Tag Archives: textbook

Sale on Agile Textbook

Happy Holidays!  Our Introduction to Agile Methods textbook is on sale at the InformIT website.

cover

 Through Saturday, 11/29

Please use this link and use discount code BF2014

Details: Buy 1 – Save 35%, Buy 2 + – Save 55% on Books, eBooks, Online Learning, Video Tutorials, & Software Sunday, November 23 – Saturday, November 29, 2014 (expires 11:59 p.m. EST on 11/29)

Sunday and Cyber Monday (12/1)

Please use this link and use discount code CM2014

Details: save 70% off featured video and 50% off all other eBooks and digital video training! Sunday, November 30 – Monday, December 1, 2014 (expires 11:59 p.m. EST on 12/1)

Agile Book – Culture

For the final blog post in our series about our upcoming book, Introduction to Agile Methods, we are going tackle the cultural impacts of an Agile implementation.  Agile is a simple set of concepts to understand (once you read the book, of course) but that doesn’t mean it is easy to implement.  It can be challenging for organizations to adopt principles like self-organizing teams, continuous improvement and frequent delivery.  This chapter examines creating an Agile culture from the perspectives of a team member, manager and an executive.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand organizational culture and why it matters in an Agile implementation
  • Dive into ways things might be different in an Agile organization from a developer, manager, and executive viewpoint
  • Look at successes and failures in behaviors to see the cultural impacts
  • Understand how the Agile principles drive different behaviors in an organization
  • Investigate the healthy team dynamics of self-organization teams, continuous improvement, frequent delivery, effective seating arrangements, incorporating virtual resources, and adapting to the changing environment
  • Explore how an Agile workplace differs for managers and the ways that they must change with regard to teamwork, trust, and transparency
  • Review the role of executives and how their behavior can position an Agile transformation for success with executive alignment, respecting priorities, creating supportive environments for the teams, and driving the right behaviors with metrics

There is so much great content in this chapter, it is hard to pick one excerpt to spotlight.  We chose the executive viewpoint and how important it is for the executive sponsor to embrace the change and provide consistent leadership.

Staying the Course

Image source: http://blog.lifestyleforhealth.com/stay-the-course-guest-blog-by-anna-townsley/

Image source: http://blog.lifestyleforhealth.com/stay-the-course-guest-blog-by-anna-townsley/

An Agile transformation is challenging for most organizations. Some command and control managers will fight the change, offering dire predictions of failed projects as examples of why this is a bad idea. Developers may not embrace the increased accountability and transparency, and some may choose to leave the organization. There are new expenses in the form of seating arrangements, training, and Agile tools that may stress the budget. Agile transformations also have a history of bringing chronic issues that the organization has ignored for years to the surface where they must be confronted. All of these are reasons why an executive might abandon the effort and simply revert to what is comfortable (but ineffective). Any change worth making is going to require effort, and Agile is no different. The strong Agile executive will work through these issues without wavering on the commitment to Agile.

Agile Book – Technical Debt

In the next edition of this blog series highlighting excerpts from our upcoming book, we will tackle the tricky subject of Technical Debt.  To be honest, I had a hard time choosing a single topic from this chapter because there are so many great topics covered – debt2Definition of Done, Planning Poker, Value Stream Mapping, the Kano Model, Velocity, the XP Planning Game – and much more in this chapter on Grooming and Planning.  And it includes an interview with none other than Mike Cohn!  If this post, or any of the previous ones on Roles or Requirements or our guest blog from co-author Sondra Ashmore inspire you to want to purchase the book, please visit Amazon and search on Introduction to Agile Methods.

Back to Planning and Grooming, here are the Learning Objectives for the chapter.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the elements of a product backlog and what traits lead to the strongest deliverables
  • Dive into prioritization and learn different methods for understanding what is the most important feature or item to work on
  • Explore estimation and the different practices and measures that are used today
  • Understand story points and planning poker as ways to discern the level of effort and complexity of the user stories/requirements
  • Learn the other inputs that affect the planning process, such as team velocity, definition of “done,” technical debt, and bugs/defects
  • Evaluate Sprint planning and the XP planning game to learn how commitments are made and work is planned
  • See how maintenance work can be incorporated into Agile teams
  • Review the triple constraints model and how it is handled within the Agile framework

