Introduction to Agile Methods

Sondra Ashmore / Kristin Runyan  
Total pages
June 2014
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Introduction to Agile Methods
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This book is written as an instructional resource for those new to agile, including software engineering undergraduate students and any others within the computer science degree programs who want to understand what it means to work in an Agile environment. The book includes the history and value of the shift to agile development as well as insightful vignettes on the practical application of how it is being implemented in the workplace. This book will help arm newer practitioners with a functional knowledge of agile and to give them valuable experience with the key concepts, common vocabulary, and known implications of the overall agile paradigm.


  • Classroom-tested content proven effective in both academic settings
  • Compares agile with traditional waterfall methods, illuminating the tradeoffs and offering realistic guidance on when to use each
  • Presents multiple agile use cases and case studies
  • Addresses all key roles and the entire project lifecycle
  • Surveys each key method, including Scrum, Kanban, XP, Crystal, FDD, Lean, and DSDM

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

About the Authors xix


Chapter 1: The History and Value of Agile Software Development 1

The Beginnings of Software Development as Methodology 2

Cayman Design 8

Conclusion 8

Summary 9

Interview with Robert Martin (Uncle Bob) 9

References and Further Reading 12

Review Questions 13


Chapter 2: Organizational Culture Considerations with Agile 15

What Is Organizational Culture, and Why Does It Matter? 16

The Team Members’ Viewpoint 16

A Manager’s Viewpoint 27

An Executive’s Viewpoint 34

Conclusion 42

Summary 42

Interview with Scott Ambler 44

References and Further Reading 45

Review Questions 47


Chapter 3: Understanding the Different Types of Agile 49

Extreme Programming (XP) 50

Scrum 54

Feature-Driven Development 56

Dynamic Systems Development Method 57

Lean Software Development 59

Kanban Method 60

Crystal Family 62

Certification 64

Implementing Tools and Techniques at Cayman Design 66

Conclusion 66

Summary 66

Interview with Alistair Cockburn 67

References and Further Reading 70

Review Questions 70


Chapter 4: Describing the Different Roles 73

Deep Dive into Scrum Roles 74

Roles in Other Methodologies 95

Kanban 99

Practical Examples of Roles 99

Conclusion 103

Summary 103

Interview with Roman Pichler 105

Interview with Lyssa Adkins 107

References and Further Reading 109

Review Questions 111


Chapter 5: The New Way to Collect and Document Requirements 113

Old Form of Requirements Gathering 114

Agile Requirements in Scrum 114

Additions and Considerations from the Other Methodologies 124

Enhancing Requirements 126

From User Stories to Deliverables 129

Communication 132

Lean Product Development and the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) 137

Conclusion 139

Summary 139

Interview with Ellen Gottesdiener and Mary Gorman 141

References and Further Reading 144

Review Questions 146


Chapter 6: Grooming and Planning 149

Product Backlog (Scrum and XP) 150

Prioritization of Stories 152

Estimating 155

Scrum: Product Backlog Grooming 160

Scrum: Sprint Planning 165

Extreme Programming: XP Planning Game 167

Maintenance of Legacy Code 168

Triple Constraints 169

Kanban 171

Conclusion 171

Summary 171

Interview with Mike Cohn 173

References and Further Reading 176

Review Questions 177


Chapter 7: Testing, Quality, and Integration 179

Quality 180

Refactored Code 182

Conclusion 203

Summary 203

Interview with Tim Ottinger 204

References and Further Reading 208

Review Questions 208


Chapter 8: Tracking and Reporting 211

Kanban 212

Tracking 216

Meetings or Ceremonies 226

Measuring Success in Agile 230

Conclusion 231

Summary 231

Interview with Kent McDonald 233

References and Further Reading 235

Review Questions 236


Chapter 9: Agile beyond IT 239

Products beyond Software Development 240

Speaking to the Market with Agility 248

Agile in Other Organizations 251

Conclusion 255

Summary 256

Interview with Travis Arnold 258

References and Further Reading 260

Review Questions 261


Appendix: John Deere Case Study 263


Glossary 273

Index 289


Sondra Ashmore, Ph.D., is an IT leader who specializes in large Fortune 500 corporations. Her areas of expertise include product management, project management, and new product development for IT offerings. She received her graduate education at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in technical communication and management, and at Iowa State in human computer interaction. Her research focuses on the software development process, both Waterfall and Agile, and explores strategies to optimize the user experience. In 2012, she was recognized as a 'Forty under 40' business leader by the Business Record, and won the Iowa Technology Association's Women of Innovation award for business innovation and leadership for her work at IBM. Sondra is certified as a Project Management Professional (PMP), Project Management Institute Agile Certified Professional (PMI-ACP), and Stanford Certified Project Manager (SCPM).


Kristin Runyan is a product delivery expert, specializing in product management, Agile coaching and training, and leadership. Kristin is certified as a Scrum Master (CSM), Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Pragmatic Marketing Product Manager, and a Project Management Professional (PMP). She was a 2011 winner of the Women of Innovation award from the Iowa Technology Association. Kristin got her undergraduate degree at Texas Christian University and her MBA at Saint Louis University. She lives in Des Moines, Iowa, and is an avid blogger at; her twitter handle is @KristinRunyan.