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Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practices for Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise (Agile Software Development Series) 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321635846
ISBN-10: 0321635841
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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Agile Software Requirements


“In my opinion, there is no book out there that more artfully addresses the specific needs of agile teams, programs, and portfolios all in one. I believe this book is an organizational necessity for any enterprise.”

Sarah Edrie, Director of Quality Engineering, Harvard Business School


Agile Software Requirements and Mr. Leffingwell’s teachings have been very influential and inspiring to our organization. They have allowed us to make critical cultural changes to the way we approach software development by following the framework he’s outlined here. It has been an extraordinary experience.”

Chris Chapman, Software Development Manager, Discount Tire


“This book supplies empirical wisdom connected with strong and very well-structured theory of succeeding with software projects of different scales. People new to agile, practitioners, or accomplished agilists–we all were waiting for such a book.”

Oleksandr (Alex) Yakyma, Agile Consultant, www.enter-Agile.com


“This book presents practical and proven agile approaches for managing software requirements for a team, collaborating teams of teams, and all across the enterprise. However, this is not only a great book on agile requirements engineering; rather, Leffingwell describes the bigger picture of how the enterprise can achieve the benefits of business agility by implementing lean product development flow. His ‘Big Picture’ of agile requirements is an excellent reference for any organization pursuing an intrinsically lean software development operational mode. Best of all, we’ve applied many of these principles and practices at Nokia (and even helped create some of them), and therefore we know they work.

Juha-Markus Aalto, Agile Change Program Manager, Nokia Corporation


“This pragmatic, easy-to-understand, yet thought-provoking book provides a hands-on guide to addressing a key problem that enterprises face: How to make requirements practices work effectively in large-scale agile environments. Dean Leffingwell’s focus on lean principles is refreshing and much needed!”

Per Kroll, author, and Chief Architect for Measured Improvements, IBM


“Agile programming is a fluid development environment. This book serves as a good starting point for learning.”

Brad Jackson, SAS Institute Inc.


“Dean Leffingwell captures the essence of agile in its entirety, all the way from the discrete user story in the ‘trenches’ to complex software portfolios at the enterprise level. The narrative balances software engineering theory with pragmatic implementation aspects in an easy-to-understand manner. It is a book that demands to be read in a single sitting.”

Israel Gat, http://theAgileexecutive.com, @Agile_exec on Twitter


“An incredibly complete, clear, concise, and pragmatic reference for agile software development. Much more than mere guidelines for creating requirements, building teams, and managing projects, this reference work belongs on the bookshelf of anyone and everyone involved with not only agile processes but software development in general.”

R.L. Bogetti, Lead System Designer, Baxter Healthcare


“This book covers software requirements from the team level to program and portfolio levels, including the architecture management and a consistent framework for the whole enterprise. We have practiced the multi-team release planning and the enterprise-level architecture work with kanban and achieved instant success in our organization. Combining the principles of the product development flow with the current large-scale agile and lean software development is a really novel concept. Well worth reading and trying out the ideas here.”

Santeri Kangas, Chief Software Architect, and Gabor Gunyho, Lean Change Agent, F-Secure Corp.


“Dean Leffingwell and his Agile Release Train (ART) concept guides us from teamlevel agile to enterprise-level agile. The ART concept is a very powerful tool in planning and managing large software programs and helps to identify and solve potential organizational roadblocks–early.”

Markku Lukkarinen, Head of Programs, Nokia Siemens Networks

About the Author

Dean Leffingwell, a thirty-year software industry veteran, has spent his career helping software teams achieve their goals. A renowned methodologist, author, coach, entrepreneur, and executive, he founded Requisite, Inc., makers of RequisitePro, and served as its CEO. As vice president at Rational Software (now part of IBM), he led the commercialization of the Rational Unified Process. As an independent consultant and as an advisor to Rally Software, he has helped entrepreneurial teams and large, distributed, multinational corporations implement Agile methods at scale. He is the author of Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large Enterprises (Addison-Wesley, 2007) and is the lead author of Managing Software Requirements, Second Edition (Addison-Wesley, 2003), which has been translated into five languages.


