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Practices of an Agile Developer

February 16th, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

Practices of an Agile Developer
I was lucky enough to get a early look at Practices of an Agile Developer by Venkat Subramaniam and Andy Hunt, one of the newest books from the Pragmatic Bookshelf. I’ve actually been anxiously awaiting this book ever since I saw Venkat speak about Java generics at the No Fluff Just Stuff conference last year – and I wasn’t disappointed! Whether you’re already doing agile development or just looking for a good resource to get started, this book is a must read.

PaD covers what you would expect from a book about agile development including integrate early and often, automate deployment, use short iterations, collective ownership, and keeping it simple. However, it’s the personal practices that set this book apart from others on the subject. Practices of an Agile Developer discusses many of the “soft” aspects of software such as criticize ideas instead of people, keeping up with change, and the importance of rhythm.

Speaking of rhythm, this book is a joy to read. Unlike some tomes that drone on and on, PaD presents material in easy to digest chunks of 2-5 pages making it particularly approachable for those of us with limited contiguous reading time! Venkat and Andy do a great job of putting these practices into context by providing “devil” and “angel” quotes throughout (and if you’re anything like me, some of those devils hit awfully close to home…). Each section leads off with the devil tempting you to do something foolish and ends with an angel’s advice on following the practice.

It’s one thing to read about something but unless you’ve actually successfully applied the knowledge (or have Venkat and Andy on retainer), it can be very difficult to know if you’re doing it right. To help reinforce the material, each section gives you a sense of what the practice should feel like and as someone that has only worked in pseudo agile environments, I found these pointers particularly helpful!

Subtitles are often overlooked – but “Working in the Real World” really is fitting. Unlike some books that preach practices that only work in narrow niches or the halls of academia, this book gives you practical advice that you can apply to your work today. The book is on its way to the printer and should be available in early March – preorder your copy now! But don’t just take my word for it

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