Like many books these days it comes with its own web site that is slowly expanding to cover all the topics from the book. It is accessible at: http://jamesshore.com/Agile-Book/. I have not looked very far into this site, but it looks useful, and is currently up to about chapter 7 (out of 15).
This book assumes that the reader has had very little exposure to the details of "agile development." It provides a broad overview that would be useful and usable. Instead of going into extreme detail, it provides copious reference, many of which are freely available on the internet. This book provides enough detail that it could probably be used on its own to get started with agile development, but I would highly recommend further reading into particular techniques to get more depth before diving in head first.
In the introduction the authors state that most of this book presents a "little lie." This lie is actually a pedagogical technique that I found vey useful. Basically the majority of the book presents the techniques and practices that make up their own personal version of Extreme Programming. They make no attempt to catalog the dizzying variety of agile programming methods out there such as Lean, Crystal, Extreme, Scrum,
The bulk of the book is made up of sections describing a particular technique or practice. These include such things as "Sit Together", "Test Driven Development", and "Incremental Design". Within each section it starts with a description of the technique that usually contains a few anecdotes about its implementation. These are often descriptions of failures that tried to avoid the technique. This is very helpful since I find that you can usually learn much more from failure than success. And who has the time to have a bunch of failures just to learn how to succeed?
The description is followed by several short sections titled: Questions, Results, Contraindications, Alternatives, and Further Reading. The Questions section is essentially a small FAQ listing the most common complaints/problems with the technique and the authors' viewpoints on them. These are usually spot on, and often matched word for word some concern I had about the technique presented. In Results they present the desired outcome and reasoning behind the technique being described. Contraindications lists situations that would preclude successful use of the technique. I often found this to be very enlightening. It was pretty thorough at listing what is truly required to get up and running with a particular technique. Alternatives lists useful ways to modify or replace a technique if it doesn't fit in with their work environment. Finally Further Reading is exactly what its name suggests. It provides places to go for more information.
I found the very structured layout of the book very helpful. This structure helps each technique to stand on its own, so that the book can be used well as a reference later. It also provided a sort of rhythm to the book that made it quite enjoyable to read in my opinion. Each technique was presented in a small digestible fashion. And all the references were close to the material they related to.
I found this book to be a very enjoyable read, and chock full of useful advice. I would highly recommend it as a starting point for anyone who is seriously considering starting an "agile" software project, especially if they are interested in XP. I would not consider this book sufficient on its own for starting out with agile development, but it does provide the basics, and a framework which can be filled in with experience and further reading. Also, the extensive references in the book would provide a great place to start when digging deeper."
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