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The Art of Agile Development contains practical guidance for anyone considering or applying agile development for building valuable software. Plenty of books describe what agile development is or why it helps software projects succeed, but very few combine information for developers, managers, testers, and customers into a single package that they can apply directly. This The Art of Agile Development contains practical guidance for anyone considering or applying agile development for building valuable software. Plenty of books describe what agile development is or why it helps software projects succeed, but very few combine information for developers, managers, testers, and customers into a single package that they can apply directly. This book provides no-nonsense advice on agile planning, development, delivery, and management taken from the authors' many years of experience with Extreme Programming (XP). You get a gestalt view of the agile development process, including comprehensive guidance for non-technical readers and hands-on technical practices for developers and testers. The Art of Agile Development gives you clear answers to questions such as: How can we adopt agile development? Do we really need to pair program? What metrics should we report? What if I can't get my customer to participate? How much documentation should we write? When do we design and architect? As a non-developer, how should I work with my agile team? Where is my product roadmap? How does QA fit in? The book teaches you how to adopt XP practices, describes each practice in detail, then discusses principles that will allow you to modify XP and create your own agile method. In particular, this book tackles the difficult aspects of agile development: the need for cooperation and trust among team members. Whether you're currently part of an agile team, working with an agile team, or interested in agile development, this book provides the practical tips you need to start practicing agile development. As your experience grows, the book will grow with you, providing exercises and information that will teach you first to understand the rules of agile development, break them, and ultimately abandon rules altogether as you master the art of agile development. "Jim Shore and Shane Warden expertly explain the practices and benefits of Extreme Programming. They offer advice from their real-world experiences in leading teams. They answer questions about the practices and show contraindications - ways that a practice may be mis-applied. They offer alternatives you can try if there are impediments to applying a practice, such as the lack of an on-site customer. --Ken Pugh, Author of Jolt Award Winner, Prefactoring "I will leave a copy of this book with every team I visit." --Brian Marick, Exampler Consulting


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The Art of Agile Development contains practical guidance for anyone considering or applying agile development for building valuable software. Plenty of books describe what agile development is or why it helps software projects succeed, but very few combine information for developers, managers, testers, and customers into a single package that they can apply directly. This The Art of Agile Development contains practical guidance for anyone considering or applying agile development for building valuable software. Plenty of books describe what agile development is or why it helps software projects succeed, but very few combine information for developers, managers, testers, and customers into a single package that they can apply directly. This book provides no-nonsense advice on agile planning, development, delivery, and management taken from the authors' many years of experience with Extreme Programming (XP). You get a gestalt view of the agile development process, including comprehensive guidance for non-technical readers and hands-on technical practices for developers and testers. The Art of Agile Development gives you clear answers to questions such as: How can we adopt agile development? Do we really need to pair program? What metrics should we report? What if I can't get my customer to participate? How much documentation should we write? When do we design and architect? As a non-developer, how should I work with my agile team? Where is my product roadmap? How does QA fit in? The book teaches you how to adopt XP practices, describes each practice in detail, then discusses principles that will allow you to modify XP and create your own agile method. In particular, this book tackles the difficult aspects of agile development: the need for cooperation and trust among team members. Whether you're currently part of an agile team, working with an agile team, or interested in agile development, this book provides the practical tips you need to start practicing agile development. As your experience grows, the book will grow with you, providing exercises and information that will teach you first to understand the rules of agile development, break them, and ultimately abandon rules altogether as you master the art of agile development. "Jim Shore and Shane Warden expertly explain the practices and benefits of Extreme Programming. They offer advice from their real-world experiences in leading teams. They answer questions about the practices and show contraindications - ways that a practice may be mis-applied. They offer alternatives you can try if there are impediments to applying a practice, such as the lack of an on-site customer. --Ken Pugh, Author of Jolt Award Winner, Prefactoring "I will leave a copy of this book with every team I visit." --Brian Marick, Exampler Consulting

