Book Review: Agile Conversations

Cover of the book: Agile Conversations by Squirrel and Frederick

At First Glance

The book offers a different perspective on Agile methodologies than most books, but a perspective that is consistent with the Agile principles. First of all, it focuses on the members of the agile team as humans, not resources. The core argument that the book is that developers/engineers are not interchangeable parts of the software or feature factory. Rather they are humans with a unique set of characteristics that they bring to any project.

The book focuses on the key aspects of actually delivering value among persons: conversations. The title of the book is not an exaggeration: it is about conversations that help you deliver value.

The Book

The book is entertaining and easy to read. The first chapter was a great recap of what got us to the Agile paradigm as the status-quo for software development. But it also raises all the issues that have arose from its implementation. Mainly, that the Agile-fundamentalist focus on marking activities as agile-complaint and ensuring everyone follows the same recipe instead of paying attention to the first line of the Agile Manifesto:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

After the first chapter, the remainder of the book focuses on the different types of conversation that would help you deliver value. The types of conversations are:

The Trust conversation

The Fear conversation

The Why

The Commitment conversation

The Accountability conversation

I did not Like

I got the Kindle edition, it is a prerelease edition, so the format was a bit weird.

I would have liked to read a bit of criticism to the approach they are proposing. But to be honest, it is not an academic paper, so this is not necessarily expected.

Overall

Go and read it! If you do Agile, you want to do Agile, you are a student, you are slightly involved in software/product development, then you should be reading this book.

Unlike other changes in work culture, you and you alone can implement the strategies here recommended as part of your daily/weekly routine and work interactions. Eventually, you will be able to convince your teammates and coworkers to implement them as part of your work philosophy.

Being Agile is using the agile manifesto as your source of inspiration and guide for delivering value. It is not about counting points or complying with ceremonies.

You can get the book from Amazon or wherever you like.

Annex: Agile Manifesto

Just for context, here is the Agile Manifesto:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

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Product Strategist, UX Researcher & Entrepreneur. Based in Berlin (DE). I work with UX Research Methods, Design Thinking, Agile, Gamification & Design Sprints.

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Dr. Eduardo Calvillo Gamez

Dr. Eduardo Calvillo Gamez

Product Strategist, UX Researcher & Entrepreneur. Based in Berlin (DE). I work with UX Research Methods, Design Thinking, Agile, Gamification & Design Sprints.

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