Book Notes #24: Enterprise-Scale Agile Software Development - James Schiel

William Meller - Enterprise Scale Agile Software - James Schiel
This book by James Schiel organizes the knowledge accumulated during the largest implementation of agile development and Scrum ever attempted by the time in 2009.


Title: Enterprise-Scale Agile Software Development
Author: James Schiel
Themes: Agile, Career, Cases, Technology, Management, Business
Year: 2009
Publisher: CRC Press
ISBN: 1439803226, 9781439803226
Pages: 382

Enterprise-Scale Agile Software Development is the collective sum of knowledge accumulated during the full-scale transition of a 1400-person organization to agile development-considered the largest implementation of agile development and Scrum ever attempted anywhere in the world.

This invaluable resource shows you how to improve project management practices and product quality assurance products, adopt new management methods and involve your current customers in development while inviting new ones. 

This book also covers ISO 9001 quality development practices, which help you create consistently high-quality software in a cost-efficient manner.

In my opinion, if you read a book written in 2009 now (in 2022), you will be impressed that we have been discussing the same topics for more than a decade.

William Meller - Enterprise Scale Agile Software - James Schiel

This book in 2009 went far beyond standardizing agile and Scrum practices. It divides the process into manageable tasks, demonstrating how to prepare for the change, plan for it, and then launch it.

My Book Highlights:

"... Agile development is about people, not a prescription. The intent of this book is to offer guidance and a tool kit..."

"... In the end, whether you decide to transition to agile development or not depends on your commitment to doing it right and your tolerance for being exposed to, dealing with, and solving organizational dysfunctions. You’ll need both commitment and tolerance in good supply to successfully complete a transition to agile development..."

"... I have seen agile development benefit organizations in a number of different ways. First and foremost, software quality is always improved by the concepts ingrained in agile development. The continuous testing of an application, rather than waiting for the testing phase of a project to see if it all works together, is one of the most effective practices that agile development provides to an organization. I have witnessed integration efforts that took months, only to be followed by projects that included continuous integration and testing that eliminated any special time during the project when the only thing happening was integration. This is also reflected in the practice of test-driven development, where the code and its associated tests are not only kept current and working but the tests are written before the code and are driven by the design, rather than being driven by the completed code..."

"... Whether the project went well or didn’t, any potential positive feedback was so far in the future that it was easy to abandon one project to go work on another that either was using the latest technology or was the beginning of the “next great product.” On the other hand, agile development, with its short iterations and sprint reviews, gave the developers that worked for me (and, truth be told, me as well) something to look forward to at the end of the sprint. Of the three possible answers we could get for any completed backlog item (“fantastic,” “great but would be better with changes,” and “not what I wanted”), two of them were at least positive and the third (“not what I wanted”) was fairly easy to protect against by simply improving the product owner’s contact with the team. Constructive feedback on a frequent basis keeps the development teams charged and engaged with the project..."

"... Similarly, customers are considered to be the subject matter experts in how a feature will be used in the finished product. Therefore, while customers don’t drive what a Scrum team works on (what a team builds is defined by the prioritization of the product backlog and how much the team is able to commit to), they can have a significant impact on how the feature actually works. In addition, those same customers can make suggestions for improvement that can be passed to the product owner and be added and prioritized on the product backlog immediately. In this way, a customer can actually suggest new possibilities and potentially see those possibilities become reality in a short space of time. Customers that feel more connected to your prioritization decisions and feel more a part of how your product is built become satisfied and committed customers..."

James Schiel sequences chapters to match typical developmental progression, and in addition to practical guidance, he provides a tool kit from which you can take ideas and select what works for you.

