- Hardcover: 280 pages
- Publisher: J. Ross Publishing (October 1, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1604270314
- ISBN-13: 978-1604270310
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
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The Business Value of Agile Software Methods: Maximizing ROI with Just-in-Time Processes and Documentation Hardcover – October 1, 2009
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This reference shows that agile methods are based on systematic values, principles, and discipline, and, more importantly, it demonstrates that agile methods are rightsized, just-enough, just-in-time approaches for maximizing the business value of new product development. --Dr. Jeffrey V. Sutherland, Co-Creator of Scrum, CEO, Scrum, Inc.
This comprehensive treatment of agile management, engineering, and documentation, with special references to the military and government domains is a stupendous work! There is a comparative study of agile methods along with surveys, metrics, and other financial analysis that will impress your inner actuary. --Sanjiv Augustine, President, LitheSpeed and Author, Managing Agile Projects
… brings together key data and useful business metrics to help shed light on the success of agile methods in the software industry. I highly recommend it. --Gabrielle Benefield, Certified Scrum Trainer, Scrum Training Institute
About the Author
Dr. David F. Rico, PMP, CSM, has been a technical leader in support of NASA, DARPA, DISA, SPAWAR, USAF, AFMC, NAVAIR, CECOM, and MICOM for over 25 years. He has led, managed, or participated in over 20 organization change initiatives using Agile methods, Lean Six Sigma, ISO 9001, CMMI, SW-CMM, Enterprise Architecture, Baldrige, and DoD 5000. Dr. Rico specializes in IT investment analysis, IT project management, and IT-enabled change. He has been an international keynote speaker, published numerous articles, and written or contributed to six textbooks. David holds a B.S. in Computer Science, an M.S. in Software Engineering, and a D.M. in Information Systems. Dr. Hasan H. Sayani has been in industry and academia for over 40 years. His interests are in information systems, information systems development, life cycle methods and tools, and semantic database management systems. Dr. Sayani has taught at the University of Maryland College Park in the Information Systems Management program. He co-founded a firm which built systems for various commercial and governmental organizations. Dr. Sayani has participated in various professional and standardization organizations (e.g., IEEE, ACM, CASE, ANS, CODASYL, DoD, CALS, etc.). Hasan holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Dr. Saya Sone, PMP, has worked for multiple Fortune 500 companies, such as CSC, BT, and AOL. She has led numerous data center design, software development, marketing, and customer support projects. Dr. Sone managed a corporate-wide rollout of Agile methods and Scrum at a major U.S. e-commerce firm. Her field of specialty is Agile Project Management. Saya holds an M.A. in Project Management, a D.B.A. in Information Systems and is also a Certified Scrum Practitioner.
Top customer reviews
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The book consists of 24 chapters and one appendix, more than are necessary to present the core information in the book. The book is very repetitive in its exposition of book content.
The first contribution of the book is to introduce and provide a high-level description of what are considered five major agile software methods: SCRUM, Extreme Programming (XP), Dynamic Systems Development, Feature Driven Development and Crystal Methods. Paradoxically, the latter three agile software methods were not considered in the book again!
The second and most important contribution of this book is the development and exposition of a model to determine the business value of various agile software methods. The "VersionOne 11th Annual State of Agile Survey" (published in 2017) reports that the business value measure is the second most frequently used measure of agile initiative success.
The authors present and apply this model to five agile software methods: Paired Programming (PP), Test-Driven Development (TDD), Extreme Programming (XP), SCRUM, and Agile Methods (i.e., agile software methods in general). The data used in the model specification is based on the Average Productivity (Source Lines of Code [SLOC] per Hour and Average Defect Density (Defects per 1000 Lines of Code [KLOC]) measures synthesized from 29 studies of such data for PP, TDD, XP, SCRUM and Agile Methods.
The model presents three mathematical methods for computing business value: Return on Investment (ROI), Net Present Value (NPV) and Real Options Analysis (ROA). The ROI computation is based on cost and benefit data for each agile software method considered but tends to be over-optimistic when applied to these methods. The NPV computation uses four parameters: Initial Cost ($) in using a given agile method, the Benefits ($) accrued in using a given agile method, the Discount Rate (%) / Inflation Rate (%) and the Years over the analysis time period (i.e., the number of years of discount / inflation considered). However, NPV fails to consider risk in determining the business value of agile software methods.
The risk component is the advantage of the ROA measure. ROA uses the same parameters as NPV with the addition of a fifth parameter, Risk (%), but with an entirely different mathematical formula. Application and practice demonstrate that ROA provides the best estimate of business value for agile software methods.
