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Liftoff: Launching Agile Teams & Projects Paperback – October 31, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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About the Author

A founder of FutureWorks Consulting in Portland, Oregon, Diana Larsen partners with leaders around the world to design work systems, improve team performance, and transition to Agile methods. Diana co-authored Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great and Quickstart Guide to Five Rules for Accelerated Learning. She also co-created the influential Agile Fluency model.

As principal of Acorn Consulting, Ainsley Nies' work focuses on developing sustainable work environments for learning and improvement. With more than 20 years' experience as a program/project manager in a Fortune 100 company, Ainsley enables clients to capitalize on the insights they have and discover the knowledge they need. She teaches a variety of agile management courses in university programs.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 170 pages
  • Publisher: Onyx Neon Press (October 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 097792016X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977920167
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #284,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

From the Publisher

Liftoff Creating Great Teams Real-World Kanban Lean from the Trenches Manage Your Project Portfolio, 2nd edition
Liftoff Creating Great Teams Real-World Kanban Lean from the Trenches Manage Your Project Portfolio, 2nd edition
Covers Align your team to one purpose: successful delivery. Start projects and teams the right way, with expanded concepts for planning, organizing, and conducting liftoff meetings. People are happiest and most productive if they can choose what they work on and who they work with. Self-selecting teams give people that choice - here's how to set them up. People are happiest and most productive if they can choose what they work on and who they work with. Self-selecting teams give people that choice - here's how to set them up. When systems need a serious overhaul, you need to see how it works in real life, with real situations and people. See how to deliver a successful project using Lean principles. You have too many projects, and firefighting and multitasking are keeping you from finishing any of them. Discover agile and lean ways to collect all your work and decide which projects you should do first, second, and never.
Page count 150 102 138 178 240

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Liftoff is a wonderful little book that probably isn't getting enough attention. Regrettable. The authors Diana Larsen and Ainsley Nies are skilled facilitators and coaches and they got to write a book about starting agile teams or projects. Diana Larsen is known for her excellent Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great and Liftoff is similar in its concreteness. It is one of these books that, as a facilitator, you take with you and browse and at times simply copy to experiment with the ideas in it.

Probably one reason the book is not getting the attention is deserves (as far as I can see) is its title. The authors chose to use the term "liftoff" which is a new term over more descriptive titles such as "starting agile teams" or "agile chartering". They seem to have done so to not limit the scope and try to include all kind of kick-offs in the book. Personally, I think a bit more focus would have improved the book. Personally I think it should have been called "agile chartering" as more than half of the book is about that. Anyways, liftoff it is :)

The book consists of 2 parts and a bunch of appendixes. The first part is about Liftoffs in general and the second part about Agile chartering. The first part contains five chapters which describe what a liftoff is, what kind of liftoffs there are and how to plan, design and improve using liftoffs to launch teams.

The second part is about chartering. The authors define the PAC model, which stands for Purpose, Alignment, and Context. These are the parts that need to be clarified during the Agile Chartering session and each of these has its own chapter.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I see it all the time in my agile coaching. Teams who, in their effort to be agile and get going, start sprinting/iterating too soon--before they know where they're going. It feels good to be moving, developing working software--so often this is the attraction. It's an intoxicating combination of feel good forward progress on the part of the team and leadership.

But more times than not, the team started too soon. They're building software but they haven't connected it towards the customers higher level problems & needs--so they're not delivering the value the customer desperately needs. Nor can they communicate what they'll deliver for a "release" and when.

They should have listened to Stephen Covey - about "Beginning with the End in Mind".

And they should have read this book. Diana and Ainsley have written what I think is the seminal work on how to properly START agile projects. They put a focus on the front of the line that is necessary and welcome.

Should every agile project perform a Liftoff? Probably not. But for the vast majority that should...this is the guide for how to get your goals established and feet underneath you before you start iterating towards delivery. How to charter to connect the team to the business and have a clarity around expectations.

And it's effective as a project recovery mechanism as well, for when you've started too soon but realize that fact and want to realign your efforts. So new liftoffs and recovery liftoffs are covered.

For me, if you're an agile coach, product owner, scrum master or literally anyone who is charged with starting agile projects, this book is a must read. And if you're a traditional project manager who is familiar with the notion of Project Charters, then this book will help map that knowledge to agile contexts. Either way, let's start Beginning with the End in Mind.

Bob.
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Format: Paperback
Diana Larsen and Ainsley Nies' Liftoff is destined to be vital book for any team -- agile and otherwise -- that values collaboration and starting smart. Diana and Ainsley reach into their vast store of experience and wisdom to share essential practices to launch teams through agile chartering. They explain how to plan, design and facilitate activities for these critical chartering elements: purpose, alignment, and context. Diana and Ainsley explain the "what"s and "why"s, sprinkled with useful stories to underscore the rationale for this important work. Liftoff will raise your awareness of--and appreciation for--the simple yet profound imperative to launch teams so they truly ascend to great work and joyful collaborations.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Need help getting a new team off the ground -- or -- perhaps an existing team is struggling to deliver? This wonderful little book has a lot of wisdom to offer for anyone, team member, team leader, team executive, who is looking for a better way. There are exercises galore and lots of good stories, I mean, case studies. Buy it. Use it.
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Wonderful guide on applying an agile mindset to product development.
A practical hands-on framework with explanations on why each element is necessary and how it fits into the whole through the chartering process. This is not a philosophical guide but a go-to hand-book.
Author Ainsley is a great professor, too.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
During our Agile Management course, we followed this book for our studies, and Ainsley was one of our instructors, too. I recommend the book to everyone, and more than that, I recommend taking classes from her, too.

Important part is the beginning for any project, if you do it right, then you the rest of the project life cycle can go smoothly. By giving advises about how to handle different cases especially during liftoff, this book shows right direction to team members. And at the end of the book, there are some sample charters are given, they summarize: how important the chartering is and how easy it is if the steps described in the book are followed.

Some feedback: I have the Kindle version: remaining minutes and percentages are not showing correctly; always shows 1 or 2 minutes left on chapter. And I recommend someone non-technical should read the book: some sentences and maybe some paragraphs should be re-written: since I am technical it was easy to understand, what the sentence or paragraph intended; sometimes it requires to stop, to re-read and to think.
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