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Agile Estimating and Planning Paperback – Nov 1 2005

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Agile Estimating and Planning + User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development + Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall; 1 edition (Nov. 1 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131479415
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131479418
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 17.9 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 662 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #22,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Estimating and planning are critical to the success of any software development project of any size or consequence. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent treatment of estimating and planning.
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By Groundhog on April 5 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The title represents exactly what you will get from reading this book. It is easy to understand the differents concepts and everything is very well explained.

Overall anyone who is interested in agile project management should read this.
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Format: Paperback
This book is the next best thing to having an agile coach on site.

Mike Cohn's writing style is fantastic and easy to follow which makes the book a very quick read. I enjoyed each and every chapter.

This is a must read for aspiring SCRUM masters and product owners.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cedric Deschamps on Aug. 6 2008
Format: Paperback
I really recommand this book to anyone wanted to improve the planning in their organisation. The book is well written, professionnal, content useful and a complete case study at the end which help to understand the real process of planning.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 84 reviews
209 of 248 people found the following review helpful
Draw the Line Jan. 29 2006
By R. Williams - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A 5 star review just doesn't mean anything anymore. There are some good ideas in this book, but large stretches of this book are just absurd. This thing reads like homework that was finished on the bus (you can almost see the bumps in the road). The structure of the book is completely haphazard. One minute, we are talking about doing estimates. The next minute we are trying to figure out how a project will pay for itself, then, it's on to how to split up stories that got too big. I was waiting for a sidebar with a recipe for a great chiffon cake. At the end of the chapter on estimating value, the author recommends another book and says that's where his content came from (citational plagiarism is called 'plugging,' Youngster). Then, the chapter on splitting stories made me laugh out loud in places. Things like 'split stories along data lines,' or 'split stories along priority lines' or one of the funniest 'split it along CRUD lines.' Come on.

The good part of this book is the one chapter on estimation and discussion of things like using Fibonacci for bucketing of estimates into story points, the importance of seeing estimates as relative, and the idea of doing planning poker. In short: again, it's an article that was turned into a book by a set of expansion techniques that are astounding for not being illegal, let alone questionable. And all this inside a fortress of testimonials that makes Fort Knox look lightly defended.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
The Planning Approach that Refreshes Feb. 11 2006
By Jean Tabaka - Published on
Format: Paperback
Better planning, as Mary Poppendieck (author of "Lean Software Development") points out, results in a higher standard of living for the individual, for the team, and for the organization. With "Agile Estimating and Planning", Mike Cohn delivers a beautifully pragmatic approach for pushing us into the notion that this higher standard of living is completely attainable for our software development projects in this lifetime.

Mike's earlier book, "User Stories Applied" has been one of my most cited books when working with teams new to agile software development. Understanding the usefulness of the story concept as the base unit of function delivery has put these new teams in a good steady stride for being realiably realistic about their work delivery toward feature completion.

With Mike's "AE&P", I now have a fully referenceable guide that moves the team story planning pragmatics to the next level: bringing multiple planning approaches to bear at multiple levels for multiple measures of software feature acceptance and completion. In his usual style, Mike delivers his guidance with wonderfully accessible non-software analogies. For example, "How long is a football game?" and "How long will it take me to move my pile of dirt?" for understanding the distinction between effort (or ideal hours/days)and duration (total calendar hours/days). These simple mental models set the stage for ruthlessly correcting the many misunderstood atrributes of planning and its life partner estimating. Having shattered the myths of task-based Gantt Charts, PERT charts, and Work Breakdown Structures as completely repeatable prediction models for planning and estimation, Mike rebuilds the planning toolbox with practices that truly work. He buoys his practices (such as Planning Poker and frequent replanning) with the de rigueur reinforcements of appropriate metrics (e.g. how many tests did we complete in the last iteration, how many story points did we complete in our worst iteration, how are we tracking today with our estimates of what is left to do) that really guide teams in how to steadily improve their planning acumen.

