How to Read This Book

HOW TO READ THIS BOOK

Part I: Overview of Software Agility

This book is divided into three parts. Part I provides a short history of the agile movement with a discussion of some of the primary agile methods that are in use today, including XP and Scrum, as well as a discussion of RUP, which is an iterative and incremental method that can be applied in an agile fashion. In addition, we take a brief look at a number of other methods that helped sponsor the agile movement, including Lean Software Development,Dynamic System Development Method (DSDM), and Feature-Driven Development (FDD). We look at these methods not to teach the methods themselves but to provide a basis for understanding Parts II and III. As we will discover, each method has brought substantially new thinking to software development practices, and each has contributed substantially to the state of-the-art. In addition, we’ll start to see a set of agile best practices emerge, many of which have already been applied at significant scale, and we will use these as the basic building blocks of enterprise agility.

 Part II: Seven Agile Team Practices That ScalePart II describes these building blocks, the seven agile team practices that scale, one per chapter. In a sense, these practices may be considered the essence of agile in that all the agile methods apply these practices either explicitly or implicitly.

For those new to agile or for those large organizations contemplating implementation of these practices, Part II of the book should provide comfort, because by simply adopting any of the agile methods described—or better, mixing and matching as necessary for the company’s current context—many of these best practices will naturally emerge and provide an immediate benefit to applications of virtually any scope. While they are not trivial to address and master, they have been proven in a wide variety of project contexts, and they will benefit any team that adopts them.

Together, Parts I and II of the book provide an overview of software agility and describe seven best practices that can be applied at virtually any scale. Each of these practices can directly and immediately improve the productivity and quality outcomes for teams who choose to adopt them.

Part III: Creating the Agile Enterprise

To achieve true enterprise agility, however, more work remains, and that is the topic of Part III. We describe an additional set of capabilities,  guidelines, principles, practices, and insights that will allow the organization to apply agility at virtually any level of application or system scale. These practices have been derived from experiences in the field in applying agile in larger circumstances.

They include “green field” projects of smaller teams of 40 to 50 developers distributed across multiple countries, including extensive outsourcing, as well as larger organizations of up to a thousand developers working toward a common purpose on systems that required intense coordination among those teams. Some of the principles in Part III may seem obvious at first. Others are more subtle and have been discovered by experience in applying agile at scale. Many of these principles came about as teams reflected on their prior release efforts and came to modify their behavior over time so as to continually improve results.

Taken together, our hope this is that this book will help larger organizations achieve productivity and quality gains of as much as 200 percent, as such has been achieved by the smaller teams that have applied them. In turn, these results will provide benefits of faster time to market, higher return on development investment, and increased customer satisfaction for the enterprise. And lest we forget, organizations that head down this path have an additional intangible benefit: the teams themselves love agile methods, and empowering them to experiment and advance their methods is a key to engaging them in a virtuous cycle of empowerment, continuous process improvement, improved project outcomes, personal and professional growth, and higher job satisfaction. In an industry that faces the challenge of encoding much of the world’s intellectual property, what could be more virtuous than that!

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