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Practices of an Agile Developer by Venkat Subramaniam, Andy Hunt

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<pre>Author/s : Venkat Subramaniam, Andy Hunt
Publisher : Pragmatic Bookshelf
Category : Project management, Process and Best Practices
Review by : Jason Menard
Rating : 9 horseshoes
</pre>
"Agility" remains a popular buzzword in the industry. Methodologies, tools, and even programming languages have had the adjective applied to them. But what does it mean to be an "agile developer"? How do we know if we're "agile"? Should I expect the ladies to saunter over at parties and say, "I couldn't help noticing that you're agile, how about coming back to my place"? To answer these questions, a good place to start would be to read "Practices of an Agile Developer".

This book, which could have easily been titled "Forty-five Habits of Highly Agile People", starts out by defining agility and what it means for something to be agile. It then proceeds to layout forty-five agile practices grouped into seven areas: Beginning Agility, Feeding Agility, Delivering What Users Want, Agile Feedback, Agile Coding, Agile Debugging, and Agile Collaboration. Your companions on your journey are a demon whose taunts remind you of how not to do things, and a guardian angel eager to steer you onto the path of righteous agility. Each practice is well motivated and adequately described. Additionally, each has sections letting you know what it should feel like if you are following the practice correctly, and how to strike a balance to keep from going overboard or not far enough when following a particular practice.

While the focus of this book is agility, the practices described really lend themselves well to all developers, even the agility impaired. Practices such as "Question until you understand" and "Write cohesive code", to name only a couple, are just plain old good advice for anyone who writes code. So even if you don't aspire to reach the summits of agility, you can look at this book as a self-help book for developers. Read it, soak in some of the good sense it offers, and be better for it.
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