focus more on the problem and the (non-function) characteristics that made the client/customer/user feel the products would solve their problem, then coming up with tests is not that difficult. You can let an architecture "emerge" to the degree you have well designed tests that state that whatever emerges, must pass the tests!

A third area is Mr. Leffingwell's approach to requirements.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Although many might tend to limit the concept of agile requirements to "user stories", this book reminds us that there could be more than just a post-it on an information radiator when we talk about requirements. The title of one of the initial chapters is "The Big Picture of Agile Requirements" and this book provides it, together with the small details that can help you write better stories.

Dean Leffingwell describes the general context of managing requirements in organizations based on a three levels view: portfolio, program and team. The concept of requirements is different at each of these levels: from the investment themes and epics of the enterprise strategy to the user stories implemented by teams during Scrum sprints. An interesting concept developed in the book is the Agile Release Train (ART) that aggregates user stories in features set. The goal is to adjust the team's capacity to produce software with the ability of customers to absorb it.

The book is very well written, achieving balance between a structured approach and easiness to read. It contains many case studies, templates and sample agenda that help relate the ideas expressed with the daily activities. Three appendixes at the end propose interviews and document templates, along with a release-planning checklist.

This book provides a detailed and extensive study of the agile gathering and management of requirements in enterprises and I will recommend it to everybody involved in some software requirement activity, from the business analyst to the project manager or developer.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent visualization of Agile, Lean SW Development
Excellent in-depth informative visualization of the best of Agile, and Lean SW Development, especially if you are trying to build a foundation of knowledge, know-how. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ken Martin
3.0 out of 5 stars Agility is lost
Used RUP for many years, used Agile for many years and studied this book as essentially the SAFe handbook. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Agile Chris
5.0 out of 5 stars Good job on delivery and product
Great job on delivery, very fast and in good condition. Thanks for that! Will definitely order from this vendor again!
Published 6 months ago by ccland123
4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative read
Great informative read.
More real life examples would have been great.
Images are difficult to read, gets distorted when re-sized.
Published 7 months ago by Leonie
5.0 out of 5 stars Agile Scalability Solution
It is the future of Agile as we know it.

It connects the individual team members to executive management in a way never seen before. Transparency at all levels. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Michael Barone
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book but who really practices this stuff?
I went to a Micorsoft ALM confernece where Dean was a keynote speaker and they gave the book to all attendees with his signature! Read more
Published 8 months ago by Javaman
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for everyone involved in agile adoption in an enterprise...
This book really helped me organize scrum in an enterprise environment. Leffingwell discusses the various roles of product and portfolio management and how they can fit in to an... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Nics
5.0 out of 5 stars Good reference
Great book - for a guy switching careers into software engineering and receiving a crash course in the Agile process. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Bill H
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the bests
Good explanation of the information and one of the best books about Agile Methodology, to all profile of IT workers or project managers.
Published 11 months ago by Gonçalo Martins
4.0 out of 5 stars A Path for the Unforgiven
It is difficult to improve on a review like the one Per Kroll wrote, but I do need to add my own opinion on the book. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Joe Butson
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