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on 3 February 2012
Barry's extensive experience and knowledge of the Agile software development process really shows in this book. He covers off the reasons why Agile (XP) was created in the first place, why it should be used, and most importantly, how it's been derailed and bastardized by all the agile hangers-on.

The book covers a lot of the history if agile, mostly focusing on eXtreme Programming, being that's where it all started, and to a lesser extent, why things like Pair Programming, Test First Development (and Test Driven - not the same), Continuous Integration and Customer Collaboration are not just desirable things in software, but a requirement if you are "doing agile".

Later in the book, he looks at a lot of different "styles" and rates them with out useful, or not, they are. Included in this (in my experience, correct) critique are User Stores, Lean, Scrim, XP, PRINCE2, DSDM and Kanban.

I think he's correct on all of them, and he's not at all pulling punches. Possibly, the "review" of XP is a little flourishing, but it is still honest - it just shows his knowledge and passion on the topic.

The book rounds out with observations on the whole software development practice, from an agile perspective.

All up, I enjoyed this book. It was a fairly easy read, tho a little slow to get started (esp the first chapter). But once into it, it's excellent advice for anyone running or participating in an Agile team, or anyone thinking about "doing agile" and wondering what it is, and more importantly, what Agile is NOT.

(side note: I think most people will find what they are doing is NOT agile, and not even "Agile". It's just "random". Possibly still better than waterfall, tho!)
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on 13 March 2013
If your team uses a methodology like scrum or lean, or if you're considering moving to an agile methodology, you should buy this book. If you're feeling generous then buy a copy for every member of your team--the price is low enough to warrant it.

It's an easy read and could be read cover-to-cover in one sitting. As I see it, the author's intention is for you to become "enlightened" with an understanding that being agile is not about management process but about programming practices such as test-first development, pair programming and refactoring.

The book sets out with a history of agile ideas and then picks apart the various facets of those ideas, discussing why each makes sense. For example, the author offers an excellent theory of "scope" and how it is traditionally thought of versus how an agile practitioner might think of it. This advice in particular was an "aha!" moment for me; it succinctly described a team issue I'd previously encountered but could never manage to resolve.

At the end of the book is a dissection of various methodologies and techniques such as user stories, scrum, kanban and XP. The scathing review of scrum will resonate with anyone ever involved on a team that's been "agilized" by a consultant drafted in to improve the team's under-performance. The point is that scrum can be imposed but the team is still left decidedly un-agile.

The author helpfully mentions numerous websites and books that you can explore as you progress on your journey towards enlightenment; that's important because this book tells you the why, but not the how. It won't give you strategies for pair programming, for example. But it will start you in the right direction--or correct your direction if you've started off on the wrong path.
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on 21 January 2015
Warning, if you are new to Agile and looking for a how to guide then you should probably look elsewhere. This brilliantly observed and extremely funny (in quite a dark way) book superbly caricatures the great Agile mis-selling scandal and explains why you really do actually need technicians and engineers.

Some of the early chapters may throw you, but stay the course because your persistence will be rewarded. The later chapters on Agile methods are works of genius, I particularly enjoyed the chapter on Scrum and the complete assassination of PRINCE2 as an Agile method (although the author makes it clear that it has value as a waterfall methodology).

As someone who has been working for around a year with Scrum and XP, this book has been a delight to read and highly informative. I feel I can draw many lessons from it.

If you or your organisation has recently 'been Agiled' then I urge you to read this book. Once you have, lend it to every person in your team to read - especially the management! Terrific stuff.
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on 8 January 2015
I am wondering if I have missed the point? I hoped this book would give me the key concepts of Agile and its differentials from lean, Instead I have followed rants about elephants, rhinos, and people pretending they are agile, It's almost no wonder they have to pretend ...getting the explanations from this book is like squeezing blood from a stone.... This book does nothing to explain what Agile is. Very disappointed and amazed at the raving reviews. Obviously I'm in the wrong industry!
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on 31 October 2014
An short but excellent read. As another reviewer wrote, it is not a rant, and actually well balanced . I find the title a bit misleading - it is not as much about blowing a whistle on the hype as it is about explaining where Agile came from, and under what circumstances you can make it work for or AGAINST you. It should definitely be required reading for anyone managing an IT project of any sort.
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on 10 October 2013
The book does cover the basics, but I felt I needed a little more and I not sure it really blows the whistle on all the hype.
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on 26 January 2016
short sweet and concise
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on 26 July 2013
Extremely well written - a good read - and great to see someone swimming against the tide of hype surrounding agile. But it's NOT a rant .. opinions are expressed on the good and bad parts of agile etc. all complete WITH reasoned arguments.
If you're doing agile or considering it then this is a MUST !
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