Thursday, 17 February 2011

Book: Agile Project Management with Scrum

This book provides an excellent coverage of how the Scrum software development methodology works. It introduces the key concepts then chapter by chapter reveals the intricacies involved in implementing the methodology by providing many, many, real world examples.

The author is one of the original signatories to the Agile Manifesto. He knows his stuff. Aside from the odd very dry joke, and perhaps the first chapter or two, the book does not deviate from the following pattern:

  • Chapter addresses one of the key features of the Scrum methodology (e.g. the purpose of the SrumMaster).
  • The chapter's introduction covers the overview of the concept and explains how the chapter will deal with it.
  • Two or three section (the "body") take us through some strategically selected real world examples, including an analysis of each.
  • A conclusion ties the chapter together, and ponders the various outcomes of the scenarios provided.

It's written in a predictable and confident manner. Exactly what you want in a book about project management and software development methodology.

Appendix A of the book along with the glossary is fantastic. It provides all the necessary information required for a quick start, and for reference material once Scrum is underway. Only thing left to do now is start using Scrum for real!

Title: Agile Project Management with Scrum
Author: Ken Schwaber
Link: Amazon
Tags: Project Management, Software Development Methodology

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Book: The One Thing You Need to Know...About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success

As the title suggests, this book is partitioned into three sections - in the opinion of the author:

How to be a great manager
How to be a great leader
How to achieve sustained individual success

I found this book useful as it clearly defines what the core competencies of a "leader" and a "manager" are; which is something that I have not found elsewhere as yet. Have to admit that some of what I read was news to me - I've realised that my role involves both. To spell it out, effectively managing is looking after your individuals and your team; helping them find success in their work and supporting them. Leading is about providing a vision for your constituents (team) which they can aspire to; painting a picture of what things will be like when the goal is achieved and being clear about what it'll take to get there.

The author introduces the concept of a "controlling insight". This is a succinct description of the one thing that stands out clearly as being the key to success in any distinct pursuit (for example, being a great manager). Each section starts by developing a hypothesis, then revealing the controlling insight that the hypothesis supports. From there each section goes onto explain how to use the controlling insight to your advantage in order to achieve success in that area.

I found the section on sustained individual success most intriguing. The author encourages the reader to cleave away the parts of their existence that they find dull or annoying and reclaim that space for pursuits that inspire them. He offers some clever techniques to do this mostly without disruption. Many useful concepts and approaches are covered.

The content is persuasive and inspiring. My one comment would be that there are a statements made that indicate the author believes that the phenomenon of religion is currently in the process of being phased out and replaced by the world of business and technology - I'll simply say that I disagree. Overall a very good book.

Title: The One Thing You Need to Know...About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success
Author: Marcus Buckingham
Tags: Leadership, Management, Sustained Individual Success

Migrating (and Open-Sourcing) an Historical Codebase: SVN-to-Git

I have a SVN repo on my local machine that I have been shoving stuff into since before I knew how to use revision control systems properly (...