- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (November 11, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0131479415
- ISBN-13: 978-0131479418
- Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 1 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 111 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Agile Estimating and Planning 1st Edition
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From the Back Cover
Praise forAgile Estimating and Planning
"Traditional, deterministic approaches to planning and estimating simply don't cut it on the slippery slopes of today's dynamic, change-driven projects. Mike Cohn's breakthrough book gives us not only the philosophy, but also the guidelines and a proven set of tools that we need to succeed in planning, estimating, and scheduling projects with a high uncertainty factor. At the same time, the author never loses sight of the need to deliver business value to the customer each step of the way."
—Doug DeCarlo, author ofeXtreme Project Management: Using Leadership, Principles and Tools to Deliver Value in the Face of Volatility(Jossey-Bass, 2004)
"We know how to build predictive plans and manage them. But building plans that only estimate the future and then embrace change, challenge most of our training and skills. InAgile Estimating and Planning, Mike Cohn once again fills a hole in the Agile practices, this time by showing us a workable approach to Agile estimating and planning. Mike delves into the nooks and crannies of the subject and anticipates many of the questions and nuances of this topic. Students of Agile processes will recognize that this book is truly about agility, bridging many of the practices between Scrum and ExtremeProgramming."
—Ken Schwaber, Scrum evangelist, Agile Alliance cofounder, and signatory to the Agile Manifesto
"InAgile Estimating and Planning, Mike Cohn has, for the first time, brought together most everything that the Agile community has learned about the subject. The book is clear, well organized, and a pleasant and valuable read. It goes into all the necessary detail, and at the same time keeps the reader's burden low. We can dig in as deeply as we need to, without too much detail before we need it. The book really brings together everything we have learned about Agile estimation and planning over the past decade. It will serve its readers well."
—Ron Jeffries, www.XProgramming.com, author ofExtreme Programming Installed(Addison-Wesley, 2001) andExtreme Programming Adventures in C#(Microsoft Press, 2004)
"Agile Estimating and Planningprovides a view of planning that's balanced between theory and practice, and it is supported by enough concrete experiences to lend it credibility. I particularly like the quote 'planning is a quest for value.' It points to a new, more positive attitude toward planning that goes beyond the 'necessary evil' view that I sometimes hold."
—Kent Beck, author ofExtreme Programming Explained, Second Edition(Addison-Wesley, 2005)
"Up-front planning is still the most critical part of software development. Agile software development requires Agile planning techniques. This book shows you how to employ Agile planning in a succinct, practical, and easy-to-follow manner."
—Adam Rogers, Ultimate Software
"Mike does a great follow-up toUser Stories Appliedby continuing to provide Agile teams with the practical approaches and techniques to increase agility. In this book, Mike provides time-proven and well-tested methods for being successful with the multiple levels of planning and estimating required by Agile. This book is the first to detail the disciplines of Agile estimating and planning, in ways that rival my 1980 civil engineering texts on CPM Planning and Estimating."
—Ryan Martens, President and Founder, Rally Software Development Corporation
"With insight and clarity, Mike Cohn shows how to effectively produce software of high business value. With Agile estimation and planning, you focus effort where it really counts, and continue to do so as circumstances change."
—Rick Mugridge, Rimu Research Ltd., and lead author,Fit for Developing Software(Prentice Hall, 2005)
"Finally! The groundbreaking book my clients have been clamoring for!Agile Estimating and Planningdemystifies the process of defining, driving, and delivering great software that matters to the business. Mike's clarity, insight, and experience leap out through every page of this book, offering an approach that is relevant and immediately useful to all members of an Agile project."
—Kert D. Peterson, President, Enterprise Agile Group, LLC
"This isn't yet another generic book on Agile software development.Agile Estimating and Planningfills a gap left by most of the other books and gives you important, practical, down-to-earth techniques needed to be successful on Agile development projects."
—Steve Tockey, Principal Consultant, Construx Software
"Estimation, planning, and tracking is a trinity. If you don't do one of them, you don't need the other two. This book provides very practical knowledge for estimation, planning, prioritizing, and tracking. It should be compulsory subject matter for project managers and their teams, even if they hesitate to call themselves Agile."
—Niels Malotaux, Project Coach
"Effective planning is an important, but often misunderstood, part of any successful Agile project. WithAgile Estimating and Planning, Mike Cohn has given us a definitive guide to a wide range of Agile estimating and planning practices. With his clear and practical style, Mike not only explains how to successfully get started planning an Agile project, but also provides a wealth of tips and advice for improving any team's Agile planning process. This book is a must-read for managers, coaches, and members of Agile teams."