30 review for The Art of Agile Development

  1. 5 out of 5

    Peter Sichevsky

    Only took me THREE attempts over five years to get through it, but I feel like I actually picked up a few things.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rod Hilton

    "The Art of Agile Development" by James Shore and Shane Warden is a book that is primarily focused on explaining Agile to people who want to adopt Agile software development practices for their team. The bulk of book is divided into sections based on a categorization on agile practices. There is a chapter on practices that help with thinking, one for collaborating, one for releasing, one for planning, and one for developing. In each of these chapters, there is a section devoted to a specific pra "The Art of Agile Development" by James Shore and Shane Warden is a book that is primarily focused on explaining Agile to people who want to adopt Agile software development practices for their team. The bulk of book is divided into sections based on a categorization on agile practices. There is a chapter on practices that help with thinking, one for collaborating, one for releasing, one for planning, and one for developing. In each of these chapters, there is a section devoted to a specific practice, such as "pair programming". The sections describe how to do the specific practice, what benefits it offers, what challenges you might face when adopting the practice, and so on. Usually it also has some frequently asked questions about the practice (with answers, of course) and some suggestions for alternatives if you have a reason to not adopt the practice. First and foremost, I need to mention my biggest criticism of the book. It has one of the most misleading titles I have ever read. This is *NOT* a book on Agile. It is a book on XP, one of a few different flavors of Agile. The correct title for this book would be "The Art of Agile Development using XP." This is worth mentioning for a few reasons. First of all, XP's practices are pretty hardcore. XP's engineering practices are all extremely useful, but most of the time when a company or team resists Agile, it's because they are resisting a typically XP practice, such as Test-Driven Development or Pair Programming. Personally, I'm a big fan of XP's practices, but the fact of the matter is that any team that wishes to become Agile will likely find the most resistance if they try to adopt XP, so it seems misleading to sell the book as an introduction to Agile when it is, in fact, an introduction to XP. That said, this is an excellent book on XP. All of XP's practices are covered in just the right amount of detail - giving you enough information that you can adopt the practice, but requiring that you do additional research about the ones that interest or challenge you the most. This allows the book to be a pretty quick read in general, which is beneficial for a team wishing to adopt XP practices soon. This level of detail does have one disadvantage, though: by staying largely in the realm of hypotheticals and ideals, I often found myself thinking that the authors were being naive and idealistic about how easy some practices were to adopt. This made me somewhat more skeptical of the book than I would have been if more detail had been offered, but ultimately I felt the level of detail was right; I did my own research online about some of the things that challenged me. One of the most annoying aspects of the book are the "examples" that are sometimes provided. Usually these examples provide a sample conversation between stakeholders as they illustrate the effectiveness of an XP practice. These little micro-plays are so exaggerated that it often felt like reading the script to a bad company training video. After a few, I found myself skipping them. I learned an awful lot about XP practices, particularly Pair Programming, estimation techniques, and incremental design. I felt that a number of these topics were better covered in other books, but "The Art of Agile Development" seems like it is meant to be an introduction to XP. In fact, every section generally provided a list of books that covered the section topic better. I recommend this book for a team that wishes to adopt XP as quickly as possible, but I cannot reiterate enough that this would be the first, not the last, XP book you buy if you wish to become an effective XP team.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    short version: A bit dogmatic, but these dudes have done their homework, and if you can tolerate the preachy "seriously, you need to do exactly what I'm describing" tone of it all, there are lots of valuable gems buried within. The bad news: you're going to need support from management to make all this work, and even with that support, it could be hairy in a big organization and/or with a lot of legacy code behind you. Also... ALSO: Kanban gets mentioned in here several, albeit not by name--and short version: A bit dogmatic, but these dudes have done their homework, and if you can tolerate the preachy "seriously, you need to do exactly what I'm describing" tone of it all, there are lots of valuable gems buried within. The bad news: you're going to need support from management to make all this work, and even with that support, it could be hairy in a big organization and/or with a lot of legacy code behind you. Also... ALSO: Kanban gets mentioned in here several, albeit not by name--and I felt kind of put off by that. The good news: not every valuable lesson requires that support. I'm going to be generous here and give it 4-stars rather than 3, but mostly because I support the attitudes that underlie their take on Agile/XP, if not their take on Agile/XP. ---- Not strictly a review, but: you should check out my blog post "Agile for the Introvert", wherein I discuss and critique specific contents of The Art of Agile Development rather extensively. (Also: it's complete with a comment from the author -- which had me more/less totally chuffed.)

