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on December 21, 2010
As I read "The Agile Samurai", I was amazed with Jonathan's simple way of expressing some of the most difficult issues we face in agile projects. He introduces us to the Inception Deck -a great place to start if you are thinking about transitioning to agile, or if you are having problems and think expectations need to be reset. One of the most powerful ideas he talks about which I see consistently lacking in many teams, is the idea of `Meet your neighbours'. Who do we need to talk to? Teams forget there is more than just the Product Owner or single customer that we have to please or may have information that can help us deliver the right product.

Jonathan uses examples to back up each principle he introduces. The conversations between the Master Sensei and the aspiring student at the end of each chapter are better than any thought provoking questions I have seen in some books. They make you stop and think; one of my favourite conversations is the "The Incomplete Story". What do you do when you don't finish a story within an iteration - something I see in many new agile teams.

After reading the book, I have adopted Jonathan's ideas of sliders to show the trade-offs between quality, scope, budget, and time. These forces are in conflict, yet consistently clients want `all'. The sliders give us a great way to demonstrate the trade-offs between these forces - it is such a simple idea, yet so powerful.

One of the things I really appreciated was the acknowledgment of more than one "right" way to do things. He echoes my feelings - If we adhere to basic agile principles and understand them, we are ahead of the game and dramatically increase our chance of success. Agile is not a silver bullet, but takes work to achieve success. Vocabulary is one of the issues I struggle with when I go from client to client. Jonathan has done a suburb job of making his vocabulary generic using phrases like Master Story List.

One of the things I thought was missing was how ATDD feeds into the TDD cycle. The last few chapters are very developer focused, but I would have like to have seen how tightly coupled customer tests are to the developer tests. However, I am happy that he talked about the importance of building quality into the system using the practices of TDD and refactoring.
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on January 21, 2011
This book is an absolute goldmine! It's allowed me to hit the ground running in a new position managing a complex Agile project. Every major concept in the Agile Methodology is covered and Jonathan manages to make reading about these topics fun and enlightening. Sprinkled into the mix are some of Jonathan's own personal experiences and the candor in which they are delivered make you feel a connection with him through the material.

Thank You Master Sensei for your most honorable contribution.
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on December 16, 2011
This is the fifth book in the Pragmatic Bookshelf that I've read, and since the previous four were exceptional, I had the highest expectations for this book.

If this is someone's first exposure to Agile, then I can see this being a helpful book at a high level, but if you've had any exposure at all to an Agile project or continuous integration or automated testing, then you've already experienced the full extent of what this book is trying to accomplish. (-1 star)

This book started with a regurgitation of what I've already seen in other books[1], a chapter wasted on analyzing the Agile manifesto, and then each chapter ends in a silly (yet droll) fictitious samurai teacher/student dialog. I found the Agile planning piece valuable as a reminder that you aren't trying to solve the entire problem in a single project plan, but as I've done Agile-ish projects for some time now and am pushing to become more agile, I was disappointed that it didn't show me anything new. (-1 star)

[1]: Robert C. Martin, Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices is a better book for this.
Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C#
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on January 4, 2012
If you want to try agile or just want a bunch of good tips on how to make your agile life easier or just refresh what agile is then this is a very good book to read. It covers almost all areas of software development and how they can benefit from using agile. It contains a bunch of tips and tricks from real-life experience. Ideas from this book can be used to make a presentation for your managers to explain why you should try agile (lots of good examples from everyday life). It's quite fun to read and it's not too long.

I also keep it close at hand to refresh different parts from time to time.

Words of caution:

Obviously process is a "necessary but not sufficient" condition for project's success. So switching to agile might or might not make you project successful (agile is not a silver bullet after all). Good next read might be "The Effective Executive" by Peter F. Drucker (followed by many others).

Everything which follows isn't an excuse not to do testing!!!!!! All new processes stress that we cannot compromise on Quality which implies that quality is either present or not. I do think that it's quite wrong. You have to be really careful here, as you don't need space shuttle quality in your chair, do you? {Well in case you do please make sure you have lots of $$$ to pay for it}. When you write tests or use any other means of ensuring that your software works, make sure that it brings real value (I did see projects with lots of tests and lots of bugs). Be agile about it. In the same way that clients don't care about functional specs, they also don't care about number of unit/functional tests (that's right, I said it). Clients only care about working software which "fits the bill" and has good enough quality ("The perfect is the enemy of the good", Voltaire).

P.S. I am not religious about any particular process. I am more into efficiency without following any particular process to the letter, i.e. whatever works in a given situation for the given problem and available people/resources. But to choose process or technique which works in a given situation you need to know many ways of doing things and this book is a really good description of one such process.
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on February 16, 2013
A lot of the stuff covered in this book just skims the top of what you need to know. The author doesn't seem to go too far into detail or rants about the extra stuff that may or may not be required to create amazing software. Most of it seems to be how to deal with creating software, documenting it and dealing with the problems before and after during a project design.

I'd say it's a great book to wrap your head around all the basic concepts, plus you would be surprised what you learn the way the author describes things.
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on May 7, 2015
Great book to learn the basics of Agile software and QA.
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on February 16, 2017
Good for any agile wanna be!!
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