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Agile Estimating and Planning
Agile Estimating and Planning tackles the key concepts behind implementing an agile process in a clear and coherant fashion, without getting involved in intricacies of specific agile methodologies (eg: Scrum). The step-by-step approach and short chapters makes it easy to digest and quick to read, although the early chapters can be a bit slow for those with a vague knowledge of the area.
A consistant theme that runs through the book is that of team work. This is a key focus of agile methodologies - working as a team and meeting targets together. Something that Mike conveys well is exactly how this way of working is advantageous, and how a small change in thinking can reap rewards.
Often, when we first assemble a cross-functional team, some members have a hard time letting go of their departmental identity. The product will benefit to the extent that the project participants view themselves as team members first and as specialist contributors second - that is, ‘I am on the Napa project and am a tester’ rather than ‘I am a tester assigned to the Napa project.’ ”
Mike also offers up a lot of practical advice as to exactly how to implement an agile approach to estimating and planning. One example early on in the book suggests a guide for writing user stories:
As a <type of user>, I want <capability> so that <business value>.”
I found the book an invaluable guide to implementing an agile approach to development, and I often find myself referring back to the book for specific advice or ideas. Well worth an investing in.