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hans

    I strongly recommend this book if you work in a Agile shop or you are considering moving toward Agile and/or XP. I am a strong advocate of Agile Software Development. The use of pair programming and test driven development have elevated my productivity significantly. There are some limitations to this book. It is not written in the most inviting manner. Compared to other books, such as the Lean Startup, it is a bit thick to get through some sections. Compared to the Gang of Four Design Patterns i I strongly recommend this book if you work in a Agile shop or you are considering moving toward Agile and/or XP. I am a strong advocate of Agile Software Development. The use of pair programming and test driven development have elevated my productivity significantly. There are some limitations to this book. It is not written in the most inviting manner. Compared to other books, such as the Lean Startup, it is a bit thick to get through some sections. Compared to the Gang of Four Design Patterns it is lightweight summer read. The other downside is the reference to older material. This book is from 2007 mind you. Software ideas and processes are continually evolving. While there is still much to learn from items published last century, without a current version it tends to lose credibility. Read that as a light criticism, I strongly recommend Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software (1995) Overall, it gives a very good top to bottom review of what Agile and what Agile is not.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ben

    Admittedly, this is my first complete book that had anything to do with extreme programming. I'm very familiar with Scrum, but am relatively new to pair programming, TDD and the like. However, where I am in my professional career, this was of the utmost importance. If you are in an organization that is moving to Agile practices, this book is not only helpful, but necessary. Admittedly, this is my first complete book that had anything to do with extreme programming. I'm very familiar with Scrum, but am relatively new to pair programming, TDD and the like. However, where I am in my professional career, this was of the utmost importance. If you are in an organization that is moving to Agile practices, this book is not only helpful, but necessary.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shamil

    Just the best book on agile software development methodogy and practices...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tareq Alkhatib

    Good content. Horrible writing style.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alex French

    Probably my overall favorite thoughtful summary of Agile concepts. I had stayed away from reading it for a long time because it is XP focused, and XP’s focus on technical practices seems difficult to translate to things that aren’t 100% custom written, mostly greenfield software. But it does a great job being thoughtful explaining what practices are trying to achieve, why they work, how they work together, and how you should be thoughtful in applying them. It is not huge or dense, but it is not sho Probably my overall favorite thoughtful summary of Agile concepts. I had stayed away from reading it for a long time because it is XP focused, and XP’s focus on technical practices seems difficult to translate to things that aren’t 100% custom written, mostly greenfield software. But it does a great job being thoughtful explaining what practices are trying to achieve, why they work, how they work together, and how you should be thoughtful in applying them. It is not huge or dense, but it is not short or a light read, so it will be difficult to recommend to most coworkers. A lot of the detail about what sorts of software you might be developing feel very dated, but that is mitigated by always circling back to ideas, not details or prescriptive practices.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Peter

    This book is about the XP (Extreme Programming) methodology. But it's useful for anybody working in an agile environment, or looking for applying agile practices. Practices like pair programming, retrospectives, iteration plannings, agile team composition, energized work, informative workspaces etc are described in great detail. It feels like a nice blend between philosophical questions and daily practice. This book is about the XP (Extreme Programming) methodology. But it's useful for anybody working in an agile environment, or looking for applying agile practices. Practices like pair programming, retrospectives, iteration plannings, agile team composition, energized work, informative workspaces etc are described in great detail. It feels like a nice blend between philosophical questions and daily practice.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scott Holstad

