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on 14 March 2011
Jurgen has written the book that should've been written long ago. He has nicely outlined what an Agile manager should be doing, which is something that has been painfully absent from Agile movement for too long. We need manager, but there hasn't been any thorough and well thought-out guides for their work.

Each of the six dimensions of Agile team management is approached first in theory, then by providing concrete advice. I liked this approach as it provided good explanations why something was recommended, and much of the success in Agility is founded on understanding what Agile is and why it works. Armed with that information, an Agile manager is much better equipped to handle situations for which there are no pre-existing guidelines (and there will be many such situations).

I wish every manager in a position to lead/manage Agile teams would read this.

To quote a friend, "the only bad thing about the book is that I didn't write it."
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on 27 January 2015
This book has many interesting comments on agile management, which gives inspiration to manage better. I would not recommend it to newcomers to the Agile camp, because although Appelo writes really well, I think that there are some representations that are very free and may give a skewed first mental map over agile methods. I recommend Cohn's Agile Estimating and planning instead, for instance.
As a researcher, and sometimes I find the author being to fast to "contribute" with his own ideas to the field of mature fields such as complexity theory or cybernetics - they feel a bit half-baked to me. That may be different to others. I'd say 3 stars for students and scholars, 4 stars to project managers.
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on 11 March 2012
Some books give insight and pragmatic advice. This kind of attempts insight, but falls short. It is light on real world examples/case studies and I did not feel that it gave me any tools/advantages to aid me with the daily challenges that come with project management in today's IT. It does do a good job of setting the scene though. Not awful, but not much more than a decent read.
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on 4 February 2016
Best management book I have read all year. Smart thinking, and some good insights into human beings working in teams. His focus is on the software industry, but Appello's thinking has a much wider application to general management of work groups.
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on 2 March 2014
This is a useful book for those tasked with making agile work. Not a cookbook full of simple recipes for success but after the first few chapters you will understand why this is neither desirable nor possible.
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In his foreword, Robert C. Martin wrote that he hates management book, but "this book is smart". I think that this book might be smart because Jurgen is smart. If I tried to summarize what you get from his book, you can consider Jurgen Appelo as the hidden son resulting from a relationship between a Springer Verlag journal's editor and Mike Cohn, with some influence from Aardman Studios in the education. You will therefore jump from sentences like "It is often seen as the opposite of reductionism, although complexity scientists believe that complexity is the bridge between the two, and both are necessary but insufficient [Corning 2002:69]" (I hope that you have all recognized the definition of "holism") to a checklist for a Agile Goals that contains questions like "is the goal manageable and measurable so that success can be determined?" You will therefore go back and forth between high level system or behavioral theories and practical management situations and practices. Despite its high theoretical content, the book is very enjoyable and easy to read and you shouldn't be afraid by what could appear initially as a strong theoretical content.

Jurgen Appelo is so smart that he even make the own assessment of his book at the end, based on the quote that "all models are wrong but some are useful" He says "It makes no sense discussing which idea is wrong, because they all are. The real challenge is in finding which ideas is useful in what context". I think that reading his book will provide you with a larger ideas' toolkit and help you assess which ideas might be useful in a particular context for your project management journey.
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