Agile Samurai

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Agile Samurai

Text of Agile Samurai

  • What Readers Are Saying About The Agile Samurai

    Jonathan Rasmusson has written a book for today that captures the

    excitement and value of what agile software development meant to us

    at the time of the Agile Manifesto. Look to the master, follow the mas-

    ter, walk with the master, see through the master, become the master.

    Ron Jeffries

    Coauthor, the Agile Manifesto, www.XProgramming.com

    I love books by practitioners who have their hands thoroughly dirty.

    Jonathan has years of real-world experience with agile, and his book

    is filled with valuable knowledge. If youre new to agile or want to

    improve your practice of it, youd do well to learn from this book.

    Joshua Kerievsky

    Founder and CEO, Industrial Logic, Inc.

    The Agile Samurai is the book I wish Id read before I started my last

    agile project. The chapters on agile project inception alone are worth

    the price of admission.

    Michael J. Sikorsky

    CEO, Robots & Pencils, Inc.

    Maybe a few stodgy, grumpy types will turn their noses up at the fun

    tone. The truth is they dont deserve a book this good.

    Ian Dees

    Software Engineer

    The Agile Samurai is exactly the book you and your team need to

    understand and deliver using the agile method. It makes the concepts

    tactile for everyone from the highest level of leadership to the people

    pushing forward on the front lines.

    Jessica Watson

    Business Analyst, Shaw Communications

  • The Agile Samurai helps you steer an agile project from start to finish.

    No agile toolkit would be complete without this book.

    Wendy Lindemann

    Agile Program Manager

    In this book, JR distills his many years of experience in delivering

    agile projects, with his characteristic warmth, wisdom, and humor. It

    should be on the reading list for any team looking to adopt agile soft-

    ware delivery. The section on project inceptions alone is required read-

    ing for anyone about to undertake a new project (or rescue one thats

    already in trouble!).

    Dan North

    Senior Developer, DRW

    This book was written with the insight and clarity that can only come

    from a person who has proved these techniques in the trenches. I

    have read many books on agile software development; this is by far

    the most engaging, easy to read, and just plain fun of them all. Get

    ready to sharpen that sword!

    JP Boodhoo

    Founder, Develop with Passion

    If you want a guide to agile projects backed by real-world success

    stories and battle scars, read this book. JR brings us an easy and

    humorous read that covers almost any question you may have on

    agile and how to make it work. His content is sincere, simple yet com-

    prehensive, realistic, and honest about common pitfalls teams will

    likely encounter. A great read!

    Eric Liu

    Lead Consultant, ThoughtWorks

  • The Agile SamuraiHow Agile Masters Deliver Great Software

    Jonathan Rasmusson

    The Pragmatic BookshelfRaleigh, North Carolina Dallas, Texas

  • Many of the designations used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their prod-

    ucts are claimed as trademarks. Where those designations appear in this book, and The

    Pragmatic Programmers, LLC was aware of a trademark claim, the designations have

    been printed in initial capital letters or in all capitals. The Pragmatic Starter Kit, The

    Pragmatic Programmer, Pragmatic Programming, Pragmatic Bookshelf and the linking g

    device are trademarks of The Pragmatic Programmers, LLC.

    Every precaution was taken in the preparation of this book. However, the publisher

    assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages that may result from

    the use of information (including program listings) contained herein.

    Our Pragmatic courses, workshops, and other products can help you and your team

    create better software and have more fun. For more information, as well as the latest

    Pragmatic titles, please visit us at http://www.pragprog.com.

    The team that produced this book includes:

    Editor: Susannah Davidson Pfalzer

    Indexing: Sara Lynn Eastler

    Copy edit: Kim Wimpsett

    Layout: Steve Peter

    Production: Janet Furlow

    Customer support: Ellie Callahan

    International: Juliet Benda

    Copyright 2010 Jonathan Rasmusson.

    All rights reserved.

    No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmit-

    ted, in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or

    otherwise, without the prior consent of the publisher.

