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Becoming Agile: ...in an imperfect world 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1933988252
ISBN-10: 1933988258
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Becoming Agile...

"I would award this excellent guide and virtual consultant an almost perfect nine out of ten review, and recommend it to any organization seeking to intelligently adopt Agile Practices."
--Slashdot.org Online Review 11/16/2009

"This is a very detailed roadmap that takes you from the initial "is Agile right for me?" stage through completion and delivery of your pilot project and beyond."
-Charlie Griefer, Senior Software Engineer, Amcom Technology

"Clear, concise and has plenty of example scenarios that many individuals and corporations would identify with."
-Jamie Phillips, Senior Software Engineer, Picis Inc

"Becoming Agile in an Imperfect World offers a different and useful look at Agile methods. Reminding us that becoming agile is more of a mindset adjustment than a process change, Sidky and Smith use a case study to share their insights and tools throughout the book."
-Sanjiv Augustine, President, LitheSpeed LLC and author of Managing Agile Projects

"The book totally inspired me. Becoming Agile helps take you to the next level by going beyond the theory and into the nitty gritty practicality of employing the Agile approach.
-Tariq Ahmed, author of Flex 3 in Action

"This book is a necessity for teams looking to become agile..."
--Randy Miller, Software Project Recovery Expert, Microsoft

"The first book I can give to anyone on an agile team, regardless of their role."
--Paul King, Director, ASERT

"A 5-star guide."
--Robert Dempsey, CEO, Atlantic Dominion Solutions

About the Author

Greg Smith is an agile coach, trainer, and senior project manager at GS Solutions Group. Greg specializes in practical adoption of agile techniques and methods. During his career, Greg has held positions as a Product Manager, Program Manager, Development Manager, ScrumMaster, and Project Manager. He has received numerous awards for his work in helping start-ups establish good software practices, and for helping enterprises overcome bureaucracy and deliver urgent projects. Greg also partners with the Project Management Institute (PMI) to bring agile knowledge into the project management community.

Dr. Ahmed Sidky guides organizations during their transition to agile software development. His research includes a value-based agile measurement index, known as the Sidky Agile Measurement Index, and a process framework for the adoption of agile practices. Dr. Sidky developed Dr. Agile, an online readiness assessment tool that helps guide organizations aspiring to adopt agile practices. He has worked as a software developer at some of the largest software firms in the Middle East and holds a Masters degree in Software Engineering from Virginia Tech (USA) with a research focus on Requirements Engineering and a doctorate in Agile Software Development Methodologies and Process Improvement. Dr. Sidky is a frequent speaker at international agile conferences.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Manning Publications; 1 edition (June 18, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933988258
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933988252
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #577,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Becoming Agile by Greg Smith and Ahmed Sidky describes how to start your journey to start agile development. The target audience for this book are people who are just starting to look at Agile development and currently have issues. However, personally, I would not recommend this book. The book contains recommendations that I would personally not follow (I'm not that they wouldn't work) and a better alternative might be Mike Cohns new book "Succeeding with Agile" which will be published later this year.

The book contains eight parts and it follows one case study of "Acme Media" throughout the book. Acme media is implementing a small pilot project using agile development. The first chapter of the book describes agile development, the agile manifesto and introduces the background of the case study. The second chapter in the book covers the start, that is the preparation work that the authors recommend. Chapter 4 in this part discusses a assessment test for assessing your agility. The authors recommend to use the test and based on that decide what practices to start with. Chapter 6 describes one of the their key recommendations, which is to form a "core team" which defines the agile process to be used by the organization.

Part three describes the real kick-off of the development. Chapter 10 covers a feasibility phase where the a smaller team will assess if the project is even feasible and after that will be a "gate" or a go/no-go moment so that the project can be killed early. It suggests creating a feasibility study guide to do your feasibility and the authors provide some examples. Chapter 11 talks about creating the initial agile pilot team.
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Format: Paperback
I will be honest and say that this is the first "work related" book that actually captured my attention to the point that I would sit and read whilst my loved ones were enjoying their sweet slumber (and obviously blog about it).

This book is highly informative; being neither condescending, nor pushy and over-bearing on the way that agile adoption should be approached. Without intending to be a partisan; I would even go as far as saying that it is more than recommended reading, it should be required reading for anyone thinking of migrating to agile; recent adoptees of agile or anyone in between.

From the first chapters that guide us through the principles (I loved the annotated 12 principles of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development - section 1.1.2) and the descriptive text on the "paradigm shift from a plan-driven mentality"; to the readiness assessments and the importance of obtaining executive support; through to the population of the product backlog and on to the first iterations of an example company adopting Agility in their software development process.

There is no substitute for actually reading the book, which is a must; however various chapters and sections drew my attention more than others.

Section 1.1.2 - The agile principles:

Although the manifesto has been analyzed and described on various blogs and books; the descriptive text for each principle was really handy when evangelizing on agile and is a good primer for anyone new to the subject (and possibly even for those of us who have been practicing agile).

Section 1.
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Format: Paperback
I was fortunate to get access to an early version of this book, and as I write this I'm actually going through the book jotting down some key points as our development and project management teams will be meeting to talk about how we can adopt a more agile approach to software development.

We've borrowed a few agile concepts from back in the day, but we're looking to take our game to the next level. And the problem with a lot of the old school agile material is that it is very theoretical from the perspective of agile purists.

Well I don't know about you guys... but it's not that simple. Change takes time, and there are business realities to factor in. You can't take a 5000 ton cargo ship moving at maximum speed to suddenly turn because you want it to.

Businesses have a momentum to them, and to introduce change requires shifting that momentum. This is where the book Becoming Agile is a critical asset to folks like me (technical management), because it addresses these realities head on and provides a practical and viable approach from a business process perspective on how to get your teams developing in an agile manner.

I really can't praise this book enough, and I'm aiming to get everyone in our project management and software development teams a copy of this book, and make it our guide.
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Format: Paperback
Becoming Agile in an Imperfect World by Greg Smith and Ahmed Sidky is an excellent reference for those looking to become Agile. Like most development shops, my company's projects were constantly being pushed back by late-breaking changes in requirements, and like most companies, we didn't respond well to these moving targets. We weren't agile enough in our development. Hearing that that one of the tenets of Agile development was embracing change, I picked up this guide.

I have tried looking at several articles and online papers on the Agile methodology, but never finished the reads with a sense of where to start - what's my first step? Becoming Agile doesn't let you down in that sense. The authors provide a thorough explanation of Agile values, principles and practices to put the reader on a solid foundation. Then they walk you all of the planning you should go through before you undertake your first project - something I feel is overlooked in most of the other discussions I've read.

When it's time to have that kick-off meeting and start development, the authors are once again ready to take you step by step through the process. Smith and Sidky have helped countless companies become Agile, and their experience shows through throughout this book. One of the most valuable pieces of information in this book was the idea that Agile is not an all-or-nothing proposition. Some things may not work for me, or my team, but that won't prevent us from becoming more Agile.

Becoming Agile in an Imperfect world has provided me with all the information and tools necessary to lead my company to a more Agile development environment. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is thinking about becoming Agile. My only complaint (almost enough to remove a star from my review) is that it's a bit too much information. This is a long read - you won't feel very agile trudging through this long text. But ultimately it's worth it, and worth 5-stars.
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