—Paul Hodgetts, Agile coach and CEO, Agile Logic
"Mike's writing style captures the essence of agility-just the right amount of information to bring clarity to the reader. This book provides an excellent guide for all Agile practitioners, both seasoned and novice."
—Robert Holler, President and CEO, VersionOne, LLC
"It is as if Mike took the distilled knowledge regarding planning and estimation of a great Agile developer (which he is) and laid out all he knows in an easily understandable manner. More importantly, he has a great mix of concepts with real-world examples finished off with a case study so the reader can relate the information to their own situation. Unless you are already an expert Agile planner and estimator, this book is for you."
—Alan Shalloway, CEO, Senior Consultant, Net Objectives, and coauthor ofDesign Patterns Explained, Second Edition(Addison-Wesley, 2005)
"Although I had plenty of XP experience before trying out Mike Cohn's Agile planning practices, the effectiveness of the practical and proven techniques in this book blew me away! The book recognizes that people, not tools or processes, produce great software, and that teams benefit most by learning about their project and their product as they go. The examples in the book are concrete, easily grasped, and simply reek of common sense. This book will help teams (whether Agile or not) deliver more value, more often, and have fun doing it! Whether you're a manager or a programmer, a tester or a CEO, part of an Agile team, or just looking for a way to stamp out chaos and death marches, this book will guide you."
—Lisa Crispin, coauthor ofTesting Extreme Programming(Addison-Wesley, 2003)
"Mike Cohn does an excellent job demonstrating how an Agile approach can address issues of risk and uncertainty in order to provide more meaningful estimates and plans for software projects."
—Todd Little, Senior Development Manager, Landmark Graphics
"Mike Cohn explains his approach to Agile planning, and shows how 'critical chain' thinking can be used to effectively buffer both schedule and features. As withUser Stories Applied, this book is easy to read and grounded in real-world experience."
—Bill Wake, author ofRefactoring Workbook(Addison-Wesley, 2003)
"Mike brings this book to life with real-world examples that help reveal how and why an Agile approach works for planning software development projects. This book has great breadth, ranging from the fundamentals of release planning to advanced topics such as financial aspects of prioritization. I can see this book becoming an invaluable aid to Agile project managers, as it provides a wealth of practical tips such as how to set iteration length and boot-strap velocity, and communicate progress."
—Rachel Davies, Independent Consultant
"There has been a need for a solid, pragmatic book on the long-term vision of an Agile Project for project managers.Agile Estimating and Planningaddresses this need. It's not theory—this book contains project-tested practices that have been used on Agile projects. As Mike's test subjects, we applied these practices to the development of video games (one of the most unpredictable project environments you can imagine) with success."
—Clinton Keith, Chief Technical Officer, High Moon Studios
"When I first heard Mike Cohn speak, I was impressed by a rare combination of qualities: deep experience and understanding in modern iterative and Agile methods; a drive to find and validate easy, high-impact solutions beyond the status quo of traditional (usually ineffective) methods; and the passion and clarity of a natural coach. These qualities are evident in this wonderful, practical guide. I estimate you won't be disappointed in studying and applying his advice."
—Craig Larman, Chief Scientist, Valtech, and author ofApplying UML and Patterns, Third Edition(Prentice Hall, 2005) andAgile and Iterative Development(Addison-Wesley, 2004)
"Agile Estimating and Planningis a critical guide on how to successfully provide value to customers of IT services. This book is filled with clear examples that are essential—from project team members to the executive level."
—Lou Thomas, Director, Applications Development, Farm Credit Services of America
"This work is deeply significant in that it articulates and details structured techniques to realize a simple, but profound insight—planning is an iterative quest for value, rather than a perfunctory scheduling of activities. Mike presents processes to converge on this value while reducing risk and uncertainty, supporting decision making, establishing trust, and conveying information. Agile methodologies have shifted the emphasis from plans to planning, but have glossed over many of the finer details of Agile planning. Now, very simply and accessibly, Mike demonstrates how it can be done."
—Sanjiv Augustine, Practice Director, Lean-Agile Consulting at CC Pace, and author ofManaging Agile Projects(Prentice Hall, 2005)
"The techniques described inAgile Estimating and Planninghave helped us tremendously with planning and managing our projects. It provides all you have ever wanted to know about Agile project management."
