Book Notes #23: Agile and Iterative Development by Craig Larman

Agile and Iterative Development brings research, results, and evidence about the value of using agile and the value of switching to agile and iterative methods.

Title: Agile and Iterative Development: A Manager’s Guide
Author: Craig Larman
Year: 2004
Pages: 342

Agile and Iterative Development is an efficient introduction for both managers and practitioners that need a distilled and carefully organized learning aid for hands-on practices from planning to requirements to testing and the values that define these methods.

Agile and Iterative Development was considered, in 2004, 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.

As a result, I gave this book a rating of 8.0/10.

For me, a book with a note 10 is one I consider reading again every year. Among the books I rank with 10, for example, is Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Overview of Agile and Iterative Development

Agile and Iterative Development provides evidence of the value of switching to agile and iterative methods. Research (examined and cited in detail within this book) shows that iterative methods reduce the risk of failure, compared to traditional models of development.

By studying this book, you will learn to apply the key ideas in agile and iterative development, the details and comparison of four influential iterative methods, the answers to frequently asked questions, and important related management skills.  

Some key insights and learnings from Agile and Iterative Development include:

 – Agile development is a flexible and adaptive approach to software development that emphasizes rapid iteration and continuous improvement.

 – The Agile Manifesto, a set of guiding principles for Agile development, emphasizes individuals and interactions, working software, and customer collaboration over processes and tools.

 – Agile development methods, such as Scrum and Extreme Programming (XP), provide frameworks for implementing the Agile Manifesto in practice.

 – Iterative development is a key aspect of Agile development, in which the software development process is repeated in cycles or iterations. Each iteration involves planning, design, development, and testing.

 – Agile development requires strong collaboration and communication among team members, as well as active involvement from the customer or end user.

 – Agile development can lead to faster delivery of high-quality software, improved customer satisfaction, and increased flexibility in responding to changing requirements.

 – Agile development may not be suitable for all projects, and organizations should carefully consider their specific needs and constraints before adopting an Agile approach.

 – Agile and iterative methods have emerged as the most popular approaches to software development, and with good reason. 

The book’s goal is quality information that can be quickly understood and applied.

My Book Highlights & Quotes

“… Adaptive development is a related term. It implies that elements adapt in response to feedback from prior work—feedback from users, tests, developers, and so on. The intent is the same as evolutionary development, but the name suggests more strongly the feedback-response mechanism in evolution…”

“… A study by Boehm and Papaccio showed that a typical software project experienced a 25% change in requirements. This trend is corroborated in another large study; software development is a domain of inventive high-change projects…”

“… Each iteration includes production-quality programming, not just requirements analysis, for example. And the software resulting from each iteration is not a prototype or proof of concept, but a subset of the final system…”

“… In each iteration, there is a one- or two-day requirements workshop in which the specifications expand and refine, in response to further analysis and feedback from the system under development…”

“… Research shows that project failure is reduced when there is increased direct involvement and links between the ultimate clients or users of a new software product and developers…”

“… Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. Working software is the primary measure of progress…”

In conclusion, Agile and Iterative Development by Craig Larman provides a comprehensive and insightful look into the world of Agile development. 

From the principles of the Agile Manifesto to the specifics of Scrum and Extreme Programming, this book offers valuable guidance for anyone looking to implement an Agile approach to software development. 

It highlights the importance of flexibility, collaboration, and continuous improvement in the software development process. 

Agile development can lead to faster delivery of high-quality software, improved customer satisfaction, and increased flexibility in responding to changing requirements.

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