Practices of an Agile Developer

Title: Practices of an Agile Developer

Authors: Venkat Subramaniam & Andy Hunt
Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf

If you are looking for a step by step guide on running your software development projects, THIS IS NOT THE BOOK! This book, published in 2006 but still very valid today, collects the personal habits, ideas, and approaches of successful agile software developers and presents them in a series of short, easy-to-digest tips. There are 45 tips in all, covering a broad range of subjects such as the development process , incremental learning, etc. The format taken for each tip is quite interesting. As well as the indepth explanation and case study references, each tip has:

  • A taunt from the devil. That voice in your head that seems perfectly reasonable, but is infact taking you to a world of pain in the future.
  • Advice from your guardian angel. The counter-argument to the devil’s shenanigans.
  • A ‘What it feels like’ section. Nice short description of what happens when the tip is applied.
  • A ‘Keeping your balance’ section. This really reflects the Agile Development philosophy of adapting to the circumstances.

The authors have taken this approach out of the firm belief that the most important part of software development takes place in the developers head, so there is little focus on tools. However, they do provide a little sidebar called the Agile Toolkit which outlines the uses for:

  • Wiki
  • Version Control
  • Unit Testing
  • Build Automation & Continuous Integration

These tools support Agile Development, which the book describes as follows:
Agile Development uses feedback to make constant adjustments in a highly collaborative environment. Emphasis is mine, but I think this is a very good definition.

To summarise, Practices of an Agile Developer provides pragmatic ways of approaching the development process and your personal coding techniques as well as your own attitudes, issues with working on a team, and how to best manage your learning.

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