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The Concise Executive Guide to Agile (IEEE CS Press ReadyNotes) Kindle Edition

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Kindle, Kindle eBook, June 27, 2010
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Length: 55 pages
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"The Concise Executive Guide to Agile" by Israel Gat is a must-read for enthusiasts of agile methods at all levels of the organization. Israel has well over 30 years of industry experience, has his PhD in Computer Science, and has helped manage an agile rollout involving 1,000 software developers. While there are many technical and managerial treatises on agile methods emerging in increasing frequency all of the time, Israel's new guide is meant to explain the essence of agile methods to R&D, Marketing, Sales, Program Management, Professional Services, Customer Support, Finance, or IT folks.

Israel's new executive guide starts at the bottom, defining agile as a "software method" and relating it to software development. He also describes the origin of agile methods and their value system (i.e., customer collaboration, iterative and incremental development, teamwork, and flexibility). His guide then sharply rises to what he views as higher-level management concerns. Israel asserts that executives cannot grasp agile methods unless they can be related to an executive's concerns, namely risk, corporate strategy, and organizational culture.

Four broad topics are covered in "The Concise Executive Guide to Agile":

1. Rationale for Agile.
2. Implementing it.
3. Fitting it into your company.
4. Scaling it to the enterprise level.

The "Rationale for Agile" describes the market, business, and technological conditions leading to the demand for agile methods. This includes a brief discussion of the economic costs and benefits of agile methods.

"How to Implement Agile" discusses project selection/justification, risk mitigation strategies, departmental alignment, portfolio management, governance, and IT outsourcing/offshoring.
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My personal journey as a software developer, a manager and an entrepreneur have convinced me of the advantages of Agile methods when they are embraced and applied. In my career I have interacted with hundreds of people and dozens of organizations practicing Agile methods at various levels of understanding and commitment with corresponding levels of success. My experiences have also led me to conclude that a critical success factor, perhaps THE critical factor, is understanding and empowering support from executive management.

'The Concise Executive Guide to Agile' is exactly what the title claims.

Israel outlines the benefits of Agile methods while providing practical executive advice based on data and experience. The delivery maintains the essence of Agile, which is essentially a developers movement, in the context of enabling business value and managing risk, but goes beyond superficial Agile cheerleading. The guide lays a foundation for executives to be comfortable with and unlock the creative potential of the people in their organizations with software processes that empower individuals. The book covers Agile 'What' at the right depth to provide the framework necessary to firmly establish Agile 'Why'.

Recommended reading for any executive whose organization is impacted by software development, especially those considering or in the midst of an Agile adoption. Israel's guide should also be valuable for developers and development managers struggling to win meaningful executive support and alignment with Agile processes.
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By Mic on July 9, 2010
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Whatever role you play at your company, I highly recommend this book. If you are the Agile evangelist, read this book and then give a copy to the decision makers. If you are responsible for signing off on the decision to employ Agile, read this book so that you know what you are getting into and then give a copy to your implementation team. If you are a part of the pioneering implementation team for Agile at your organization, read this book so that you will know what you are up against. It will be worth it.
Many people mistakenly approach Agile as "a thing the engineering team does". This book explains exactly why this thinking will limit your success when adopting Agile methods, and how in fact to best anticipate and approach the coming changes. For those of you who have already gotten Agile off the ground you will learn how to thoroughly incorporate the process into the corporate culture.
The book will help you to flexibly navigate the hurdles inherent in selling and succeeding with Agile in your business: i.e. existing methodologies, outsourcing, diverse geographies, resistance to change, and the rest. They are all explained here by someone who has apparently already successfully fought the battles. A great read!
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By Alan on July 11, 2010
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This is an important book. I'm glad Israel put in the effort to make it short, because that magnifies the significance of his work. For me, this book provided something unique, which is a look into the way high level executives think about Agile. Yes, Israel does a good job of abstracting out the most important concepts about Agile and yes, his real life experiences shine through and add weight and credibility to what he says. However, this book might be the most valuable to those of us who are not senior executives, but who are involved in transforming companies and working with senior executives to do it. It seems to be true that those people, working at a level most of us never reach, think in ways that are unfamiliar to the rest of us, and this book provided me with insight into that thought process and point of view. It will help me to have conversations and to connect with those people who don't live and breathe Agile on a daily basis but who are crucial to the success of Agile initiatives in the enterprise. For that I am indebted to the author for taking the time to create this book. Thanks, Israel.
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