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Rolling Rocks Downhill: The Agile Business Novel that NEVER mentions Agile. Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Ching gets around the resistance to agile by simply giving the characters no choice, he sets up an impossible project then keeps making things worse. This helps explain that almost complete lack of questioning of the techniques that are proposed. It was a little sleight of hand that I can understand. It's not a bad message. You can't impose Agile. People have to be ready for it, open to it. To accelerate that journey for a book, you make them desperate.
Another slightly unrealistic aspect of the book is that there isn't the initial "dip" in performance/productivity, and the inevitable temptation to revert to old habits. That felt like a pretty glaring plotline to omit since I suspect it's one of the biggest challenges. Given the newness of the principles to all involved and the pressure they were under, it felt a little too easy. Maybe a sequel will cover that ground.
One thing I did like is that the TCQ expert who planted the initial seed, isn't overused. He's sent on vacation for the critical part of the book leaving the team to figure things out on their own. He pops up occasionally in emails asking just the right question or pointing to just the right book but the overriding theme is you have to find your own solutions.
Another noticeable aspect of the story was that the team didn't adopt a methodology, or a framework like Scrum or Kanban.Read more ›
My only wish is that there were some kind of "in a nutshell" cheat-sheet at the end of the book, so you could review the ideas without having to thumb back through the book (which is not altogether easy in an e-book). Still, it's a great book and I very highly recommend it.
Written as a novel, Clarke Ching will take his readers on a journey on a software company that is struggling with seemingly unrealistic due dates and the quality of their products. As this is a nicely written story you want to read from cover to cover. Clarke is able to grab what is good in agile and present it in a way that you want to try it in your own company as well. But that's not all: he takes the approach further with the techniques of the TOC.
So you are not on a software industry? That's not a problem - many practices presented in the book can be applied in any industry. There is also an excellent "case study" about the company's cafeteria that shows how TOC principles can be used in a restaurant, and how same rules can be applied to any business, in this case software industry - and how close agile is to TOC.
So get this book and read it, you won't be disappointed! ...And I still can't think of anything but the small batches :-)
The story is one we’ve seen every day, a boardroom objective that puts IT jobs on the line, an industry that is ever changing, software professionals faced with countless obstacles on the race to meet deadlines that make success seem improbable. Whilst it does take a dozen or so chapters to fully introduce the TOC basics, it does so in a way that compels you to continue to read to the end.
Everything you need to learn about is introduced in bite-sized, easy to digest and apply portions - batches, backlogs, estimation, frequent releases, early testing, and so forth. They are introduced by way of analogous application into a non-software environment (I shall say no more), which underlines that the practices are transportable if applied correctly.
A few things from the book are worthy of immediate application, some are probably not exactly TOC specific. For example, every project needs a character like ‘Catherine’ - success is much easier to achieve with such a considerate business partner.
What is impressive is that the story keeps focus on the fact that systems and process behaviour are constantly in motion and evolution - just when you thought batches were the answer, something new emerges!
It is a difficult task to write an easy to read book that introduces a concept from one industry to another. Business novels aim to ensure nothing gets lost in the translation of concepts, ideals, and hope that the reader can realise the value of the endeavour. Rolling Rocks Downhill is a novel that has been a long time in the making, and thankfully Clarke has succeeded in writing a worthy TOC introduction that does not alienate veterans of either process.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am in the process of converting from Waterfall to Agile and although the book does not mention the latter it has certainly helped me with the transition. Read morePublished 2 days ago by araddenbury
Easy to read. This time the analogous Factory (with its 'constraints') has been replaced by a canteen, run by a chippy Scottish woman. Read morePublished 1 month ago by T. J. Baldwin
Really enjoyed reading this book. It's well-written, has a good pace and balance to it. If you've read any Goldratt books (The Goal, It's Not Luck, Critical Chain, etc) or the more... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Martin @B2BTechMark
Great book - I opted for the Audible narrated version and raced through the whole thing this weekend. As others have said, it has elements of The Phoenix Project about it. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Michael Wilcox
A perfect book to get you started thinking about how to make your software projects well any project lean and hopefully successful. Read morePublished 6 months ago by RockingSingh
Great story about turning failing project around by concentrating on bottlenecks and priorities. Definitely useful tool for managers and leadersPublished 6 months ago by Alan ORourke
Really enjoyed reading this book, a story those of us in software development will all relate too and hopefully those managers that don't really get it will learn enough to... Read morePublished 7 months ago by MR KEVIN G JOHNSTON
A highly entertaining novel that caters not only to industry veterans but also those who are mildly curious as to what goes on in a typical software development team. Read morePublished 7 months ago by JB
I had the privilege of hearing Clarke speak at a local Agile group and was very intrigued by his talk. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Grumpy Old Dad
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