Book Review of the Month

Agile Software Programming
by Alistair Cockburn
Like so many blind men around an elephant, we each have views of Software Development based on our own limited experiences. In this one of two anchors to the Agile Software Development Series, Alistair Cockburn presents his view: Software Development is a cooperative game.

From this perspective, Cockburn builds a vocabulary that we can use to identify with and learn from experiences and observations that he and other practitioners of agile methodologies such as XP, Crystal, Adaptive, Scrum, and FDD have shared throughout their careers. He shares these experiences and his thoughts about them and how they support his view.

Written for experienced developers and managers, the book makes you reflect on what should be valued for any software development effort to be successful. Still, less experienced developers would do well to read it if only to gain the vocabulary. The vocabulary will help you see things that you would have otherwise not noticed. And if you donít notice something, you canít learn from it.

The appendices are particularly interesting. One discusses the Agile Manifesto and the values it sets forth. Cockburn adds his own reflections on those values. Another presents three articles that have influenced Cockburnís view and includes, of all things, the writings of a 17th-century samurai.

This book has me convinced that Cockburnís view comes very close to describing the true nature of the huge and complex beast that is Software Development. This book should prove useful for many years to come. (Junilu Lacar - Bartender, March 2002)
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Chosen by Cindy Glass and Madhav Lakkapragada