    I went through this book years ago when I started getting into agile dev and I have to admit I wasn't initially thrilled with it. It wasn't as intuitive to me as some other approaches, but I kept slogging away and eventually got to know a little of what I was doing. There are books published since that are probably better, but at the time, there wasn't a huge selection. I went through this book years ago when I started getting into agile dev and I have to admit I wasn't initially thrilled with it. It wasn't as intuitive to me as some other approaches, but I kept slogging away and eventually got to know a little of what I was doing. There are books published since that are probably better, but at the time, there wasn't a huge selection.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    There are great ideas here. I've not yet been in a situation where the whole approach was used, only parts. The author suggests that the real benefits of Agile paired with XP require going all in, the whole team. I can certainly imagine the results would be much better that way, but wonder how often companies go all in on it. There are great ideas here. I've not yet been in a situation where the whole approach was used, only parts. The author suggests that the real benefits of Agile paired with XP require going all in, the whole team. I can certainly imagine the results would be much better that way, but wonder how often companies go all in on it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Adriano

    To be honest I didn't read it all, but the chapters that I've read worth the investment of time. I would recommend this book to people that are starting with agile methodologies and in this case XP. To be honest I didn't read it all, but the chapters that I've read worth the investment of time. I would recommend this book to people that are starting with agile methodologies and in this case XP.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    Surprisingly relevant for an old book!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marina

    Scan through. Details on implementing XP.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michael Ryan

    Really useful and very readable. Has an XP flavour.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    As its name indicates, The Art of Agile Development describes in much detail just that. It does so by covering one species of the Agile genus, Extreme Programming (XP). According to the authors, a key component of the agile method is to work in small steps; the software architecture should be manifest in incremental stages, each one responsive to a direct need. Perhaps in line with this approach, the book's chapters consist of a very short intro delimiting a topic followed by many short (1-5 pag As its name indicates, The Art of Agile Development describes in much detail just that. It does so by covering one species of the Agile genus, Extreme Programming (XP). According to the authors, a key component of the agile method is to work in small steps; the software architecture should be manifest in incremental stages, each one responsive to a direct need. Perhaps in line with this approach, the book's chapters consist of a very short intro delimiting a topic followed by many short (1-5 page) sections, all specifics elaborating via example, theory, and dialog a nuanced comprehensive fleshing out of the idea. I have no direct experience (yet) with Agile development but it was apparent the authors were writing from their own experience. That experience, coupled with a succinct writing (or editing) style, put the text above the hit-or-miss information to be readily and cheaply found on the internet. As is usual for O'Reilly publishing's Theory In Practice series, instead of the usual duotone cover featuring a hand-drawn animal we have tasteful sans-serif type underlaid by a photo image, all in glossy four-color. The photo is of a clear waterglass, more full than empty, which contains the cutting of some sort of plant. The plant looks like a tiny winter tree reaching up out of the water, out of the glass, and across a light grey emptiness to break to the very edge of the page. I'm sure this means something, but as of yet that bell remains unrung, and my numbskull gong unclubbed in silence abides.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Preeti

    A newbie to the agile methodology introduced me to my very first book – The Art of Agile Development. Having had a few months of experience in the ‘agile’ environment, this book was a reading pleasure. The book opens up to briefing about the agile methodology and lists out the inherent thinking behind this practice in the field of software development. Though the focus over the ‘Scrum’ type is almost nil, but the book doesn’t let you lose out on your grip even if you are a practitioner of the Scr A newbie to the agile methodology introduced me to my very first book – The Art of Agile Development. Having had a few months of experience in the ‘agile’ environment, this book was a reading pleasure. The book opens up to briefing about the agile methodology and lists out the inherent thinking behind this practice in the field of software development. Though the focus over the ‘Scrum’ type is almost nil, but the book doesn’t let you lose out on your grip even if you are a practitioner of the Scrum methodology. Most of the talks are described with the Extreme Programming [XP] perspective. But the simple language of the author makes it a lot easier for the reader to comprehend. The author gives insights about how exactly an agile environment operates, how do we fit in such an environment and what makes agile one of the best models of software development. The book further digs a bit into domain modeling, exhaustive testing and the like. It also talks with perspectives of the ‘Product Owner’, ‘Developer’, ‘Tester’ and the business angle(s). A novice agile developer can easily relate to the concepts and thereby understand the agile functionality at a more granular level. The book isn’t exhaustive at all and aptly describes every bit of it. On the part of the reader, it takes a bit of consciousness and ability to read between the lines and understand the nuances conveyed therein. Overall, a must read for all working on agile projects. It will help in better segregation of what exactly are the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” in an agile software development.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Glenn