Agile Book – Requirements

This is the second in a series of blogs about our upcoming textbook called Introduction to Agile Methods that I have written with Sondra Ashmore.  The first blog spotlighted Roles and our second post was a guest blog by Sondra on Agile in Academics.  I hope these blogs inspire you to want to read the whole book!  Pre-orders are available on Amazon right now – just search Introduction to Agile Methods by Sondra Ashmore and Kristin Runyan. The chapter spotlight for this post concerns Requirements and how they Userstoryare approached very differently in Agile, as opposed to Waterfall.  Within Agile, the terms around requirements include User Stories, Epics, Acceptance Criteria, Personas, Release Management and much more.  The excerpt that I have chosen to share here addresses a particularly challenging aspect of managing requirements and priorities – Customer Specific Code Requests.  First, here are the learning objectives for the chapter.

Learning Objectives

  • Recognize the differences between Agile and Waterfall with regard to requirements gathering and documentation
  • Understand the format used within Scrum for user stories, including epics and acceptance criteria
  • Explore several examples of how user stories are broken down from epics to child user stories and how acceptance criteria add important details to the story
  • Learn how the other methodologies differ from Scrum in their terminology and practices
  • Examine how requirements can be enhanced by using personas or engaging User Experience (UX) designers to better understand potential system users
  • Understand how user stories and Agile development efforts map into a marketplace driven by consumer demands and customer-specific development requests
  • Value the importance of communication and transparency when it comes to requirement specifications and priorities
  • Explore Lean software development and the Lean start-up concepts and how they influence the product development process

Agile in Academics – Guest Blog

Please enjoy this guest book from my co-author, Sondra Ashmore.

I have spent my career working in IT for Fortune 500 companies, so it is fair to say that my career has followed a corporate path rather than an academic one. I am happy with my choice, but there has always been a part of me that is fascinated by higher education. I dabble in the academic world by teaching an occasional course, speaking at conferences, writing journal articles and soon publishing a textbook about Agile software development methods with Kristin Runyan. I love to learn, contribute to the knowledge base and help people acquire the skills they need to achieve their goals.

Sondra_Ashmore_headshot_v2In 2009, I returned to school to finish my doctorate. I had been practicing Agile methods at work for a couple years and assumed there would be an Agile course offered at my university. I was surprised to learn that most of my (very technical) professors had scarcely heard of Agile and the thought of teaching an Agile course was not on their radar. I decided to do my dissertation research on Agile methods due to the limited research on the topic. My research encouraged me to network with many local Agile enthusiasts. They complained that there was not a pipeline of students at any of the local universities who even knew the basics of Agile requiring them to do extensive training with all of their new hires. They were desperate to have an Agile methods course taught and encouraged me to sell the idea of an Agile course to my university. I presented the idea to my university and was subsequently recruited to teach because I was the only one they could think of that had any expertise or experience with Agile.

Introduction to Agile Textbook

It is real now.  Our Agile textbook is advertised on the Pearson Higher Ed website.  How cool is that??  After many long months of writing, editing, revising, writing more, researching and writing even more – it has become a reality.

Many more details to come but I had to get the news out because it is so exciting!!!

open_book

Image Source: http://vixstar1314.wordpress.com/2011/03/19/closed-book/

 

Agile Textbook

As you may know, I am very proud to be co-authoring a textbook on the Agile Methodologies. This unique book is targeted at undergraduate computer science, software engineering and business students who do not necessarily have work experience to help them understand the nuances, challenges and benefits of an Agile implementation.  Our goal is to present the information in an easy to digest fashion to provide students with the terminology and concepts that they will need when they enter the workforce.

Studygroup relaxing in beanbags while doing school work.

Image Source: http://www.stevenharveyceca.com/individuals-future-college-students

Our question is:  What should we include in the book?  Is there something that you wish someone had taught you with regards to Agile?  Is there something that you wish new hires and interns understood about Agile?

 

Our book will cover the following topics:

  1. The history and value of agile development
  2. Understanding the different types of agile development
  3. Describing the different roles
  4. Cultural considerations with agile
  5. The new way to collect and document requirements
  6. Grooming and planning
  7. Tracking and reporting
  8. Testing, quality & integration
  9. Market management

We will reference many of the Agile experts as well as present stories and examples to make the information more relatable.

Please let us know your thoughts on what needs to be included.  We would love to get your input!