—Roman Pichler, Engineering Manager, Siemens Communications
"Mike Cohn presents a highly pragmatic and logical approach to making projects successful in a world beset by uncertainty and change. With his trademark clarity and directness, Mike cuts through the management mumbo jumbo to present practical techniques that can be put into use immediately. Put the odds squarely in your favor by making Mike Cohn the planning guru on your next big project."
—Pete Deemer, Vice President, Product Development, Yahoo!
"This book distills the fundamental ideas behind Agile estimating and planning, presenting them in a thoughtful and approachable manner. This is a 'must-have' book that presents clear, unambiguous, and practical advice for anyone who wants to successfully manage modern software development projects."
—Scott W. Ambler, President, Ambysoft Inc.
"How do your projects go? Frustrating changes? Uncertainty? Product missing both the mark and the deadline? With insight and clarity, Mike Cohn shows how to effectively produce software that is of high business value. With agile estimation and planning, you focus effort where it really counts, and continue to do so as circumstances change."
—Rick Mugridge, Rimu Research Ltd., and lead author ofFit for Developing Software
"We are true believers in the agile methods described in this book, and have experienced a substantially positive impact from their implementation and continued use. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in making their software development more practical and effective."
—Mark M. Gutrich, President and CEO, Fast 401k, Inc.
Detailed, Proven Techniques for Estimating and Planning Any Agile Project
Agile Estimating and Planningis the definitive, practical guide to estimating and planning agile projects. In this book, Agile Alliance cofounder Mike Cohn discusses the philosophy of agile estimating and planning and shows you exactly how to get the job done, with real-world examples and case studies.
Concepts are clearly illustrated and readers are guided, step by step, toward how to answer the following questions: What will we build? How big will it be? When must it be done? How much can I really complete by then? You will first learn what makes a good plan-and then what makes it agile.
Using the techniques inAgile Estimating and Planning, you can stay agile from start to finish, saving time, conserving resources, and accomplishing more. Highlights include:
- Why conventional prescriptive planning fails and why agile planning works
- How to estimate feature size using story points and ideal days—and when to use each
- How and when to re-estimate
- How to prioritize features using both financial and nonfinancial approaches
- How to split large features into smaller, more manageable ones
- How to plan iterations and predict your team's initial rate of progress
- How to schedule projects that have unusually high uncertainty or schedule-related risk
- How to estimate projects that will be worked on by multiple teams
Agile Estimating and Planningsupports any agile, semiagile, or iterative process, including Scrum, XP, Feature-Driven Development, Crystal, Adaptive Software Development, DSDM, Unified Process, and many more. It will be an indispensable resource for every development manager, team leader, and team member.
About the Author
Mike Cohn is the founder of Mountain Goat Software, a process and project management consultancy and training firm. With more than twenty years of experience, Mike has been a technology executive in companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 40s, and is a founding member of the Agile Alliance. He frequently contributes to industry-related magazines and presents regularly at conferences. He is the author of User Stories Applied (Addison-Wesley, 2004).
Top customer reviews
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The good part of this book is the one chapter on estimation and discussion of things like using Fibonacci for bucketing of estimates into story points, the importance of seeing estimates as relative, and the idea of doing planning poker. In short: again, it's an article that was turned into a book by a set of expansion techniques that are astounding for not being illegal, let alone questionable. And all this inside a fortress of testimonials that makes Fort Knox look lightly defended.
Which one does not belong?
Wind and Rain?
Night and Day?
Agile and Project Management?
Storm and Clouds?
What became clear very early on in this book is that Agile as presented is not project management and “Agile and Project Management do not belong together. However, it is also clear the author is wholly ignorant of disciplined project management practices. Reading this book and then compiling notes for this review is like being a mosquito in a nudist colony; Where do I start?
This review, like all previous reviews cannot discuss everything wrong with this book. This book is not intended for anyone wishing to practice disciplined and systematic project management practices. However, if you wish to practice project management that makes no commitments, is absent leadership, disparages management oversight and fosters undisciplined execution, then this is the book for you. If you want more details why project managers should avoid this book, then please continuing reading.
A good first place to start is a base fundamental question: What is a project? The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines a project as: “A project is temporary in that it has a defined beginning and end in time, and therefore defined scope and resources” (1 – see comments). Note the key characteristics of a project: a defined beginning and end and defined scope. Compare this to how this book’s author defines a project on page 10 : “Because we acknowledge that we cannot totally define a project at its outset, it is important that we do not perform all of a project’s planning at the outset.” Note that the author uses the term “project.” This author believes a project is something that cannot be defined at the outset or planned. This authors concept of a project is incorrect and faulty.
