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Practices of an Agile Developer: Working in the Real World (Pragmatic Bookshelf) 1st Edition

37 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0974514086
ISBN-10: 097451408X
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Editorial Reviews


"I was familiar with some of the practices mentioned since I own other books from The Pragmatic Bookshelf, but this book brings a lot of those ideas together and presents them in an clear, concise, organized, format. I would highly recommend this book to a new developer or to a development team that wanted to get 'agile,'."

—Scott Splavec, Senior Software Engineer

"This book helps you understand what you are missing, or what you can do better. Practices of an Agile Developer makes it easy to become agile, or get even better at it."

—Steffen Gemkow, Managing Director, ObjectFab GmbH

About the Author

Venkat Subramaniam, founder of Agile Developer, Inc., has trained and mentored thousands of software developers in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia. Venkat helps his clients effectively apply and succeed with agile practices on their software projects. He is a frequently invited speaker at international software conferences and user groups.

He's author of ".NET Gotchas" (O'Reilly), coauthor of the 2007 Jolt Productivity award-winning book "Practices of an Agile Developer" (Pragmatic Bookshelf), and author of "Programming Groovy" (Pragmatic Bookshelf).

Andy Hunt is a programmer turned consultant, author and publisher. He co-authored the best-selling book "The Pragmatic Programmer", was one of the 17 founders of the Agile Alliance, and co-founded the Pragmatic Bookshelf, publishing award-winning and critically acclaimed books for software developers.


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Product Details

  • Series: Pragmatic Programmers
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf; 1 edition (April 14, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097451408X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0974514086
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By ueberhund VINE VOICE on April 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
In my own work, I am struggling with various agile vs. non-agile practices, but sometimes it can be hard to see why a non-agile practice is worse in the long run than an agile practice. This books goes a long ways toward identifying the problems with non-agile practices by identifying an agile practice, then showing the benefits of following it as well as the result if it isn't followed. Throughout the book, a little angel and a demon show up-the angel illustrating a "good" practice, and the demon illustrating a "bad" practice. This makes the book a fun read and I think really helps in illustrating the authors' points.

The book includes 45 different points that an agile developer should follow. For example, "Criticize Ideas, Not People" and "Keep it Releasable". Each section begins with one of these points, followed by a little demon telling you why you shouldn't follow the agile principle. More often than not, you'll find that the demon's arguments are things you might have heard from your co-workers, managers, or someone else in your work environment. After the authors' explain why the particular agile principle is important, the little angel sums up why the principle is important. Again, it sounds silly, but it's an effective teaching mechanism. It's also a lot of fun when the demon's arguments are ones you've heard before.

In reading the book, I had the sense that the authors were really trying to be unbiased in their discussion of agile. They present some very convincing case studies of how some projects when terribly wrong, and how it could have been prevented with some very simple agile practices. With some books on agile, you have the sense that the authors have never written a line of code in their life. This book was a good reality-check for me.
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47 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Felix Sheng on June 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
I bought this book because I had another Pragmatic Programmer book that I liked and wanted to see what best practices the Agile Developers had in mind. I was really disappointed in it. The short review is that, it's a decent book with a lot of good ideas, but the packaging up of those ideas left some to be desired, I'd recommend going back to the olde thyme Extreme Programming books and read the much more thorough understanding of how to work quickly and efficiently in this environment. This felt a little like cliff notes for Kent Beck's and Martin Fowler's excellent books. (and don't get me wrong, I'm not a crazy xp'er, I just read the books and took the parts that I liked and made sense to me)

The longer review...

The book is composed of tips. Most tips are about 2 to 4 pages, which make for a very quick read. This is both good and bad - it seems very overviewy. The structure of every tip, starts out with the title, a description of the tip and then a "what it feels like" little paragraph that gives you the emotional state you should be in when you are doing this and a "keeping your balance" bullet point. To me it feels very touchy feely/self-helpy and turned me off, but that's just a personal issue - others may find this format very novel and helpful. The length of each tip precludes it from going in depth into any particular one.

The first two chapters "Beginning Agility" and "Feeding Agility" read like some kind of self-help manual. To sum them up they mean to say,"Don't be a jerk to your team." It seems to me, anyone who is reading this book who is always assigning blame, looking for scapegoats, sticking fast to unsupportable claims - they are unlikely to change because the author's suggest that maybe that's not the best way.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By James Holmes on May 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is an absolutely terrific book. It's well-written and lays out 45 essential practices for starting and keeping an agile project rolling.

Each chapter starts out with a very sensible overview, pointing out where the practices for that chapter might fit. Each specific practice is nicely done, with short, to-the-point discussions of what the practice is, how you roll in to it, and how you stay in the groove with that practice.

There's a lot of goodness in the bibliography for additional reading, plus the epilogue, "Moving To Agility" is worth pasting on the foreheads of stubborn mangement who are unwilling to listen to rationale for improving the development environment. The specific steps for rescuing a failing project are terrific, as are the other epilogue sections.

Lastly, there's a nice pull-out reference card with one or two sentance blurbs on each practice.

Sheer gold.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Schreiber on October 17, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book by Venkat Subramanian and Andy Hunt (one of the authors of "Pragmatic Programmer") provides an interesting view into the life of an agile software developer. So many of the misconceptions of what agile development processes are (and aren't) are broken by this book with its clear articulation of the foundational tenets of the concept. Having worked with TJ Hadfield, one of the key fathers of agile development at the C3 project, I can say this book re-enforces much of what I've learned from him and his many years of wisdom and experience.

Too many folks have derided agile software development as a `do whatever you want' process that isn't a process. This book does a good job at clearly stating the goals of an agile developer and walking through what the process means to the developer. It paints the true picture of the process and the foundation: treating developers and responsible professionals capable of implementing a solution without enough information. Agile admits that we'll always be imperfect in defining the specification, so it embraces the concept.

Other key points the book covers includes: Daily stand-up meetings. Finding bugs early. Test driven development. Nightly builds. All with the goal of making a schedule by making lots of little milestones. Plus, putting a process in place that hums along with a rhythm. A nice call-out in the book identifies out practical tools required for the agile developer including the wiki (for documentation), continuous integration, automated build and others.
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