Because my passion in agile software development has focused more and more on the importance of participatory decision-making in order to make planning commitments stick, I am particularly grateful that Mike sets a high collaborative bar with regard to how team's must work in order to create effective and actionable plans. Guidance on collaboration, high visibility, and continuous inspection are woven into all the practices in Mike's book, start to finish.

If I can leave you with only one piece of advice from "AE&P", take Mike's "Dozen Guidelines for Agile Estimating and Planning" (Chapter 22) and nail them to your team's door. In fact, nail them to your business partner or product manager's door. If you allowed me a second piece of advice: read through his excellent case study that follows in Chapter 23. And then, if you forgave me one final piece of advice: be prepared to start enjoying your new standard of living.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Pactical, Easy read. Answers what, why and how. Nov. 24 2005
By Animikh Sen - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is well structured and easy to read. In my humble opinion, it comes with a strong "buy" rating for any Agile practitioner or a current PMI certified person who wants to contribute to the knowledge economy of ever changing requirements. The book is right sized (finish in a coast to coast trip in US). Practical in its content, it provides lots of examples and case studies, from software as well as non software fields to illustrate the concepts. The detailed case study at the end of the book is invaluable.

Several chapters were much thought provoking, specially how to handle team dynamics and cross team estimation. The book did not right fully delve into any details of that, it's a topic for another time.

Part I of the books sets up the context.

Part II details on estimating the size, and the techniques and tools for doing that; in fact it comes with some simple tools, which can be really customized and expanded quickly.

Part III caters to what I call "value add planning" planning the work by prioritizing by business value, The books touches the concepts of financial project analysis, however there are better books for that, and the author provides the references.

Part IV brings in the concept of time, and the handling of "estimating for effort" and estimating for duration" is simply superb. Also an entire chapter is dedicated to Buffering and its need and for multi-team projects.

Part V presents tools and motivations for monitoring and communicating.

Part VI presents why Agile Planning works, and honestly I skipped it, expect the guidelines ( Page 254) which I read to validate my knowledge.

If there is one thing that I would change in the book, it would be the story point example with dogs. It would be a little confusing if you have no idea how a Great Dane would be different from a Duchshund! But hey, I think the book gets the message across very well.

What I would like to see in the second edition-- softcopy of some tools that goes with the book, may be some templates that can be customized...but then again, you should not be in this business unless you are able to cook these tools up yourself !!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Cohn Delivers a Practical Guide Nov. 15 2005
By VSZ - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Aside from being one of the most highly respected and sought after Agile consultants, Mike Cohn is a prolific writer with a focus on delivering practical information based on years of real-world experience bringing agile into organizations. This book continues in that vein, delivering both high level theory surrounding empirical estimating and planning techniques as well as practical "how-to" implementation details. This book drips of real-world experience; while other books seem largely theoretical, Cohn's experience implementing these techniques comes through very clearly.

If you're implementing agile, I highly recommend this book and the techniques outlined for bringing an empirical approach to estimating and planning. There is a misconception that agile is weak on planning; that's not true, there just hasn't been a practical guide before this book. Buy it, read it, carry it with you where ever you go.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
How to manage uncertainty of software projects' scheduling April 16 2006
By uniq - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is an extremely interesting book on how to deal with uncertainty of software projects' scheduling. Mike Cohn describes and compares methods for sizing and controlling project work, estimating the time necessary to complete it, and explains which practices do or don't work and why. He has managed to show not just enormous knowledge and experience on the subject, but also to pass his excitement about it.

Written in practical style, the book covers in great detail the science of estimating project size (by using story points and ideal days), intelligently controlling project's and iterations' scope (by evaluating the value of features and prioritizing them), scheduling work (by controlling features and value in each iteration), and tracking the progress. Every statement is supported by statistic, known theory or experience, or common sense. I learned about the Kano's model, financials of quantifying benefits of software, and found support of my own ideas on why managers and developers see things differently.

This book is for grown-ups. I recommend it to project managers and developers who are mature enough to understand that guess work makes everyone's job harder and that software is developed to support business needs that must lead to profit.

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