Agile Project Management – Book Review
To meet customer’s needs, today’s PMs need a fast and flexible system. Combining successful PM practices with those of software developers, Agile is a system to produce your best in a demanding environment. Jim Highsmith’s Agile Project Management: Creating innovative Products (2nd edition) is the go-to resource to understand this system. This edition adds new chapters with techniques to scale APM (Agile Project Management) for larger and more complex projects.
This 2nd edition, published July 20, 2009, has 14 chapters (432 pages) with a bibliography and an index. It’s available for you in Kindle or paperback version. The paperback is 7.3 x 1 x 9.1 inches and weighs 1.6 pounds. Only available in English.
ISBN-10: 0321658396; ISBN-13: 978-0321658395
This book is geared to PM professionals (leaders,managers, and executives) at all levels of experience. If you want to see your success using APM on a micro level pushed enterprise-wide, this is the book for you. Because these are team-wide cultural shifts, it is important that all key stakeholders read the book.
What are Customers Saying
Highsmith is an expert on APM and the reviews reflect this reverence. Eighty-six percent of the reviews on Amazon are either four or five stars.
- Masa M. (Amazon) describes the opening chapter of the book as the definitive introduction to APM and leaves the reader eager for the remaining case studies.
- Simon (Amazon) points out that Hightower’s experience enabled him to alter this edition and keep the topic relevant.
The one critical review on Amazon was from Vivek. Vivek took issue with the length of the book and the amount of quotations from other sources.
Content, Approach, and Style
Content: After the introduction, Hightower spends four chapters reviewing the APM revolution, it’s limitations and it’s successes. These chapters contain a rough sketch of the framework and how it compares to traditional approaches. Chapter five is the outline of the framework with the phases of development. Chapters six through ten are in-depth explanations of each phase (iteration) with supporting case studies. The last three chapters describe the process of scaling this framework, building and governing portfolios, and assessing team performance.
Approach: Highsmith may be an expert, but he doesn’t rely on his status to convey his points. He opens each chapter with a thesis statement and carefully validates it. He supports his points with a wide range of sources from many industries, and provides an extensive bibliography for further reading.
Style: The writing is dense. The sentences are long and compound and his vocabulary assumes that the reader is familiar with PM. Despite this style, the tone conveys a sense of urgency. The reader will leave each chapter compelled to deepen their understanding. Additionally, to finish the book with enthusiasm to find allies to leverage the power of APM.
Why do you need this book?
The traditional method of PM, the waterfall method, is a relic of the world before computers. It is a slow, plodding method that often leaves both the customer and your team discouraged. If you, as one Amazon reader described it, have gone over the waterfall in a barrel and never want to take that trip again, then this book is a must read. This book is also an important tool for those of you who’ve used APM for projects and you want to see your enterprise move with the same speed and fluidity.
Jim Highsmith is an executive consultant with thirty years’ experience in IT, PM, and software development. He’s one of the co-authors of the groundbreaking Agile Manifesto and the Declaration of Independence for Project Leaders. He’s the founding member of The AgileAlliance and the Agile Project Leadership Network. In 2000, he won the prestigious Jolt Award and in 2005 he won the International Stevens Award. He has a B.S in electrical engineering and an M.S. in management. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.