Another example of this books inept attempt at describing projects continue. On page 27 the author cites and compares Agile projects with traditional projects. In his comparison he stated that “An agile team knows when they will finish, but not what they will deliver.” Again, the definition of an Agile project is not the PMI definition of a project. More could be said, but it is time to move to scheduling.
This author is completely ill-informed of project management scheduling practices or the disciplines involved and benefits derived from a project schedule. For example, on page 12 he states “When faced with overrunning a schedule, some teams attempt to save time by inappropriately reducing quality.” Only in the undisciplined world of Agile would an author make such an inane statement. A schedule is the time-based plan of the defined project work, not an opportunity to reduce project scope by fiat. On page 237 he makes this comment regarding Gantt charts: “Gantt charts have earned a bad reputation, but this is because of how they are often used to predict, schedule, and coordinate tasks.” What? Read that again, he is apparently against using a schedule to predict schedule progress and coordinate project tasks. What brilliant advice, let’s not use a schedule to predict schedule progress or coordinate project tasks. This renunciation of project scheduling and his overall abdication of Project Management is the next topic. Just to re-cap, with Agile thus far you can throw out the definition of a project and throw out project schedules used for management.
Imagine being a Project Manager of an Agile project and being told you have responsibility for the project, but while executing the project you cannot assign work to individuals nor are you allowed to track individual progress and individuals do not sign up for work until they are ready to work on it. Work is only assigned to teams and if you were to track individual progress that would lead to “evaluation apprehension”, so do not track individual progress. In the University business school this is simply called “Abdication of Management.” But the above is precisely what is championed in this book, an absence of management and accountability (pages 16, 227, 231, 232). Agile is simply absent adult leadership.
Let me answer the question about Agile that comes up frequently in the classroom: Does Agile have any place in Project Management? The short answer is no. Agile and project management are two completely different concepts. But the Agile Approach does have its place and this is for activities in which scope is undefined, budget is flexible and schedule is a moving target. For internal Agile approaches this is easy to manage, but if not internal, then the customer must realize that to start an endeavor with no defined output, no end date and no defined budget is extraordinarily risky. Note that the words “Project Management” did not appear in this paragraph when describing Agile; as it should be.
I have written numerous reviews and there you will find accurate and helpful EVMS books
- Well written and a light read with real pearls of wisdom
- Well explained concepts with examples
- Good primer on Estimation - separating 'duration' from the size and showing how/why it really matters in the long run (of the project)
- Explaining when to estimate and a good 'tutorial' on planning poker and Kano Analysis for prioritizing features/desirability.
- Throws light on the 'Financial Prioritization' - rubbishing the claim that features in agile teams are prioritized as per the whims and fancies of the developers.
- Break downs about planning at multiple levels and what details go in them
- Monitoring and communicating plans - the 'how' and 'what' to do
I keep referring to the book - because it's really NOT about planning & estimating 'agile projects' - it's about how to be agile with the planning/estimating activity itself. You could use a lot of ideas (especially Kano Analysis, Planning Poker etc.,) and augment it with the approach in your organization (or your own planning exercise) to help communicate the plans/ideas more effectively.
Do keep in mind, however - this is NOT a silver bullet that'd end the planning woes encountered in today's software development projects. The case study in the end is too idealistic where everybody is just 'willing' to participate and do it perfectly in lock step synchrony! (It's really difficult to find such software developers in the real world). However, the intent of the case study is to elucidate the concepts covered in the book and hence is a good summary of the ideas presented.
There is nothing in the book that says what to do if the client doesn't know what he/she wants? IKIWISI = I'll know it when I'll see it - It doesn't cover anything about prototyping to get the requirements/user stories - it probably assumes that you can get them elicited with ease and moves on from there. In my opinion/experience there is a great deal of concurrency/backtracking with the initial prototyping and eliciting the user stories - an iterative exercise. Once you do those you are probably a bit better off with being able to 'guestimate' the story points.
Kano Analysis has known to be around for quite a while and I was aware of it's use in KJ analysis (VOC+ KJ + Kano + Conjoint analysis that is part of the 6-sigma process) - however, it was a refreshing thought to be useful for just about every software product and it could be done without much overhead (actually the overhead is there, however, if the planning is done as a team, it'd be lighter :) Creating the questionnaire for Kano analysis itself takes some time/effort - but is easier once the stories are there. But 'shortening' it to be an 'agile' questionnaire DOES take time/effort. More so based on the feedback you get you may want to update it! But it's worth knowing and probably considering during the planning and user-story elicitation - just before prioritizing!
All in all a great read with REAL practical and workable advice/knowledge!