TITLE: Agile Software Development in the Large AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: October 07, 2004 5:30 PM DESC: Jutta Eckstein's new book addresses one of the knocks on the agile methods -- that they don't scale. Jutta shows that's just not true. ----- BODY: I just received my copy of Jutta Eckstein's new book, Agile Software Development in the Large: Diving into the Deep in the mail yesterday. (Thanks, Jutta!) This book addresses one of the persistent myths about agile methodologies: that they only work for small teams. Jutta is a consultant with many years' experience in software development, and she has written this book to document practices that have worked for large teams building software in an agile way. And when she says 'large', she means 'large', projects with up to a 1,000 developers. Most books on agile software development either theorize or talk about the use of agile methods on a smaller scale. That is natural, as many of the pioneers are writing about their experiences using agile ideas in their own smaller organizations. Unfortunately, this has left the agile folks at a disadvantage when asked, "But does it scale?" My answer to this question has always had to be "I don't know for certain", because I've never seen agile methods applied in large, traditional software houses. (I always follow up with theorizing about how it could or should scale, but such theories don't encourage much confidence in a person who has to bear the risk of potential failure if it doesn't.) Just from my first skim of the book, I see many things that I like. Perhaps best is that this book presents practical guidelines we can all follow. It illustrates the guidelines with stories of real projects, but Jutta has done some serious thinking to distill wisdom from her decade of experience with the agile methods. I also like that the book isn't specific to XP or Scrum or any other particular agile approach. It deals instead with the values and principles that are common to all of these. As a result, the advice we receive here should be useful no matter how we tailor a particular approach to our organizations. So, I am quite excited to read Jutta's book this weekend. She can teach me something about agile software development that lies outside my experience. I know of Jutta's work in the OOP and patterns communities, and I have come to respect her insight and pragmatism. This book should become a staple on my agile bookshelf. -----