Don’t Spook the Herd! – A Book Review
Don’t Spook the Herd!: How to Get Your Agile Projects Running Smoothly is a practical guide to Agile project management. Agile methodologies have shown success in helping teams manage their software development projects. This book further clarifies and provides clear examples of what Agile is, and how it can be applied in any type of project, in any industry. Most references focus on the hard factors, such as processes and tools. However, this book also highlights the importance of people, culture, stakeholders and leadership, otherwise referred to as the “herd.”
The paperback measures 6 inches wide by 0.7 inch thick by 9 inches long. It ships about 1 pound in weight. It has 274 pages divided into 23 chapters. It is also available in Kindle format. It was published by Miller Productions in December 2017 in English. ISBN-10: 0648115410; ISBN-13: 978-0648115410
Don’t Spook the Herd is for both new and experienced Agile practitioners. Project managers and other project professionals who have implemented, are in the process of implementing or planning to implement some form of Agile process will benefit from this book. Students of project management can also use it as a reference.
What Customers Say
Ofer Zwikael, Associate Professor, stated that Don’t Spook the Herd shows a unique connection between Agile project management and the implementation of organizational strategy. It is a must read and a perfect practitioner guide.
Kathy Schwalbe, Author, believed that the author has really focused on the essence of Agile, which are people. She described the author’s perspective as interesting, and often amusing, recognizing that people are the key to successful projects.
Shane Hastie, Director-Agile Learning Programs, stated that the book provides a roadmap for organizations who want to migrate from sequential, predictive approaches to a learning environment. Readers will understand what it means to adopt an Agile culture and take the first step towards agility.
Content, Approach, Style
Content: Don’t Spook the Herd is divided into 4 parts: definitions, people, process, and final thoughts. Each part discusses the specifics related to Agile, as a project management method, the different flavors (Scrum, Kanban, Crystal, etc.), and other topics. The part on process is comprehensive, as the author believes that good processes and tools make a difference. However, all throughout the book, the reader is reminded to pay attention to people, not just processes. Thus, the analogy that a project is like a herd of deer. If people are comfortable and feel confident about how the project is being managed, the project will run smoothly like a graceful herd.
Approach/Tone: The author provides an introductory approach of the subject, using analogies and examples to provide the reader a better understanding of Agile. He uses an instructional tone but also provides examples from his own experience.
Style: The content is organized around the main parts or aspects of Agile project management: It is recommended to read them according to the sequence. However, readers can go back and forth for clarification and reference of the previous discussions. The topics are all labeled with headers. The paragraphs are short and easy to read. The language used is simple to understand. Agile and project management terms are defined at the first part.
Why Buy the Book
Don’t Spook the Herd is a comprehensive guide for readers new to Agile project management. It is full of practical examples and lessons. It also reminds them of carefully selecting and working on a particular type of project, as Agile is not the solution to all kinds of problem. Other important aspects are iteration, the right environment and culture, a supportive organization, and respect for self-organizing teams.
Dan Miller is a certified PMP and founder/co-founder of several businesses. He is the founder of Citadel Systems, an Australian Capital Territory-based ICT project management and project capability development company. He is the co-founder of Trade Guardian, a professional services provider of administration, compliance and bookkeeping services. Dan is also the co-founder of Smart Business Guardian, a management consulting company for startups, small businesses, and entrepreneurs. He has a bachelor’s degree in economics and information technology, a Master’s degree in software engineering, and an MBA, with specialization in business administration and project management, all received from the Australian National University. He also was an adjunct lecturer at this university.