The Agile Samurai Review

Cover

The Agile Samurai: How Agile Masters Deliver Great Software

A bit of background first. Well, you see, lately I’ve been obsessed with agile project management, especially after running across Gravity on Chrome Web Store which is a really nice web tool for agile project management (I’ll reserve that story for another post). Ever since then, I’ve been looking for more info on the agile method so I can understand more about how I can use the tool effectively. Weird motivation, right? Actually, I’ve been a fan of the agile method for some times and I have tried to apply a few of its practices (continuous integration, refactoring, those kind of stuff) to my daily coding, so I thought I’d better learn about agile properly.

Anyway, I’ve been browsing several books about agile on Kindle store (on my Kindle for Android), checking out the first chapter to see if the content is good and the writing style “clicks” with me. A few that I tried seemed pretty much out of my league (like most of Mike Cohn books), despite delivering a great material with an interesting writing style. I also have been trying to get my hands on the legendary book, Agile Software Development, Principles, Patterns, and Practices by Robert C. Martin, to no avail unfortunately. One night I decided to browse Amazon from my laptop instead, and found this book, the Agile Samurai which isn’t available on Kindle Store (I’ve got several things to say about Kindle, but I definitely am not going to write it on this post) and immediately fell in love.

So, how’s the book? The book, despite being an introductory book, manages to cover a lot of ground from project inception, agile project planning to several agile practices. It doesn’t really go in-depth, only explaining the fundamental of each topic and several scenarios that may happens during a project life cycle, but I suppose that is the essence of the agile method, anything can go, as long as you can deliver value to the customers. The book doesn’t really covers agile concept method (user stories, iteration) until chapter 6 and instead talks about project inception. People who only cares about agile project management will probably be disappointed, but I found myself quite liking the material, the inception deck is definitely a brilliant idea. Overall, I think the book manages to deliver an introduction to the agile method quite satisfyingly.

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Similar images are scattered across the book

What I really like from the book is how the author uses a lot of images to convey the material. That, and the conversational tone of the book really helps the reader to get engaged with the book and understands the content better (now, if only every textbooks on my university used this style instead of that boring, lecturing style…). I found myself wanting to keep turning the page to see what’s next since the author explains stuff in a quick pace on this book, having each chapter short enough to keep the readers feel fresh with the variety of topics covered. The combination of the quick pace and the short length (250 pages) make this book a very good one for light reading so learning new stuff doesn’t feel like a chore.

Too bad the book doesn’t cover more agile practices, it only covers unit testing, refactoring, test-driven development and continuous integration. It barely touch pair programming and other practices. By the end of the book, I found myself wanting to know more about how unit testing work, other agile practices, and kanban =D

So, how’s the final verdict? I definitely recommend this book to readers that’s still new to the agile method and are looking for a fun way to learn it. While those that already understands the agile method might be better off with a more advanced book.

Oh yeah, I finally found Robert C. Martin‘s Agile Principles, Patterns, and Practices in C# on Kindle Store, and a quick skim shows that it covers agile practices in a lot more detail. Since I cannot find it anywhere else, may be it will be the first book I buy on Kindle Store =D

BTW, does anyone know a good book or other kind of resource on kanban?

~Original post on Google+

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