The book is highly redundant in presenting the computations of the three business values for the PP, TDD, XP, SCRUM and Agile Methods. It was not until I constructed a single Excel spreadsheet, which computes the ROI, NPV and ROA for all five agile methods, that I realized this book is significant. Without doing so, it is not readlly apparent, at least to this reviewer, that the book makes a significant contribution to the software engineering literature.
From the spreadsheet I constructed, the rank order of business value applied to the five agile software methods, based on the ROA computations, is:
1. XP (highest rank)
2. Agile Methods
5. SCRUM (lowest rank)
Ironically, SCRUM is the most frequently used agile software method -- 58% of the time -- on agile software projects according to the "VersionOne 11th Annual State of Agile Survey". This survey also reports that the XP / SCRUM Hybrid Method is used 10% of the time.
The Pros of this book are:
1. The model for computing business value for agile software methods is a significant contribution to the software engineering literature and is the second most frequently used measure of agile initiative success.
2. The model is useful and may be applied to the portfolio of agile software projects during the corporate budgeting process.
3. The model is also useful and applicable by software outsourcing vendors when negotiating contracts with potential clients.
The Cons of this book are serious:
1. Most serious: The Average Productivity = 0.8507 SLOC per Hour and the Average Defect Density = 33.3333 Defects per KLOC measures stated for traditional methods were apparently never cited nor attributed to any specific study or research artifact in the book. The model uses these measures as the basis for computing the Benefits for each agile software method, given the agile method's Cost parameter. I crosschecked these measures with similar data in the software engineering literature. In particular, for CMMI Maturity Level 1 software organizations, the Average Productivity is 2.344 SLOC per Hour and Average Defect Density is 17 Defects per KLOC for Java applications, based on data in the book "Estimating Software Costs, Second Addition" by Capers Jones.
2. The book's expansion of the NPV mathematical formula is incorrect! Specifically, the denominator SUM(i, 1, Years, ((1 + Rate) ** i)) in the NPV computation does not reduce to the single expression ((1 + Rate) ** 5), as used in the book. In fact, four other mathematical terms are omitted in the expanded NPV mathematical formula used in the book. Fortunately, the authors use the Excel Spreadsheet NPV function to correctly compute the NPV value for the five agile software methods.
3. The book is highly redundant in two ways: ( a) The phrase "right-sized, just-enough, and just-in-time" is repeated ad-infinitum throughout the book. (b) The business value computations are over-elaborated through their exposition for the five agile software methods considered.. A better approach would be to present and apply the model to one agile software method and then present a single spreadsheet showing the applicable spreadsheet cell formulas and resulting business values for all five agile methods. I believe this would reduce the book length by at least 25%.
In conclusion, I highly recommend this book to the software management professional and software outsourcing vendor who wish to learn and apply it in his / her business context. This implies that such software organizations collect productivity and defect density data in their portfolio of agile software projects over time in order to determine the Average Productivity and Average Defect Density measures on which the Rico Model depends for determining the business values. I give the book a 4-Star rating. It would be a 5-Star rating but the Cons listed above are serious enough not to justify a 5-Star Rating. Overall, the book is worth the purchase price and the time for the software professional who studies it and applies it in his / her business context.
For the ROI of agile methods, the authors present clear techniques for calculating business value as well as agile's historical performance with respect to ROI, using case studies and surveys to support their research. Also included are the measures of agile methods and how these can be compared (favorably) to traditional methods. For completeness, the authors cover software engineering, tools and technologies, software engineering and project management.
Each area of agile is covered in a chapter, often 8 - 10 pages, and there are 24 chapters. As such, this book is able to offer the reader education and analysis of many areas of agile, but summarize it in less than 10 pages so as to make it a quick read. While I read it straight through and enjoyed it, I think I'll use it even more as a reference to look-up information going forward.
I think this book is ideal for a novice who wants a short-and-sweet overview of what agile is, where it came from and its core values. The middle to latter sections might be a bit much for a novice as more advanced topics are covered, but not necessarily depending on their background. Readers with a business background including project management will appreciate the author's efforts to show agile methods in light of traditional "waterfall" practices and measurements.
This book will also be ideal for the agile change agents who have been wanting to show that agile really does outperform traditional methods. The authors have gathered data from numerous agile surveys and projects to present a compelling case that agile projects have higher benefits, lower costs and risks than traditional methods.
Overall I think this book will be a compelling read for agile enthusiasts of all stripes.
The book also unravels the practical side of project management processes by showing the similarities in language, terminology, and frameworks typically found in PMI's Project Management Body of Knowledge. It describes simple project management practices for agile software development projects, using built-in project management frameworks for planning and execution processes. If you wonder how to measure progress, return on investment, or how to get started with agile methods, this book has your answers.
Winston Gonzalez, President, Zeenie Enterprises LLC (ZeLLCo)