Everywhere in the agile world I hear the same questions:
• How do I plan for large teams?
• What size iteration should we use?
• How should I report progress to management?
• How do I prioritize stories?
• How do I get the big picture of the project?
These questions, and many others, are skillfully addressed in this book. If you are a project manager, project lead, developer, or director, this book gives you the tools you need to estimate, plan, and manage agile projects of virtually any size.
I have known Mike Cohn for five years. I met him shortly after the Agile Manifesto was signed. Mike joined the Agile Alliance with a unique enthusiasm and energy. Any project he took on, he completed, and completed well. He was visible, and he was helpful. He very quickly became indispensable to the fledgling organization.
Now he has put the same level of competence, thoroughness, and energy into this book. And it shows. It shows big time.
It shows, because this book gives advice that is innately practical. This is not a book of theoretical abstractions. As a reader, you will not be spending your time in the clouds, looking at the problems at the 30,000 foot level. Instead, Mike provides concrete practices, techniques, tools, charts, formulae, and—best of all—cogent advice. This book is a how-to manual for estimating and planning.
Laced throughout the book are anecdotes that expose Mike’s experience in using the techniques and tools he is describing. He tells you when they have worked for him, and when they haven’t. He tells you what can go wrong, and what can go right. He makes no promises, offers no silver bullet, provides no guarantee. Yet at the same time he leaves you with little doubt that he is offering a large measure of his own hard-won experience.
There have been many books that have touched upon the topics of agile estimation and planning. Indeed, there have been a few that have made it their primary topic. But none have matched the depth and utility of this book, which covers the topic so completely, and so usefully, that I think it is bound to be regarded as the definitive work.
OK, I know I’m gushing, but I’m excited. I’m excited that so many long-standing questions have finally been answered with sufficient competence. I’m excited that I now have a tool I can give to my clients when they ask the hard questions. I’m excited that this book is ready, and that you are about to read it.
I am pleased and honored to have this book in my series. I think it’s a winner.
Robert C. Martin