So you’re interested in Agile development, but are finding it a little too difficult to grasp? Well, look no further! Software Planet Group have assembled here a few of our favourite books by some truly legendary authors. Together, they can help you to not only better understand developers, but also the Agile process as a whole.
1. Extreme Programming Explained, by Kent Beck
When first released, Extreme Programming Explained triggered a revolution in the software development world that fundamentally altered the way that most people look at programming. This is why few books can capture the actual essence of Agile as well as Kent Beck’s debut offering. While the book itself focuses on the core practices of Extreme Programming (XP), a highly influential but outmoded method within the larger Agile methodology, XP practices are just as timeless as they are also universal.
For this reason, the book serves as a phenomenal introduction to the Agile philosophy, helping programmers and managers alike to make use of sensible practices such as unit testing, pair programming, shared code ownership and customer input. As the author suggests, when combining these core activities, a powerful new way to build and maintain software emerges.
2. Planning Extreme Programming, by Kent Beck & Martin Fowler
Unfortunately, developers often believe that planning is an expendable activity, and they’d be able to do far better if they simply got on with coding. Yet without a decent strategy in place, your software projects could fall apart, and nowhere is this made clearer than in the follow-up to Extreme Programming Explained. Now with the help of veteran software developer and fellow Agile manifesto author Martin Fowler, Kent Beck unpicks the philosophy behind not only the act of planning but every beneficial tool, and discovers a better way to run small to medium-sized projects.
The book reads like a collection of elementary — and often ignored — rules, yet its strength lies in the acknowledgement that development is above all a craft. Equipped with this concept as its guiding compass, Planning Extreme Programming offers exceptional preparatory advice in addition to useful tactics for both team leads and project managers to create a people-oriented process that can adjust to the changing environments, and deliver outstanding solutions.
3. User Stories Applied, by Mike Cohn
Highly anticipated at the time of its release, Mike Cohn’s User Stories Applied presents an innovative requirements-gathering process that can save time, eliminate rework and ultimately make software projects entirely more manageable. According to the author, the best way to accomplish this feat is to make use of user stories, which are nothing but short narratives designed to express the customer’s requirements in both a significantly clearer and more understandable way. To help in this regard, Cohn provides an ingenious blueprint for integrating user stories into your own development process — making his book a must-read for any company involved with Agile.
4. Succeeding with Agile, by Mike Cohn
Finally, the last book to grace this list is Mike Cohn’s Succeeding with Agile. In it, the author describes his own personal recommendations, tips and case studies drawn from years as an Agile consultant. In fact, Cohn takes a look at virtually every aspect of the transition to Agile, from helping developers settle into their new roles, to correctly structuring teams, to implementing metrics and continuous improvement. So whether your company and Agile are already well acquainted or you and your business or startup are only now just getting started, Succeeding with Agile can help you to get where you would like to be.
A Golden Collection
Above all, Software Planet believe these written works hold a treasure trove of knowledge that allow you to understand the very best that Agile can offer. We hope you will consider familiarising yourself with them, as the language they use is accessible to all, and the lessons they hold, valuable to say the least.