Practices of an Agile Developer
Working in the Real World
Venkat Subramaniam and Andy Hunt
Pages: 208
ISBN: 0-9745140-8-X
Date: April 2006

Review by Fermin Ordaz

Pieces of valuable advice in every paragraph!

This book is written in a very clear, straightforward, and enjoyable
way. Every topic is well justified and supported by real life examples
and metaphors. This approach makes them look like simply common sense
practices, but in fact rarely followed in your day to day duties. Even
already known guidelines are worth to review them.

Through these practices, any person involved in software development
may understand a little bit more of how this business works, how all
interactions and collaborations are equally important to achieve the
project goals. The authors not only covered inherent developer related
aspects like design, coding and debugging, but also general effective
team work habits like: “criticize ideas, not people”, “invest in your
team”, “be a mentor”, “allow people to figure it out”, etc. On the
other hand, as an agile book, they also provide a good deal of advice
about how to effectively collaborate with users and customers,
including topics like: “let customers make decisions”, “listen to
users”, “get frequent feedback using demos”, etc.

Every practice is presented in the following standard way, making them
easy to approach and understand:

* Introduction: identified by a little evil’s icon, starts the topic
by confronting you with bad habits and shortcuts that many of us are
familiar with, in one or another way. Sometimes, this section makes
you think “I’ve done/seen this, is doesn’t look that bad”. But
actually, when you go to the main section, you easily realize the
negative aspects of them.

* Main section: the authors explain in plain English, why those evil’s
habits are none recommended, referencing real life situations and
metaphors. At the same time, they will show you the right way of
dealing with specific situations and scenarios.

* Do what’s right: identified by a little angel icon, points out in a
clear and brief expression, what should be the right thing to do in
regards with the topic.

* What it feels like: this section gives you a subjective hint about
how practicing the right thing should feel like.

* Keeping your balance: provides additional sanity check hints, that
will allow you to avoid abusing of any given practice.

I would definitely recommend this book to agilists and non agilists,
developers, project leads, architects, managers and customers that are
really engaged in their projects. It will provide in every case,
valuable pieces of advice and reference points that will allow you to
have a different perspective of this team-work-business of software
development.

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