Quality Assurance and Project Management

Aug 17 2014   2:30AM GMT

Book Review: Agile Estimating And Planning By Mike Cohn

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja

Tags:
Agile

This is an excellent book written by Mike Cohn who is the founder of Mountain Goat Software. The title of the book Agile Estimating And Planning says it all for estimating and planning of an Agile Project. It says if the planning and estimating is not done in an agile way, the agile project is not relevant to this estimating and planning. Without taking agile into account while planning and estimating of your projects, you cannot run your projects in Agile way.

Mountain Goat Software is a legendary, over 20 years old company engaged in consulting in process and project management. The company is a leading training organization for many global corporate. Mike Cohn has clientele ranging from small start-ups to a large number of top 40 Fortune companies. Mike is also a founding member of well known Agile Alliance besides being a regular contributor to a number of related magazines and a renowned speaker at a number of conferences. Mike has also written a good amount of books like User Stories Applied in 2004.

Agile Estimating and Planning talks of a number of important features like planning, estimating and scheduling thereby answering the questions like – What to plan to build and its timelines, sizing of estimations and when to do what with a quantitative answer to “How much?”. The book has 7 sections and 23 chapters. At the end of each chapter you will find a well organized set of key learning points from that chapter to be imbibed in real life scenarios. The book has intelligently taken care of global companies without being focused on a specific country.

Part 1 of the book focuses on importance of planning, problems arising out of wrong planning and how to set goals in an agile atmosphere. A good plan needs to be built in a crisp manner to make is agile planning. Whereas Chapter 1 explains above, chapter 2 talks about the difference between traditional, orthodox project approach where estimating and planning go usually haywire, thus resulting in project delays or failures. In chapter 3 we learn about the meaning of agility and the broad level significance of agile estimating and planning that is further explained to micro level in further chapters.

Part 2 talks in depth about project estimation, estimation sizing and estimation duration. Story building is well explained in chapter 4 & 5. Chapter 6 deals with story points with a fantastic explanation on planning poker. Chapter 7 further focuses on alignment of story points with estimations and thus reviewing at the end of each story point so as to go for re-estimating.

Overall a must read for all agile aspirants to experts so as to gain a great deal of insight on the subject.

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