A while ago, I started reading Agile software development ecosystems from Jim Highsmith. It looked like the next logical step on my reading list. Since my first experiences with scrum and xp a year ago, I read most of popular literature about the two agile methods. To broaden my perspective on agile software development, I was looking for a book that provides an oversight of the agile movement, its history and the differences between all the well-known methods.
This is where Jim’s book gives you a good starting point. He starts with a general introduction of agile and the major agile ecosystems and leaders. These include:
· Crystal methods
· Feature-Driven Development
· Lean Development
· Extreme Programming
· Adaptive Software Development
Then he continues by describing which problems agile ecosystems can solve. It is a more theoretical part which focuses on responding to change.
The next chapter is about ‘Principles and People’, which is a mix of theory and interviews with thought leaders such as Kent Beck, Alistair Cockburn, Martin Fowler… This is definitively my favorite chapter.
Jim continues by explaining every major agile method. It is a general overview of process and principles. Every method is evaluated on its contribution to agile.
Finally Jim finishes with the chapter ‘Developing an ASDE’. As the title already illustrates, it is a guideline that can be used when you‘re planning to design your own agile methodology or tuning an existing one. I found it rather abstract and high level.
In general, I enjoyed reading the book. It can be a first step in broadening your agile perspective. I would recommend reading it before diving into detail of other agile methods.
I give this book a 7 on a scale from 0 to 10.