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Agile Coaching Paperback – Sep 7 2009
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About the Author
Rachel Davies provides expert coaching to teams in Agile software development techniques, such as Test-Driven Development and planning with User Stories. She has been working with Agile teams using XP and Scrum since 2000. Rachel is internationally recognized in the agile community, a frequent presenter at industry conferences worldwide, and a director of Agile Alliance.
Liz Sedley is an Agile Coach and .Net Developer working in London, UK. She has fifteen years industry experience, mostly as a C++ / C# developer. Liz has spent the last four years enabling companies to be more Agile.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The first part of the book is concentrated on the basics of coaching and communicating in software project. The software development curricula are often weak on "people" skills and you are not always lucky to find the right person as a supervisor when you get out of school. The second part goes through the different activities of a typical Agile project (daily meeting, user stories definition, planning, etc.) and discuss how coach can help a project team to achieve its goals. Each chapter has a final checklist and the book is also full of "personal stories" from the authors that enhance the theoretical advice, applying it on real situations.
Although the title of the book and some of its content might make you think that its value is limited to an agile context, I will recommend this book to every person that has some supervision function in software development organizations and to every developer who believe than acquiring additional "people" skill might improve its work environment. Just changing the way you talk with colleagues could lead to having more sunnier days at the office.
For coaches like me who have a few years' experience, some sections might seem dry, but overall you will gain insights in many areas. The PrOpER (Problem, Options, Evaluate, Review) model for deciding what to do in a situation is an example of something I learned. Overall, I feel that Agile Coaching helps me go to a deeper level on the practices I am already using, as well as teaching me about technical practices less familiar.
The book is an easy read, organized so you can dive into the topics that matter most to you now and can be used as a quick reference later.
My road to learning how to be a more effective coach involved scouring posts and articles online, discussing in mailing lists and talking to other coaches. Agile Coaching is a one-stop shop, packed with practical advice, examples to work from and stories from the trenches.
This book is a model of concise, clear writing. It's packed with information in the form of narrative, bullet points, graphics, photos, stories of real teams and projects, exercises, tips and examples. The authors have been walking their talk for a long time, so you can feel confident about following their advice. Their flair for language makes the book fun to read. It could be a quick read, except you'll find yourself stopping to reflect on your own experiences, and thinking about how you could apply the technique you just read about on your own team. Each chapter includes hurdles you may face, and a checklist summarizing action items for you, the reader.
I particularly enjoyed the little vignettes with dialog from a typical team illustrating topics such as "Not Quite Done Yet" and "Getting Ready to Demo". The authors have insight into all aspects of coding, testing, and managing software teams. You'll find advice you might not expect in a software-related book, such as "Be kind to yourself". The focus on people and teams will make you a better person and team member.
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