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Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large Enterprises 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0321458193
ISBN-10: 0321458192
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

“Companies have been implementing large agile projects for a number of years, but the ‘stigma' of ‘agile only works for small projects' continues to be a frequent barrier for newcomers and a rallying cry for agile critics. What has been missing from the agile literature is a solid, practical book on the specifics of developing large projects in an agile way. Dean Leffingwell's bookScaling Software Agilityfills this gap admirably. It offers a practical guide to large project issues such as architecture, requirements development, multi-level release planning, and team organization. Leffingwell's book is a necessary guide for large projects and large organizations making the transition to agile development.
-Jim Highsmith, director, Agile Practice, Cutter Consortium, author of Agile Project Management
“There's tension between building software fast and delivering software that lasts, between being ultra-responsive to changes in the market and maintaining a degree of stability. In his latest work,Scaling Software Agility,Dean Leffingwell shows how to achieve a pragmatic balance among these forces. Leffingwell's observations of the problem, his advice on the solution, and his description of the resulting best practices come from experience: he's been there, done that, and has seen what's worked.
-Grady Booch, IBM Fellow

Agile development practices, while still controversial in some circles, offer undeniable benefits: faster time to market, better responsiveness to changing customer requirements, and higher quality. However, agile practices have been defined and recommended primarily to small teams. InScaling Software Agility,Dean Leffingwell describes how agile methods can be applied to enterprise-class development.

  • Part I provides an overview of the most common and effective agile methods.
  • Part II describes seven best practices of agility that natively scale to the enterprise level.
  • Part III describes an additional set of seven organizational capabilities that companies can master to achieve the full benefits of software agility on an enterprise scale.

This book is invaluable to software developers, testers and QA personnel, managers and team leads, as well as to executives of software organizations whose objective is to increase the quality and productivity of the software development process but who are faced with all the challenges of developing software on an enterprise scale.



About the Author 

Part I: Overview of Software Agility
Chapter 1: Introduction to Agile Methods
Chapter 2: Why the Waterfall Model Doesn't Work
Chapter 3: The Essence of XP
Chapter 4: The Essence of Scrum
Chapter 5: The Essence of RUP
Chapter 6: Lean Software, DSDM, and FDD
Chapter 7: The Essence of Agile
Chapter 8: The Challenge of Scaling Agile
Part II: Seven Agile Team Practices That Scale
Chapter 9: The Define/Build/Test Component Team
Chapter 10: Two Levels of Planning and Tracking
Chapter 11: Mastering the Iteration
Chapter 12: Smaller, More Frequent Releases
Chapter 13: Concurrent Testing
Chapter 14: Continuous Integration
Chapter 15: Regular Reflection and Adaptation
Part III: Creating the Agile Enterprise
Chapter 16: Intentional Architecture
Chapter 17: Lean Requirements at Scale: Vision, Roadmap, and Just-in-Time Elaboration
Chapter 18: Systems of Systems and the Agile Release Train
Chapter 19: Managing Highly Distributed Development
Chapter 20: Impact on Customers and Operations
Chapter 21: Changing the Organization
Chapter 22: Measuring Business Performance
Conclusion: Agility Works at Scale


About the Author

Dean Leffingwell is a renowned software development methodologist, author, and software team coach who has spent his career helping software teams meet their goals. He is the former founder and CEO of Requisite, Inc., makers of RequisitePro, and a former vice president at Rational Software, where he was responsible for the commercialization of RUP. During the last five years, in his role as both an independent consultant and as advisor/methodologist to Rally Software, Mr. Leffingwell has applied his experience to the organizational challenge of implementing agile methods at scale with entrepreneurial teams as well as distributed, multinational corporations. These experiences form much of the basis for this book. Mr. Leffingwell is also the lead author of Managing Software Requirements, Second Edition: A Use Case Approach (Addison-Wesley, 2003).


Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (March 8, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321458192
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321458193
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,531 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

43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Bas Vodde on May 2, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've long been switching between 3 or 4 stars rating for this book. So let me start by saying that my 3 starts means that the book is really worth reading, however some parts of the book do not go deep enough, in my opinion.

Scaling Software Agility tackles the question "How to do agile development in large systems". The experience in the book seems to mainly be build on one project in BMC. In the first part of the book, Dean goes over the most popular agile methods and gived a quick introduction. He then attempts to extract common parts for the methods. In part two he picks out 7 practices and claims that they scale without modification. In the last part of the book, he adds 7 new practices, which, in his opinion, are needed for large agile projects.

