Book Notes #09: Becoming Agile in an Imperfect World by Ahmed Sidky and Greg Smith

Agile principles are discussed, explained, and then demonstrated in the context of a case study in Becoming Agile in an Imperfect World.

Title: Becoming Agile in an Imperfect World
Author: Ahmed Sidky and Greg Smith
Year: 2009
Pages: 408

Many books discuss Agile from a theoretical or academic perspective, but Becoming Agile takes a different approach and focuses on explaining Agile from a case-study perspective. 

Becoming Agile in an Imperfect World by Ahmed Sidky and Greg Smith is a comprehensive guide to help teams and organizations embrace agile methodology and become more efficient, adaptive, and effective.

As a result, I gave this book a rating of 7.5/10.

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 Becoming Agile in an Imperfect World

Becoming Agile in an Imperfect World also focuses on the importance of adapting Agile principles to the realities of your environment. In the early days of Agile, there was a general belief that Agile had to be used in all phases of a project and that it had to be used in its purest form. 

Becoming Agile in an Imperfect World shows you practical techniques and strategies to move from your existing process to an Agile process without starting from scratch. The author discusses employee motivation and establishing incentives that reward support of Agile techniques.

Becoming Agile in an Imperfect World is full of simple tools that will help people think clearly; it is about readiness, chartering, specifying, estimating, assuring quality, product demonstrations, retrospectives, and so on.

Some key insights and learnings from Becoming Agile in an Imperfect World include:

– Overcome common obstacles to becoming agile.
– Embrace collaboration and foster an environment of trust.
– Utilize agile principles to increase productivity and reduce costs.
– Create an agile culture that encourages continual learning.
– Focus on customer-centricity to understand customer needs and deliver value.
– Apply agile methodologies to project management and product development.

Featuring case studies, real-world examples, and actionable advice, the book provides readers with the tools they need to remain competitive and successful in today’s ever-changing business environment. 

The authors draw on their extensive experience to provide readers with practical strategies to foster collaboration, increase productivity, and navigate the journey to becoming agile.

My Book Highlights & Quotes

“… First, agile development is frequently initiated as a grassroots movement to develop better software—it is seen as a “developer thing.” Consequently, development managers and customer organizations are often not on board. This is a mistake, because dramatic improvements from agile development require a different mindset on the part of both development managers and the organizations for which the software is being developed…”

“… Second, some companies have made serious missteps in applying agile—perhaps by developing an unmaintainable code base or creating an unsupportable set of expectations in the minds of development teams or customers. Sometimes an agile implementation follows a simple recipe that is a bad fit to the company needs; sometimes the implementation is perfect for some people in the company (developers, for instance), but it doesn’t take into account the needs of others (testers, for example)…”

“… Finally, agile development might be considered a silver bullet—a quick and easy fix to problems that plague software development. In this case, the hard work required to make agile successful is ignored, and when companies come to the realization that agile is not going to be as easy as they anticipated, all too often commitment dissipates…”

In conclusion, Becoming Agile in an Imperfect World is a must-read for teams and organizations looking to remain competitive and successful in today’s business landscape. 

With its comprehensive approach and unique insights, the book provides readers with the tools and strategies to effectively implement agile practices and gain a competitive advantage. 

By recognizing the importance of collaboration and a customer-centric approach, teams, and organizations can take the necessary steps to become agile and remain successful.

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