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Product Details

  • Series: Agile Software Development Series
  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (January 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321635841
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321635846
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T Anderson VINE VOICE on November 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I still remember the first few pages of Managing Software Requirements: A Unified Approach (The Addison-Wesley Object Technology Series). I was in BWI waiting on my daughter's flight to arrive. The book opened with such a great beginning I knew I was going to love it. In a nutshell what I heard the authors say was we have years of experience that you don't, let us show you what we have learned so you don't have to repeat our mistakes. That is my number one reason for reading books. The message at the beginning of this book is the same.

I feel this is the first complete book on what an enterprise level agile process should look like. What baffles me is the number of enterprises I have been in that have not come close to implementing 10% of the process this book outlines, yet they call themselves agile and lean. The one thing this book brings to light is just how complex and advanced agile processes are. Like the book says, "it is not easy, it is agile".

This book has the caveat that certain skills are required for the agile teams to be successful. I agree with that completely. The thing I have a hard time with is the fact that agile processes assume such skill sets are readily available. They aren't. That is why I see such a mess in 90% of the attempts I have seen when enterprises attempt to go agile. Almost all of them will claim to be successful at implementing their agile processes, but budgets and bugs don't lie. Agile does not equate to simple or easy, actually the opposite is true.

So then does that mean agile methods should be avoided and this book is not worth reading? Absolutely not. It is one of the few books that may just help you implement a successful agile enterprise environment.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I believe Dean Leffingwell has a solid grasp of the issues that face agile and, in particular, Scrum as it scales. He does well in basing his approach on the the thoughts of people like Donald Reinertsen. However, I can give the book only three stars as I disagree with Mr. Leffingwell in several important aspects.

First area is the people Mr. Leffingwell left out. If one is going to talk about scaling software development, one must at least engage Fred Brooks and his recent work, The Design of Design. Even if you disagree with Mr. Brooks' position that a single mind is required for conceptual integrity (at a given level of abstraction), you need to more than throw an agile principle at his well reasoned thought.

Then there is Tom Gilb. Mr. Gilb was agile for there was an agile. I feel that anybody who wants to talk seriously about scaling and agile needs to engage Mr. Gilb's position on requirements and their being testable at any level of abstraction. Again, you may disagree but not to consider it seems a huge oversight. His design impact estimation would be a perfect add to an architecture workshop.

A second area is the lack of testability at the higher levels of abstraction. Given a features approach, it seemed to me that Mr. Leffingwell had a hard time describing how to test things at the highest level. If, instead, he had the higher levels focus more on the problem and the (non-function) characteristics that made the client/customer/user feel the products would solve their problem, then coming up with tests is not that difficult. You can let an architecture "emerge" to the degree you have well designed tests that state that whatever emerges, must pass the tests!

A third area is Mr. Leffingwell's approach to requirements.
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Format: Hardcover
Although many might tend to limit the concept of agile requirements to "user stories", this book reminds us that there could be more than just a post-it on an information radiator when we talk about requirements. The title of one of the initial chapters is "The Big Picture of Agile Requirements" and this book provides it, together with the small details that can help you write better stories.

Dean Leffingwell describes the general context of managing requirements in organizations based on a three levels view: portfolio, program and team. The concept of requirements is different at each of these levels: from the investment themes and epics of the enterprise strategy to the user stories implemented by teams during Scrum sprints. An interesting concept developed in the book is the Agile Release Train (ART) that aggregates user stories in features set. The goal is to adjust the team's capacity to produce software with the ability of customers to absorb it.

The book is very well written, achieving balance between a structured approach and easiness to read. It contains many case studies, templates and sample agenda that help relate the ideas expressed with the daily activities. Three appendixes at the end propose interviews and document templates, along with a release-planning checklist.

This book provides a detailed and extensive study of the agile gathering and management of requirements in enterprises and I will recommend it to everybody involved in some software requirement activity, from the business analyst to the project manager or developer.
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