Personally I've been working with a lot of large agile projects and thus was very interested in this book, especially to learn new things or see if Dean had similar problems. I was slightly dissapointed, but let me explain.

One of the fundamental points in the book is that agile development can be executed on team level. The unit of work is what Dean calls "component teams". In his book, he does not cover the question of code ownership, but the component team organization suggests a traditional organization based on the architecture of the system. This is confirmed by the problems he mentions, which are inherent to component teams. These are the need for more architecture, the need for much dependency management between the component teams and several others. Dean keeps with the traditional methods of organizing projects, he doesn't question it. The component teams thus lose part of the end-customer focus and more management and architecture is needed. Slowly parts of waterfall development are re-emerging.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By M. Skarin on December 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
If you are looking into insights to scaling Agile projects you will be dissapointed.

The auther largly discribes the outlines of different development methodologies in the book, Xp, Scrum, DSDM, RUP. It takes to page 87 before the actual content of the book (scaling) even begins.

But when push comes to shove, the authors silently reverts to the basic monotholic arcitecture message "agile is good in small teams, but shall not be trusted in large environments". That is saying "I have no new insights into managing the impediments of large organisation".

What I was expecting was some new insights into of breaking down communication and cultural barriers that are in the way of scaling Agile projects, lean software techologies in the large etc.

At is best, the book provides a good compilation of development methologies, at it's worst, it mixes up the cards so bad that you will end up even more confused than before you started.

If you are looking into scaling agile, "The Enterprices and scrum" and any of Jeff Sutherlands scrum-of-scrum papers are a better bet.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Gishu Pillai on November 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've had some exposure to agile methods - I'd consider myself leaning heavily towards the XP camp. A bit of Scrum.

This book is no Embrace Change or one of the Poppendieck Lean books. The title promises more than the book can deliver.. For me the book didn't get into the trenches with the various suggestions for scaling.

Scaling agile is a tough job.. In my experience there aren't enough good POs, devs, SMs to go around in a typical organization. The book doesn't even address this important point - the skills gap to bridge the chasm from the Tayloristic organization to empowered self org teams. I've found this to be a big hurdle.

The first section is an overview of the different flavors like XP, Scrum, RUP, etc.. more nice to know than useful.
The new bits were
- the Release Train (which is synchronized teams with predefined milestones w.r.t. content delivery and dates
- Component teams (there are some challenges here when there are multiple client teams for a component team. A strong PO is a must. Otherwise it just descends into chaos and finger pointing.)
- the architecture runway (Once again, it depends on who is sitting in the ivory tower. The flipside, is the architecture "runaway", where the Component teams are just unquestioningly following the pied architect of hamelin.)

I don't feel any more confident that I was before I read the book. Not a lot has changed...
- Agile is hard work... Inspect and adapt.
- You need a balance between upfront design (minimal) and emergent design.
- Estimation and Planning needs to be empirical, mathematics doesn't work. Never did.
- Mastering the iteration aka Execution. To scale, the smallest units need to be good at execution.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Peter Behrens on April 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
As someone who has guided many enterprise organizations in scaling Scrum, this book covers all of the critical roadblocks that are sure to be in your path. Scaling Software Agility is a must read for anyone in a technical or business leadership capacity considering advancing agile beyond a few teams or projects. It combines the organizational influences from Scrum with the development practices of Extreme Programming (XP) and balances it with some of the best practices from the Rational Unified Process (RUP) to provide a scalable agile approach.

Dean Leffingwell eases you into scaling agile in a very comfortable way - first through reviewing many of the existing methods, then through showing how many of the common practices you are implementing today actually scale, and finally through recognizing the key differences and approaches required in scaling agile to a large enterprise. His many years experience in agile (and more importantly non-agile) environments come through in the way he walks you through his discovery of this scalable agile approach.

Dean also doesn't hold back any punches in his critique of agile practices and what is needed, or needs to be changed, to scale them. He is quite direct in his opposition to XP's emergent architectural approach and its inability to scale - rather he introduces Intentional Architecture. Is it too prescriptive to be agile? If you are an enterprise architecture developing systems of systems, you might not think so. Dean provides some excellent ideas to help balance architectural discovery and planning to keep your runway long and clear.

Dean is perhaps best known for his work in Requirements Management.
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