Liftoff is a wonderful little book that probably isn't getting enough attention. Regrettable. The authors Diana Larsen and Ainsley Nies are skilled facilitators and coaches and they got to write a book about starting agile teams or projects. Diana Larsen is known for her excellent Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great and Liftoff is similar in its concreteness. It is one of these books that, as a facilitator, you take with you and browse and at times simply copy to experiment with the ideas in it.
Probably one reason the book is not getting the attention is deserves (as far as I can see) is its title. The authors chose to use the term "liftoff" which is a new term over more descriptive titles such as "starting agile teams" or "agile chartering". They seem to have done so to not limit the scope and try to include all kind of kick-offs in the book. Personally, I think a bit more focus would have improved the book. Personally I think it should have been called "agile chartering" as more than half of the book is about that. Anyways, liftoff it is :)
The book consists of 2 parts and a bunch of appendixes. The first part is about Liftoffs in general and the second part about Agile chartering. The first part contains five chapters which describe what a liftoff is, what kind of liftoffs there are and how to plan, design and improve using liftoffs to launch teams.
The second part is about chartering. The authors define the PAC model, which stands for Purpose, Alignment, and Context. These are the parts that need to be clarified during the Agile Chartering session and each of these has its own chapter. The appendixes give example charters of a few different projects.
This book is a useful book. It isn't a wow book that changes your way of thinking, but it is a book that tells you very concretely how to do something. In this case, it tells you how to facilitate effective liftoffs and charters. As far as I know, it is the only book of its kind and it is so concrete and small that you take probably want to take it with you every time you are facilitating a liftoff. Browse it again, steal some ideas and experiment. From that perspective, this book is highly recommended for people who want to facilitate the launch of new teams. Four stars.