Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum

  • ISBN13: 9780321579362
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Product Description
Proven, 100% Practical Guidance for Making Scrum and Agile Work in Any Organization   This is the definitive, realistic, actionable guide to starting fast with Scrum and agile–and then succeeding over the long haul. Leading agile consultant and practitioner Mike Cohn presents detailed recommendations, powerful tips, and real-world case studies drawn from his unparalleled experience helping hundreds of software organizations make Scrum and agile work.  … More >>

Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum


  1. I’ve read many, many books on software teams and building software, and I’ve written several myself, and I’ve come across very few books that do as good a job as Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum. This book gives great — and very readable! — advice, not just for people using Scrum (or even Agile development), but for anyone who is looking to improve the way their team builds software. Mike Cohn deserves a lot of credit for putting together a great book.

    If you’ve tried to change the way that your team builds software, then you know that it’s not easy. All too often, even a change that seems simple or straightforward turns into a royal mess, alienating the team and irritating everyone involved without actually making a difference to the final product. That’s why “Succeeding with Agile” stands out as a terrific book.

    “Succeeding with Agile” is at once enormously practical, deeply insightful, and a pleasure to read. It combines great ideas with stories and examples from around the software industry. It will appeal to a wide range of readers, from those looking to adopt a new company-wide agile process to developers who just need to improve the way a team is running a single project. Mike Cohn does an impressive job of showing readers the ins and outs of agile practices. But what really makes this book stand out as one of the best in the field is the way it explains how to make change happen in the real world. The extensive advice Cohn gives readers will ring true for anyone who has attempted (successfully or not) to convince a group of people that there’s a better way of building software.

    The ideas in “Succeeding with Agile” are adaptable to work in a wide range of personalities, teams and organizations. Changing the way a team builds software is a difficult business. Mike Cohn points out the pitfalls and obstacles, and shows you multiple paths around them so that you can choose the one that best fits your team. Anyone — programmer, architect, tester, project manager or someone who just needs to work with a software team — who wants to learn about how to improve the way that software is built in a company will find a wealth of real-world, practical advice that’s easy to read.

    (A few other things to note about Mike Cohn: Jennifer Greene and I interviewed Mike in our book, Beautiful Teams: Inspiring and Cautionary Tales from Veteran Team Leaders, and were extremely impressed and entertained with what he had to say. And if you haven’t seen his blog — […] — you should definitely check that out as well. He’s got a lot of knowledge and real-world experience with improving the way teams build software, and it comes out in his writing. You should do yourself a favor and take advantage of this gem.)

    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. Great content. Great layout. Extremely well-written.

    This book is written for people who already have some understanding of Scrum or other agile methods. As such, the book is well-timed. Agile methods have been around long enough that many people and organizations have adopted them and now find themselves dealing with nuances not covered in other literature. So, Cohn fills this void, providing experience-based ideas and solutions for the difficult (but rewarding) efforts that must be made to successfully adopt agile methods.

    Part I builds the case for agility by citing positive results from experience, research, and surveys. It goes on to provide “tools” (ideas) for developing the awareness, desire, and ability (skills) that are critical for successful agile adoption. How do you adopt agile methods throughout an organization? Do you “start small” with pilot programs and spread the wealth? Or, do you “go all in,” converting your entire organization to agility at the same time? What factors are most important?

    In Part II, Cohn contrasts traditional organization and project roles with the roles of Scrum and provides strategies for making the transition and overcoming potential resistance. He also draws from extreme programming to provide insight into the technical practices that developers must learn to maximize the benefits of agility. Cohn then extends his treatment of individual concerns to teams in Part III. How do you structure Scrum teams? What is the nature of teamwork in Scrum? How does leadership manifest itself on Scrum teams? What does a Scrum team’s work flow look like? How do they plan? How do they address quality?

    Cohn tackles organization-level concerns in Part IV. How do you scale Scrum to large, multi-team projects? What if your teams are distributed across significant geographic distances? How do you handle working with other non-agile teams? What changes might your HR, facilities, and program management staffs need to make? Cohn tackles all of these issues and more.

    Also important to note is Cohn’s community-driven approach to agile adoption that emphasizes methodology creation (organizations or teams fitting a process to the specific needs of their industry and projects, i.e., one size doesn’t fit all) and continual improvement (not getting complacent with best practices). Another interesting book feature is the many “Things to Try Now” call-outs that concisely state Cohn’s advice.

