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Agile books

Mark Herschberg

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
I searched this forum and the bunkhouse, but I would like opinions of others specific to the following question:

I am working for a large, well known, 100+ year old Fortune 50 company. While the development team knows Java (and even recent open source technologies like hibernate--for a Fortune 50, hibernate is recent), they also regularly work with mainframes, COBOL, etc. They SDLC overview is about 30 pages. A typical project involves a mountain of forms.

I'm trying to get them to use an agile methodology. Can anyone recommend some books for the following groups: architects / developers, business analysts, and managers? I want to get a couple of books that people can quickly read to get an initial sense of what agile is about and how it works. I'll be developing a blended agile methodology, so don't worry about whether it's specifically XP, Scrum, Crystal, etc.


Peer Reynders

Joined: Aug 19, 2005
Posts: 2922
As an overall intro Craig Larman's Agile and Iterative Development: A Manager's Guide (amazon US) seems to get a lot of good press (I haven't bothered with it - when it was published I wasn't looking for introductory material); considering his other work I would expect it on the conservative side however this might be helpful when you are trying to convince a conservatively minded audience.

Alistair Cockburn's Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game (2nd Edition) (amazon US) is a good choice.

For developers Kent Beck's Extreme Programming Explained: Embrace Change (amazon US) should be pretty compelling � I don�t believe that it would leave the desired impression on managers, analysts and architects.

Robert C. Martin's Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices (amazon US) is more about agile development practices rather than methodology.

There are lots of other good books, however I'm finding it difficult to pick any one that is utterly easy to understand and irrefutably convincing.

Scott Ambler's websites are a good source for lots of short and to the point essays on various "agile" topics.
Scott Ambler�s Web Site
Agile Modeling Home Page
Agile Unified Process
Agile Data Home Page
Agile Enterprise Architecture

The ObjectMentor website also has some good resources.

The Agile Architect

In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, general and president (1890 - 1969)
[ May 01, 2007: Message edited by: Peer Reynders ]
Lasse Koskela

Joined: Jan 23, 2002
Posts: 11962
Larman's book has been "the" introductory material for a European Fortune 500 company, too. Its approach is good in that it doesn't just sell one process such as Scrum or XP but rather presents the reader with options.

I also believe that anything written by Kent Beck or Ron Jeffries is hardly going to go down too well with management. Those books are written for developers.

Author of Test Driven (2007) and Effective Unit Testing (2013) [Blog] [HowToAskQuestionsOnJavaRanch]
Ilja Preuss

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
"Sam's Teach Yourself Extreme Programming in 24 hours" is a surprisingly good intro to XP from a manager's point of view.

For managers not scared by *big* books, "Agile Software Development Ecosystems" might be a good choice for understanding the philosophy behind the movement.

The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
Peer Reynders

Joined: Aug 19, 2005
Posts: 2922
Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:
"Agile Software Development Ecosystems" might be a good choice for understanding the philosophy behind the movement.

Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products (amazon US) is another good Jim Highsmith title. But now I also feel compelled to mention Managing Agile Projects (amazon US).

In environments where there might be resistance to the "agile" moniker - "lean" might be a better approach:
Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit (amazon US)
Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash (amazon US)
My only reservation with Lean Software Development is that someone may take the manufacturing metaphor and push it too far. Software Is (Not) Like That.
[ May 02, 2007: Message edited by: Peer Reynders ]
Ilja Preuss

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Originally posted by Peer Reynders:
But now I also feel compelled to mention Managing Agile Projects (amazon US).

Haven't read it yet - only the book with the identical title by Sanjiv Augustine, which I found to be interesting, but rather dry.

And yes, the lean books are definitely worth a look or two!
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Agile books
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