    An usefully detailed discussion of the roles, processes, practices and principles of agile development. Most of the practices are taken from Extreme Programming, but some have been added. It's hard to explain how different this way of working is from traditional models. Shore explains the roles of programmers, testers, managers, product owners, investors and more. The book is filled with real-world experience, and you come away thinking, "I wish my company could do this!" An usefully detailed discussion of the roles, processes, practices and principles of agile development. Most of the practices are taken from Extreme Programming, but some have been added. It's hard to explain how different this way of working is from traditional models. Shore explains the roles of programmers, testers, managers, product owners, investors and more. The book is filled with real-world experience, and you come away thinking, "I wish my company could do this!"

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    Lots of good ideas on Agile in general, however the book generally champions eXtreme Programming which occasionally obfuscates some of those good ideas. There are a sections that are specifically devoted to get XP up and running -- these are basically waste if you aren't going to implement (or participate in) XP. Other sections that covers things like "10 minute build", "Energised Work", limiting yourself to tasks that can be accomplished in a few hours (and avoiding carrying over between days!), Lots of good ideas on Agile in general, however the book generally champions eXtreme Programming which occasionally obfuscates some of those good ideas. There are a sections that are specifically devoted to get XP up and running -- these are basically waste if you aren't going to implement (or participate in) XP. Other sections that covers things like "10 minute build", "Energised Work", limiting yourself to tasks that can be accomplished in a few hours (and avoiding carrying over between days!), creating technical stories when necessary and looking at certain members on your team (only covering programmers, as this is XP, unfortunately) as constraints are particularly interesting.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tariq Shraim

    Praise for The Art of Agile Development “Jim Shore and Shane Warden expertly explain the practices and benefits of Extreme Programming. They offer advice from their real-world experiences in leading teams. They answer questions about the practices and show contraindications—ways that a practice may be misapplied. They offer alternatives youcan try if there are impediments to applying a practice, such as the lack of an on-site customer. “The explanations do not stop with just the practices. Discussion Praise for The Art of Agile Development “Jim Shore and Shane Warden expertly explain the practices and benefits of Extreme Programming. They offer advice from their real-world experiences in leading teams. They answer questions about the practices and show contraindications—ways that a practice may be misapplied. They offer alternatives youcan try if there are impediments to applying a practice, such as the lack of an on-site customer. “The explanations do not stop with just the practices. Discussion of people-related issues, such as strategies for creating trust and team cohesiveness, rounds out the book.” —Ken Pugh, author of the Jolt-Award-winning book, Prefactoring

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    It's hard to give a reference book 5 stars but I truly think that what Shore did with this book is special. It feels comprehensive without being overwhelming. It is based around practical ideas. It acknowledges its limitations. It is stern without being dogmatic. And it's written in a way that is accessible and easy to understand. I don't hold any illusions that I'll be able to turn my development team into a truly Agile/XP house but Shore has provided a script and steps that I can take to impro It's hard to give a reference book 5 stars but I truly think that what Shore did with this book is special. It feels comprehensive without being overwhelming. It is based around practical ideas. It acknowledges its limitations. It is stern without being dogmatic. And it's written in a way that is accessible and easy to understand. I don't hold any illusions that I'll be able to turn my development team into a truly Agile/XP house but Shore has provided a script and steps that I can take to improve regardless. If you're looking for a primer on Agile, I can't think of a better intro than this.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Litsinger