    In my classroom at JHU, I teach the fundamentals of agile methods from an academic perspective. Also a practitioner, I share my agile experiences to help students apply the material to their projects and organizations. But, my experience pales in comparison to that of Mike Cohn, who has spent several years discovering the nuances of successful agile adoption through his hands-on work helping a large number of organizations transition to agile values, principles, and practices. This book allows me to pass these nuances along to my students. It will also allow all readers to achieve a deeper understanding of the success factors associated with agile methods.

    (If you are completely new to Scrum and agile methods, I recommend starting with Ken Schwaber’s “Agile Software Development with Scrum” and “Agile Project Management with Scrum.” Then read Mike Cohn’s “User Stories Applied” and “Agile Estimating and Planning.” Follow this up with “The Art of Agile Development” by Shore and Warden. Then read Mike Cohn’s “Succeeding with Agile.” Of course, there are many other good books on agile methods, but this strategy should serve you well.)

    Rating: 5 / 5

  3. Mike Cohn has been taking notes during his Scrum classes, notes from all the questions and answers from his students. As a Scrum trainer I recognize many of the questions, and I admire Mike’s answers. Mike has seen a lot of project situations, a lot of Scrum implementations, in very different organizations, and he shares his insights, tips and practices freely in this book. I admire how he brings his personal experiences, and references to materials from others together, ‘elegant’ is probably a good word for his approach. The book is so packed with information and experience that you will want to go back to it time after time, like an Agile-Coach-in-a-Book. If you’re serious about implementing Scrum then keep the book handy, and refer to it often, it will kick-start your search for the answers to your implementation obstacles.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. Shockingly, I’m a little bit at a loss for words for how to review one of the best books I’ve read on agile software development. Mike has done an amazing job of integrating the Scrum framework with how individuals, teams, and organizations actually work.

    If you are looking for the cookbook that gives you every answer for every problem, thankfully you won’t find it here. There is no cookbook answer to the challenges you find in the profession of software development. Instead, Mike provides a context to get you thinking. He does this through stories, metaphors, and some suggestions for things to try.

    When we began the transformation at Primavera Systems in 2003 to using Scrum, we had no idea what our journey would be like. It was full of many ups and downs. What we had to do was learn how to learn these lessons. Later on, I returned to the academic world to see if I could figure out what it was we did exactly. I went back to school and earned a Masters in Organizational Dynamics which gave me a better understanding of how to set other organizations up to give them the best chance to have a successful journey into agile development.

    This book is a great synthesis of all of this knowledge, providing a guide for people either already on their own journey, or getting ready to start one. This is certainly one of the top 5 books I’d pack in my bag for the trip!

    Get the book, read it, and keep it close by. It WILL get you through the rough patches.

    Bob Schatz, Owner

    Senior Consultant and Advisor

    Agile Infusion, LLC
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. Mike Cohn’s latest book: “Succeeding with Agile” is a “must read” for any agile developer. It’s not meant to be the first book for those considering Scrum, but if you’ve read that first book Agile Project Management with Scrum (Microsoft Professional), attended a Certified Scrum Master class or have applied Scrum for even a day, you need this book.

    This book covers every angle of your organization from executives, HR, marketing, developers, IT and even facilities! It covers every aspect of what impacts agile teams and how to handle every conceivable challenge. It examines Scrum roles and practices in depth to help you find ways to find improvement regardless of your company’s level or experience.


    Part 1: Getting Started describes a number of ways that Scrum can be introduced into all types organizations. It examines a number of patterns and introduces the ADAPT acronym for adoption, which is brilliant.

    Part 2: Individuals focuses on overcoming resistance, examining the changes to roles inside and outside the development team and the influences on the technical side of development.

    Part 3: Teams is the core of the book. It spends 150 of the 450 total pages on the roles, practices, dynamics and organization of teams. Solid gold advice on helping teams succeed.

    Part 4: The Organization looks at the entire company structure, how it’s influenced by and can continue to influence agile teams. It discusses ways that large scale and distributed Scrum teams work.

    Part 5: Wrapping things up points the way forward. How do we measure how the teams are doing on a regular basis? How do we gauge how well the teams have adopted every aspect of agile adoption. This part shows us how.


    The writing is conversational and engaging. The figures and tables are numerous with an outstanding style. The layout of the book includes numerous sidebars that discuss common objections, quotes from developers in the field and practical things that you can try immediately.

    This is the best agile book on the market I’ve read.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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