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Individuals and Interactions: An Agile Guide 1st Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321714091
ISBN-10: 0321714091
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

“In my opinion, this is the handbook for Agile teams. I have been wishing for this book since we implemented Agile several years ago. In many Agile process books, the team aspect of Agile has been glossed over in favor of the technical aspects; this book is a welcome change.”

--Sarah Edrie, Director of Quality Engineering, Harvard Business School


“Cloud Computing, Distributed Architecture, Test Driven Development...these are simple to master compared to building an agile, efficient, and top-performing team. The path from skilled developer/tester to successful manager, team leader, and beyond is now more easily attainable with the insights, knowledge, and guidance provided by Ken Howard and Barry Rogers in Individuals and Interactions: An Agile Guide.”

--R.L. Bogetti, www.RLBogetti.com, Lead System Designer, Baxter Healthcare


“This book provides fantastic insight on how individuals act and relate as a team. Ken and Barry give great examples and exercises to help the reader understand behaviors of each individual and use this knowledge to perform better as a team.”

--Lisa Shoop, Director Product Development, Sabre-Holdings


Individuals and Interactions is a masterfully crafted must-read for anyone who is serious about understanding and applying the human-centered values of Agile development. It is like Patrick Lencioni meets the Poppendiecks to write ‘Agile through the Looking-Glass.’ Here the ‘Looking-Glass’ is the powerful DISC framework, and we see it used to enable different kind of TDD (Team-Driven Development) through the use of stories, examples, models, and guidance.”

--Brad Appleton, Agile coach/consultant in a Fortune 100 telecom company; coauthor of Software Configuration Management Patterns


“This book is essential reading for any engineering team that’s serious about Agile development. Its chapters on team dynamics and development lay the foundation for learning all of the factors that enable a team to transform itself into an Agile success story.”

--Bernard Farrell, Consultant Software Engineer at EMC Corporation


Great emphasis is typically placed on the “mechanics” of agile development--its processes and tools. It’s easy to forget that the Agile Manifesto values individuals and interactions ahead of processes and tools. You can gain powerful benefits by refocusing on the people side of agile development.


This book will show you how. It’s your practical user’s guide to solving the problems agile teams encounter, packed with stories, best practices, exercises, and tips you can actually use. Step by step, you’ll learn how to get teams to truly work as teams, not as disconnected individuals. Along the way, you’ll find profoundly realistic advice on communication, motivation, collaboration, change, group dynamics, and much more.


Whether you are an agile project manager, ScrumMaster, product owner, developer, trainer, or consultant, this book will help you make your agile environment more productive, more effective, and more personally fulfilling.



About the Author

Ken Howard works at Improving Enterprises, where he specializes in helping companies increase productivity through efficient practices and pragmatic organizational dynamics. Ken has been involved in most aspects of software development for more than 26 years with such languages as diverse as COBOL, Smalltalk, and Java. Over the years Ken has provided consulting, training, and mentoring to companies in 12 countries around the world, helping with adoption of software development best practices. He eagerly embraced the opportunity to share many of the things he has learned with a broader audience through the publication of this book.


Barry Rogers is President of Improving Enterprises, Dallas, Texas. He is an accomplished Certified ScrumMaster and Certified Scrum Practitioner. Barry supports clients in both a hands-on and mentorship/coaching capacity, helping teams adopt agile/Scrum and improve human dynamics. Barry is a Speaker and also facilitates leadership, agile, and project management training sessions.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (April 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321714091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321714091
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.6 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,089,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
You all probably know this sentence:

"Individuals and interactions over processes and tools", but for those who don't, this is the first point of Agile Manifesto, a set of principles defining agile software development. And if I had to describe or review this book in one sentence, this one would be the best to describe content and general philosophy of this title.

In my opinion most of the books regarding Agile are about other four principles and the first one is somehow forgotten and neglected. But "Individuals and Interactions: An Agile Guide" is quite different as it (as title might suggest :) ) concentrates mostly on people as a team members. It shows how to take advantage of differences in developers personalities, how easily find and use "work-arounds" for those differences that might cause some trouble and ferment among the team and how to prepare to conflicts that might occur so they won't distract members of team from doing their job. And last but not least, it shows how to motivate people in a various ways and create effectively working and well communicating team from different personalities without leaving anyone feeling used, ignored or alienated.

And everything I've mentioned above is presented in an interesting form divided into two main parts. First one describes all mechanisms and interactions that occur inside the team so reader can understand them. This part is theoretical but written from the perspective of coach or mentor whose responsibility is to improve skills of team members so we have step by step real life scenario describing what actions was taken and why to increase team quality.
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Format: Paperback
"Individuals and Interaction - An Agile Culture" is like two short books in one. The first half is basically a business book with a little about agile. The major parts are DISC personality profiles, how they affect team dynamics, how people react to change, etc. There were some references to agile, but agile serves more as a backdrop/story since the major points apply in general. The second half is a facilitator's guide to communication/teambuilding exercises.

The book was easy to read and has good points. I was worried when the introduction had the last paragraph repeat twice, but the rest of the book was solid.

Even though the facilitator's guide part of the book doesn't apply to everyone, it is worth buying the book for the first part alone. The agile backdrop is a nice way to keep techie's attention through a soft skills book. That said, given the choice, I'd probably buy a book that focused on the communication techniques throughout the whole book.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for writing this review on behalf of CodeRanch.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had the pleasure of hearing Barry Rogers and Ken Howard speak at a recent regional conference and that lead me to read their new book Individuals and Interactions, An Agile Guide. The book is a gem. With so many books focused on the practice side of agility, it is refreshing to see a new book focused on the people side.

A recurring theme in the book is the DiSC framework to assess one's primary and secondary behavioral styles in the workplace. I apparently am an "Si", meaning my primary style is Steadiness with secondary style of Influence, and my priorities tend to focus on Enthusiasm, Collaboration, and Support. I found the model intriguing and plan on learning more about it.

Even though the book deals with the messy, touchy-feely people side of agility, Ken and Barry take a very pragmatic approach toward discussing such things as team dynamics, communication, collaboration and team behaviors. Their use of real world examples taken from their considerable experience is very helpful in framing their discussions, and I particularly like their convention of closing comments at the end of each chapter to restate their key points.

To cap things off, the authors include a "Workshop" as the final section of the book, providing a extensive set of exercises, complete with facilitator instructions, that ably demonstrate the discussions throughout the rest of the book. The Bridge Building exercise has already become my favorite. Building bridges from plastics straws, rubber bands, paper clips and cellophane tape, teams get a firsthand, up close and personal look at the behaviors of self-organizing, self-directing teams in a way that no amount of discussion would close to matching.

Individuals and Interactions is a straightforward, plain language discussion of some very sensitive topics that I think anyone focused on growing agile teams will find to be a great resource.
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Format: Paperback
The book makes an honest semi-scientific attempt to figure out why some teams are successful and
some others aren't. Given an ordinary team in an organization, is it possible to make it better
and, on the other hand, prevent it from falling apart? In order to answer this question,
the authors categorize individuals into 4 categories (DISC classification), and analyse how
they interact pair-wise, and as a whole.

The second part of the book consists of lab exercises for those people who want to try it within their

The only frustrating things about the book is that authors don't give clear answer whether
these suggestions helped anyone in real life. But what they say makes perfect sense, nonetheless.
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