Great emphasis is typically placed on the “mechanics” of agile development--its processes and tools. It’s easy to forget that the Agile Manifesto values individuals and interactions ahead of processes and tools. You can gain powerful benefits by refocusing on the people side of agile development.
This book will show you how. It’s your practical user’s guide to solving the problems agile teams encounter, packed with stories, best practices, exercises, and tips you can actually use. Step by step, you'll learn how to get teams to truly work as teams, not as disconnected individuals. Along the way, you'll find profoundly realistic advice on communication, motivation, collaboration, change, group dynamics, and much more.
Whether you are an agile project manager, ScrumMaster, product owner, developer, trainer, or consultant, this book will help you make your agile environment more productive, more effective, and more personally fulfilling.
Review By: Melissa M. Tondi 02/01/2012
At a time when the agile methodology is a hot commodity, Individuals and Interactions shifts the focus from a prescriptive checklist to a holistic, collaborative approach while focusing on the most important aspect of success: the people. Don’t let the 200 pages fool you; this book packs real-world, useful, and thought-provoking information into a compact package. Applying the DISC framework at the onset of team development is an easy and practical way to get to know your team and to capitalize on their strengths from the very beginning. Although the book certainly focuses on the agile method and software development, the DISC framework can easily be applied to organizational management and general business frameworks. The fundamentals are almost elementary in their simplicity. However, they focus on those important traits that we so often take for granted.
Regardless of your role within an agile team, this book will offer useful material, but keep in mind that some of the suggestions and implementation tactics are meant for those who are either in a resource management position or in a leadership role within the team. You will find so much more information on your own self-evaluation that you’ll want to keep it close at hand as a how-to guide for effectively interacting with people on and off the job.
The authors do a great job of making a case for focusing on people first and processes later. Let’s face it, timelines aren’t getting longer; they’re getting shorter, and as agile allows teams the foundation to support delivering working software early and often, we tend to forget that the most important quality of valuable software is the people who design, build, test, and implement it. Although most of us wouldn’t argue that point, in crunch times when deadlines are looming, we tend to lose sight of the people part. Individuals and Interactions poignantly reminds us and provides both case studies and exercises to bring us back to the reason why we work in software.
Read this book and keep it close, whether on your desk or on your nightstand. You’ll find its style easy and exercises challenging and fun. And, even though the main premise is applying the DISC framework within project teams, you’ll forget the acronym and have fun working with your team again.