    This book reminded me of the guy at the party who had a few too many drinks but really, really wants to tell you all about the new religion/philosophy/band that he has discovered and wants to tell you all about. In great detail. I made it about 1/2 way through, and it started repeating itself, so I abandoned it. The book talks about a lot of stuff that makes sense, the idea of Agile development has some good points, but this book was just a little too sure of itself to be a good overview for a non- This book reminded me of the guy at the party who had a few too many drinks but really, really wants to tell you all about the new religion/philosophy/band that he has discovered and wants to tell you all about. In great detail. I made it about 1/2 way through, and it started repeating itself, so I abandoned it. The book talks about a lot of stuff that makes sense, the idea of Agile development has some good points, but this book was just a little too sure of itself to be a good overview for a non-practicer.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    I like this book so far, reading it in very on off fashion. I got introduced to agile development a couple of years ago and have since worked with a company who used it to develop a software product for us. The book is quite academic and I feel at this early stage (about 1/3 read) that is another tome from which I will take elements and use in my work. Another methodology like prince -so steal the best bits!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eduardo

    A must read for all novice practitioners who want to familiarize themselves with the concepts of agile development, or for those who are already consider themselves as experienced, to refine and enrich their knowledge. In fact, whether we want to handle XP, Scrum, DSDM or any other agile methodology, we should take a look at this book, because it provides a good theoretical foundation on which to base our development projects.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Torben Rasmussen

    This is an amazingly good book on agile and agile practices. The book describes XP, but should go on the reading list for anyone working with scrum or agile development in general. The book describes the agile practices and also manages to clearly describe the effect and feedback loops between different practices. When you are ready to move beyond the 'simple' agile frame of scrum this is the book to guide you while adding specific agile practices to scrum. This is an amazingly good book on agile and agile practices. The book describes XP, but should go on the reading list for anyone working with scrum or agile development in general. The book describes the agile practices and also manages to clearly describe the effect and feedback loops between different practices. When you are ready to move beyond the 'simple' agile frame of scrum this is the book to guide you while adding specific agile practices to scrum.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Enrique

    This book describes the whole process of a development with many practical tips in every development´s phase. I've learnt the concepts of root cause analysis and fail fast in this book and they are really important now in my daily work. The only thing I don´t like about the book is that the book assumes developers are the constraint on the team. This book describes the whole process of a development with many practical tips in every development´s phase. I've learnt the concepts of root cause analysis and fail fast in this book and they are really important now in my daily work. The only thing I don´t like about the book is that the book assumes developers are the constraint on the team.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    I bought this book years ago and read it. Now, years later, it still feels actual and not outdated at all. I notice that from time to time I open it and read some parts in it and they still make me think "aha!" or "just what I thought too", "yep, noticing that". Still has it's practical value on the floor. I bought this book years ago and read it. Now, years later, it still feels actual and not outdated at all. I notice that from time to time I open it and read some parts in it and they still make me think "aha!" or "just what I thought too", "yep, noticing that". Still has it's practical value on the floor.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Xerox

    More of an XP focus, this book contains the definition of 'slack' which will be an important principal for how we balance projects with necessary technical and productivity improvements. Many managers in the team have a copy of this. More of an XP focus, this book contains the definition of 'slack' which will be an important principal for how we balance projects with necessary technical and productivity improvements. Many managers in the team have a copy of this.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ciprian Rusen

    Lots of good examples and tips. Sometimes a bit hard to read for longer periods of time. The style in which is written can sometimes put you to sleep, even though the content is actually good and applicable in real-life.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rick Austin

    Eye opener to the many practices and the results of those practices from the XP world. Well written with many practical examples of the application of these practices. Tremendous focus on the value of people in software development.

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