    Printed in the United States of America.

    ISBN-10: 1-934356-58-1

    ISBN-13: 978-1-934356-58-6

    Printed on acid-free paper.

    P1.0 printing, September 2010

    Version: 2010-9-13

  • ContentsAcknowledgments 11

    Its Good to See You 12

    How to Read This Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

    Fun Bits with Purpose . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

    Online Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

    I Introducing Agile 15

    1 Agile in a Nutshell 16

    1.1 Deliver Something of Value Every Week . . . . . . . . . 17

    1.2 How Does Agile Planning Work? . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

    1.3 Done Means Done . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

    1.4 Three Simple Truths . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

    2 Meet Your Agile Team 26

    2.1 How Are Agile Projects Different? . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

    2.2 What Makes an Agile Team Tick . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

    2.3 Roles We Typically See . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

    2.4 Tips for Forming Your Agile Team . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

    II Agile Project Inception 47

    3 How to Get Everyone on the Bus 48

    3.1 What Kills Most Projects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

    3.2 Ask the Tough Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

    3.3 Enter the Inception Deck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

    3.4 How It Works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

    3.5 The Inception Deck in a Nutshell . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

  • CONTENTS 8

    4 Seeing the Big Picture 54

    4.1 Ask: Why Are We Here? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55

    4.2 Create an Elevator Pitch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57

    4.3 Design a Product Box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61

    4.4 Create a NOT List . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64

    4.5 Meet Your Neighbors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65

    5 Making It Real 72

    5.1 Show Your Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73

    5.2 Ask What Keeps Us Up at Night . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

    5.3 Size It Up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78

    5.4 Be Clear on Whats Going to Give . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81

    5.5 Show What Its Going to Take . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87

    III Agile Project Planning 93

    6 Gathering User Stories 94

    6.1 The Problem with Documentation . . . . . . . . . . . . 94

    6.2 Enter the User Story . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98

    6.3 Elements of Good User Stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99

    6.4 How to Host a Story-Gathering Workshop . . . . . . . . 108

    7 Estimation: The Fine Art of Guessing 114

    7.1 The Problem with High-Level Estimates . . . . . . . . . 114

    7.2 Turning Lemons into Lemonade . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116

    7.3 How Does It Work? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122

    8 Agile Planning: Dealing with Reality 130

    8.1 The Problems with Static Plans . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131

    8.2 Enter the Agile Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133

    8.3 Be Flexible About Scope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137

    8.4 Your First Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139

    8.5 The Burn-Down Chart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148

    8.6 Transitioning a Project to Agile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151

    8.7 Putting It into Practice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 152

    Report erratum

    this copy is (P1.0 printing, September 2010)

  • CONTENTS 9

    IV Agile Project Execution 160

    9 Iteration Management: Making It Happen 161

    9.1 How to Deliver Something of Value Every Week . . . . . 162

    9.2 The Agile Iteration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163

    9.3 Help Wanted . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 164

    9.4 Step 1: Analysis and Design: Making the Work Ready . 165

    9.5 Step 2: Development: Do the Work . . . . . . . . . . . . 171

    9.6 Step 3: Test: Check the Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172

    9.7 Kanban . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174

    10 Creating an Agile Communication Plan 179

    10.1 Four Things to Do During Any Iteration . . . . . . . . . 180

    10.2 The Story-Planning Meeting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180

    10.3 The Showcase . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182

    10.4 Plan the Next Iteration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182

    10.5 How to Host a Mini-Retrospective . . . . . . . . . . . . . 184

    10.6 How Not to Host a Daily Stand-Up . . . . . . . . . . . . 186

    10.7 Do Whatever Works for You . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 187

    11 Setting Up a Visual Workspace 191

    11.1 Uh-oh...Here Come the Heavies! . . . . . . . . . . . . . 191

    11.2 How to Create a Visual Workspace . . . . . . . . . . . . 195

    11.3 Show Your Intent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197

    11.4 Creat