From The Editor


I wish there was a book entitled "How to Write Your First Letter as an Editor", unfortunately there is none that I am aware of, so please bear with me. As the new Editor-in-Chief of the Agile Journal, I would like to introduce myself and tell you a little about where we will be going with the Agile Journal over the next few months.

I have been in the Agile field as a practitioner since 1999 when I was in a team that learned about a little known process called eXtreme Programming to save a death march project. I've been infected with the Agile bug ever since and have been sharing my knowledge ever since. Throughout the years I've been lucky enough to learn from many talented people and teams learning about, adopting, and adapting Agile techniques to build better software. A little over a year ago, I co-founded Gemba Systems and have been focusing exclusively on helping teams select, adapt, and adopt Agile practices to transition to a more effective software development process.

When the Agile Journal started up a little over two years ago, I became an avid reader and an occasional contributor. The Agile Journal was one of the mainstays of my reading to keep up with what others were doing in the field; what was working, and just as importantly, what was not. I've also written two books focused on adopting Agile practices: Patterns of Agile Practice Adoption: The Technical Cluster and Agile Adoption Patterns: A Roadmap to Organizational Success.

To summarize, I am a hands-on practitioner of Agile software development techniques actively helping organizations leverage Agile practices in context to build better software. I also have been and continue to be an active participant in the Agile community. And now, I am also Editor-in-Chief of the Agile Journal.

The Vision for the Future of the Agile Journal

There is currently no one place online that I can recommend when one of my clients wants to start reading about Agile development. My vision for the Agile Journal is to be that one place to visit when thinking about Agile software development. The only way to realistically achieve that goal is to do one thing really well, and link to other sites for those issues that we don't cover.

The Agile Journal's main focus is to provide our readers regularly with insightful articles; that's what we do well and what we will continue to improve upon. Furthermore, we are planning a redesign of our site to make the wealth of information more accessible. Finally, we plan to add and regularly maintain several reference sections to help our readers find other useful resources online.

What to expect:

Over the next few months we will be incrementally introducing the following changes to the Agile Journal, think of it as a backlog for the project of taking things to the next level:


  • Starting next with the month of October 2008, we will be publishing articles throughout the month instead of all at once. This will keep things fresh and give our readers at least one new article to read every week.


  • We will be going towards a column format, where every issue will have a variety of topics covered instead of one issue per topic. This will give everyone something that is of potential interest and value in every edition. Here are the different columns that we have in mind to more accurately reflect the current state of Agile development and serve the needs of the community:


    • Business case: "Business value" is an all too easily promised result of adopting Agile practices, but we have yet to build an effective vocabulary with executives with responsibilities vastly larger than the success of one or two software teams. We will be bringing you articles that you can give to your boss, or your boss's boss, to help them understand how Agile development can help and why they should seriously give it a try.


    • Human aspects: There is a growing body of knowledge in the community that examines human dynamics and relationships that underpin all successful teams. Much of this work is taken from other disciplines and will be translated into Agile-ese for our readers.


    • Basics: Introductory materials for those who want to learn the basics of Agile development and practices. For example, in this month, we have an article that goes over the basic responsibilities of the Product Owner role.


    • Adoption: How-to articles that examine the process of successfully using Agile practices.


    • Principles and values: Agile practices derive from a set of core principles and values. Understanding of these principles and values enable teams to adapt Agile practices to fit their contexts.


    • Large organizations: More than ever, Agile software development is being adopted in large organizations that have completely different contexts and constraints than the smaller projects and companies where Agile development got its start. To get the promised benefits from Agile, practices are changed, adapted, and sometimes dropped all together to survive these different environments.


    • New ideas: We will also be bringing you regular articles that might not fall in the accepted definition of Agile development. This is very important as practitioners mold their understanding of Agile development to increasingly diverse situations, and address an ever-growing set of issues and problems.


Just as importantly here's what we won't be doing at the Agile Journal:


  • We won't be reinventing the wheel. There are several publications and resources currently available that address issues that are not in our core offering: provide our readers regularly with insightful articles. We will create a resources section to link out to those other sites, but will not be directly recreating their work.


  • We won't be accepting all submissions, in an effort to keep the quality of the articles high. At the same time, we will be working with new authors to help hone and polish their messages to bring them to the public.


  • We won't be focusing solely on accepted, mainstream, definitions of Agile. We will be coloring outside the lines to help the community evolve and make sure the next ten years of the Agile community are as successful and productive as the last ten.

Getting Involved:

As the new Editor-in-Chief of the Agile Journal I'll leverage my experience and ties to the Agile community to bring you, our readers, the highest quality articles to help you with your real-world issues in understanding, adopting, and adapting Agile principles, values, and practices.

Now, here's the catch, we don't have a team of writers at the Agile Journal working hard through the night to bring you these articles (although a few of us do pull the occasional all-nighter). All of our articles are contributed by members of the community who share their thoughts, experiences, successes, and - yes - failures. I invite each and every reader of the Agile Journal to consider sharing their experiences with the rest of the community by contributing articles on any of the subjects listed above. For those of you who are not up to, or are not interested in writing full articles, I invite you to leave comments on the articles - both positive comments and constructive criticism.

Amr Elssamadisy


Agile Journal


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