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Agile and iterative development Paperback – 11 Aug 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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From the Back Cover

Agile/iterative methods: From business case to successful implementation

This is the definitive guide for managers and students to agile and iterative development methods: what they are, how they work, how to implement them―and why you should.

Using statistically significant research and large-scale case studies, noted methods expert Craig Larman presents the most convincing case ever made for iterative development. Larman offers a concise, information-packed summary of the key ideas that drive all agile and iterative processes, with the details of four noteworthy iterative methods: Scrum, XP, RUP, and Evo. Coverage includes:

  • Compelling evidence that iterative methods reduce project risk
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Agile and iterative values and practices
  • Dozens of useful iterative and agile practice tips
  • New management skills for agile/iterative project leaders
  • Key practices of Scrum, XP, RUP, and Evo

Whether you're an IT executive, project manager, student of software engineering, or developer, Craig Larman will help you understand the promise of agile/iterative development, sell it throughout your organizationaeand transform the promise into reality.

About the Author

CRAIG LARMAN is known throughout the international software community as an expert and passionate advocate for object-oriented technologies and development, and iterative and agile development methods. He serves as Chief Scientist at Valtech, a global consulting and skills transfer company, where he has led the adoption of iterative and agile methods. Larman also authored Applying UML and Patterns, the world's best-selling text on object-oriented analysis and design, and iterative development.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book as an experienced project manager who has worked historically in organisations espousing either overly-prescriptive or overly-free development methods, wanting to learn a little more about the standard "Agile" practices.

Larman includes lots of good information on why iterative and incremental delivery pays dividends over more "traditional" methods such as the Waterfall, but I found the presentation to be overly fussy and a little too evangelical.

The text is overburdened with references to other publications which may be great if you're fighting an organisational struggle to implement agile methods but if you are looking for practical advice these are of little value. Likewise some of the tables and diagrams liberally sprinkled through the book are probably of little practical benefit to many.

One of the key strengths of the book is that it provides a manager-level overview of the four main agile methods : XP, Scrum, RUP and Evo, whereas many books focus on the nitty gritty of one specific practice.

I'd say it broadly delivers on what I was looking for - a good understanding of what people mean when they bandy the term "Agile" about - my main criticism is that it would be much more readable if it dropped some of the weighty academic argument and concentrated more on the practical.

Its not that the practical advice isn't there - just that the reader can easily get bogged down due to the style of presentation and aspirations to be used as an intellectual sledgehammer to get Agile adopted.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Superbly written book that is also very interesting, I particularly enjoyed the chapter on the history of iterative development.

Don't expect a massive amount of detail though, its really just giving you a good overview of agile development and the different processes you can use.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent introductory book to the rapidly-growing world of "Agile" software development processes. Although not a new phenomenon, Agile processes have been given a new lease of life after the perceived failure of traditional "Waterfall" process. Waterfall processes are typically characterised by a heavy emphasis on documentation with requirements being frozen before development starts and with the whole project planned upfront.

This approach of mandating that no requirements be allowed leads to inflexibility in the face of business change. In addition, if the project was a large one, delivery of software may occur years after the requirements are signed off. This, coupled with a characteristic lack of stakeholder involvement during development, led to systems being developed that did not truly address the stakeholders' business needs.

Agile processes seek to address these problems by allowing requirements change (in some cases throughout the lifecycle of the project) and that the software is delivered in successive iterations. In addition, the stakeholders are closely involved in the development of the project.

Notably, it is the stakeholders, rather than the developers, that decide which of the requirements is built first. At the end of the iteration, the newly-written software is demonstrated to the stakeholders. Such regular deliveries and close involvement ensures that development does not deviate too far from the stakeholders' requirements.

Larman describes three of the most popular recent software development approaches: Extreme Programming (XP), the Unified Process (UP), Scrum; and an older, less popular one, Evo.
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Every developer or software manager interested in the foundations of agile development would get something from this book.

In this book, Craig uncovers the fundamental underpinnings of most of the modern software development methodologies.

I won't be giving anything away by saying it's the theory of constraints.

It's a bit like learning to drive cars rather than understand a single model in detail. A manager should be able to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their chosen method.
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