People Over Process: Leadership for Agility

1st Edition

Michael K. Levine

Productivity Press
October 11, 2019 Forthcoming
Reference - 288 Pages - 30 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9780367341886 - CAT# 318938

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Summary

This book is about improving and sustaining agility by focusing on people over process, as the first agile value advocates, and is the third and final book in the author's Lean and agile software trilogy. The first -- A Tale of Two Systems: Lean and Agile Software Development for Business Leaders -- describes what agile is and why we do it. The second -- A Tale of Two Transformations: Bringing Lean and Agile Software Development to Life -- guides leaders in transforming their organizations to adopt this approach. All three books mix description and elaboration of theory with practical demonstration in fictional companies and projects. This new third book -- People over Process: Leadership for Agility -- presents a model of facilitative leadership for agility, which informs the entire book. It begins by describing the roots of the Agile movement, which motivates the centrality of people and the need for leadership. The leadership model is then presented, very simply: Rigor, Alignment, Efficiency, through Frameworks. Leadership is considered for all team members, and then for the special case of the responsibilities of leaders in formal positions of organizational authority. With this strong background presented, the book proceeds to describe and demonstrate common and highly useful frameworks for agility. The fictional Pacifica Bank is introduced, and we see the Pacifica team work through Architecture, Project Planning, Team Structure, Governance, Scrum Meeting, and ultimately Retrospectives, using frameworks that have been presented. An Appendix summarizes the most useful frameworks for future reference. Throughout the book concepts are illustrated with vignettes from my experience (in the didactic sections) and with the Pacifica fictional case study. The key benefits of the book are to make everyone involved in agile work more effective and fulfilled. Essentially, since Agile was first introduced almost two decades ago, the primary focus in practice has been on process. The “Scrum” methodology was developed and promulgated, and has been widely adopted. This has been on balance broadly positive, but as an industry we have progressed to the point where following the steps of a methodology, particularly one that seeks to implement concepts where the first value is “People over Process,” has reached its limits.

The reader of this book:

• Gains a powerful, simple model of leadership that enables the “People” in “People over Process.”

• Sees these principles in action in a fictional company, making agile leadership understandable and engaging

• Improves their ability to participate in and lead agility

• Learns extraordinarily useful “frameworks” that help in the most important activities in agile software In short, the reader will be better at delivering valuable software solutions, more valuable to their organizations, and more fulfilled in their work.

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