The Project Manager's Guide to Mastering Agile: Principles and Practices for an Adaptive Approach Paperback – 20 Mar 2015
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From the Back Cover
CUT THROUGH THE CONFUSION TO DISCOVER AN ADAPTIVE, AGILE APPROACH TO PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR IMPROVED PROJECT OUTCOMES
The widespread adoption of agile methodologies is challenging the traditional definition of project management. The Project Manager′s Guide to Mastering Agile is a clear, comprehensive manual for blending traditional project management with agile principles and practices for improved outcomes.
Project managers will find actionable insights in this book which:
- Features in–depth discussion of the principles behind agile and traditional plan–driven project management practice
- Objectively covers the strengths and weaknesses of both agile and traditional plan–driven approaches and how to blend them to fit any situation and improve project outcomes
- Provides discussion topics, real world case studies, and sample enterprise–level agile frameworks that facilitate hands–on learning
The Project Manager′s Guide to Mastering Agile book will help you develop a more adaptive approach that works with agile to improve time–to–market, collaboration, communication, and ultimately, project outcomes. For a stronger grasp on using agile to improve project efficiency and results, The Project Manager′s Guide to Mastering Agile provides new insights that make project managers more effective.
About the Author
CHARLES G. COBB is President of Breakthrough Solutions, Inc., a consulting company that specializes in helping companies develop more effective enterprise–level Agile implementations. He is passionate about helping to close the gap between the Agile and traditional project management communities. He has published two prior books on Agile Project Management, written over 50 articles, and has been a guest speaker at numerous PMI® and Agile events. He is an Adjunct Professor at Boston University where he teaches a graduate–level Agile Project Management course and he is a practicing project/program manager with numerous project management and agile certifications over 30 years of experience.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Most chapters compare traditional project management to how agile changes these steps.
In addition, there is some discussion on the pros and cons between waterfall versus agile, which I interpreted as one isn't necessarily better than the other. Rather, based on the pros and cons you may find waterfall fits the project better than agile and visa versa.
For the SCUM process, the book provides a high-level overview chapter, which is helpful to those completely unfamiliar with these process.
I work in a 40,000 employee company and we have a lot of employees with the role, title and/or certification of project manager. Yet, most can't get the job done and get hung up with all the documentation and task tracking responsibilities in place of actually driving a project to completion. What I like about this bridging between waterfall and agile, is the author is clear how documentation is less important and how a person should/could facilitate more (drive/lead the project less) in order to get the project complete.
I also really liked the case studies. Not just the typical "successful" case studies, but there is a chapter on the not so successful.
OVERALL: If you are looking to better understand Agile and already have some project management experience, this is a good book that covers a lot of areas and ties your experiences together. If you are not familiar with Agile, you could just get a book on Agile and jump with both feet in. This is what I did and now I'm a PSM/CSM (certified scrum master).
But this is the first book I've found that helps take familiar waterfall methods and quantify what changes you need to make to start your transition, or your team's transition to Agile. . .if/when Agile makes more sense for your businessl.
I'm a fairly seasoned agile coach, taking some courses to achieve a certification mostly as a resume builder. Therefore a lot of the content in the courses I am taking a review for me, however I am learning some new concepts and having my mind opened to other possibilities and approaches.
But this book is not doing that for me at all. The author has an awkward way of forming sentences… Sometimes the repeating the same core concept three and four times within a single long run on sentence. Even the worse, sometimes contradicting himself within the same sentence.
He has also, in the span of two short chapters, already stated some things as absolute fact, which are in reality highly arguable.
I'm sure the author is probably a skilled practitioner of organizational agility, but this is a very poorly written a book.
BACKGROUND: I hold both the Project Management Professional credential and a master's degree in project management from George Washington University. I've worked as a professional project manager for over ten years in an industry (IT) that I've worked in for 30 years. For nearly all of that time, I've worked on traditional, so-called "waterfall" projects, and continue to do so. Only now am I getting an opportunity to employ agile methodologies. This book is helpful to me in learning what those methodologies are, how to put them to use.
WHAT I LIKE:
- This book is written for graduate-level academics. It even comes with a full semester's course outline in Appendix D!
- Starts off with a history of agile project management, including covering the Agile Manifesto and agile in the 1970s and 80s
- Provides good explanation of agile terms and concepts like product backlog, user stories and epics, Kanban boards, planning poker, etc
- The author chose to use VersionOne to represent an enterprise-wide agile project management tool (VersionOne makes a great tool)
- Chapter 12 provides essential information for scaling agile at the enterprise level, which is not easy to do
- Chapter 13 provides essential information for adopting agile in a specific business environment, dealing with cultural issues
- The book ends with case studies which show how agile PM was implemented in real-world environments
- Overall, the book presumes little by way of reader knowledge of agile PM (which, if you're already familiar with agile to some extent, may mean some of the earlier chapters may not be of much value to you)
WHAT COULD BE BETTER:
- This is a black-and-white book, with no color outside of the book's cover. The book would have been more engaging with full-color printing, especially since it does make some limited use of graphics to help the reader.
- The graphics, when used, are sometimes too small to be easily read
- The book title is hype; you won't master agile project management after reading it. You will, however, have a basis of knowledge to begin undertaking a pursuit towards agile mastery, but even then, there are other materials you ought to read in addition to this book (there is an appendix of recommended reading that has good, other resources to consider.
CONCLUSION: This is a great book to begin a journey into agile project management. It is easy to understand and covers a lot of ground without going deeply into any one area. If you are just beginning to acquire agile project management skills, or you have an interest in agile project management (academically and/or professionally), this is a fine book to add to your personal library. Recommended!
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