Chapters of the Book:


Chapter 1 - Introduction
   Web Site
   About This Book
   A Balancing Act
   Success Factors
   Suggested Readings

Chapter 2 - Why Agile?
   Myths about Agile Development
   Reasons to Stay Away from Agile
   How Your Organization Will Benefit from Agile

Chapter 3 - Transitional Concepts
   What Is Agile Development?
   Product Backlog
   Beta Test
   Workflow Summary
   The Product Backlog

Chapter 4 - Transition Barriers
   People Barriers
   Organizational Barriers

Chapter 5 - Management in an Agile Environment
   Getting Management Ready for the Transition
   An Effective Organizational Arrangement for Scrum Teams
   Hiring New Scrum Team Members
   The Care and Feeding of Scrum Teams
   Care and Feeding

Chapter 6 - Create the Transition Team
   The Transition Team Lead
   The Executive Sponsor

Chapter 7 - Define the Organizational Agreements
   Document the Agreements

Chapter 8 - Determine Transition Goals
   Measuring and Monitoring the Transition
   Improved Productivity through Reduced Defects
   Improved Performance through Increased Feature Value
   Setting Control Limits to Manage Corrective Actions
   Avoiding Organizational Dysfunction Caused by Measurements

Chapter 9 - Create the Transition Backlog
   Bringing the Transition Team Together

Chapter 10 - Beginning Transition Sprint 1
   The Sprint Schedule
   The Transition Backlog
   The Structure of the Transition Backlog
   Refining: Reducing Backlog Items to Sprint Size
   Sprint Planning
   What’s the Big Difference between Hours and Points?
   Building the Sprint Backlog
   Committing to Work in the First Transition Sprint
   Sprint Reviews for Transition Sprints
   Sprint Retrospectives for Transition Sprints
   Continuing beyond Transition Sprint 1

Chapter 11 - Create the Transition Budget
   Training and Coaching
   Software and Hardware

Chapter 12 - Develop the Transition Communication Plan
   Project Information Storage

Chapter 13 - Create the Training Plan
   Basic Concepts
   Agile Project Structure
   Roles in an Agile Project
   Matching Skills to Roles
   Skills Become Training Modules
   The Training Modules
   Defining the Tracks
   Executing the Tracks 
   The Role of Coaches in the Agile Transition
   Overload the Scrum Teams
   Scrum Masters and Scrum Product Owners
   Prove Your Skill First

Chapter 14 - Facilities Planning
   Team Rooms
   Setting Up a Team Room
   Employee Directories
   Employee Telephones
   Private Spaces
   Server Rooms
   The Facilities Plan

Chapter 15 - Selecting the Pilot Projects for the Agile Transition
   Define Your Goals
   Set Organizational Expectations
   Selecting Your Pilot Project
   Obstacles to a Successful Pilot Project
   Setting Your Project Up for Success

Chapter 16 - Tools in the Agile Enterprise
   Continuous Integration/Build
   Automated Testing
   Sprint and Backlog Management
   Team Communication

Chapter 17 - Managing Customer Involvement
   Selecting the Right Customer
   Managing the Involved Customer
   Managing Customer Involvement in a Large Organization

Chapter 18 - Agile Project Management, Getting Started
   Scheduling in an Agile Project
   Scheduling Challenges
   Determining the Project’s Estimated Costs
   Planning and Staffing
   Specialization and the Unbalanced Backlog
   Architecture Definition
   Unprepared Backlog Items
   Getting Your Project Started

Chapter 19 - Agile Project Management: Monitoring, Reporting, and Controlling
   Monitoring Project Progress
   Burning Down the Product Backlog
   The Release Plan
   Feature Completion
   Controlling the Project

Chapter 20 - Agile Analysis
   User Stories and Related Terminology
   The Life of a User Story
   Refining the Product Backlog

Chapter 21 - Launching Scrum Teams
   Starting a New Scrum Team
   Preparing the Product Backlog: The Team’s First Sprint
   Getting Ready for Sprint Planning
   Running a Successful Daily Scrum
   Getting Ready for Sprint Review
   Going to the First Sprint Retrospective
   Removing Obstacles
   Continuous Learning

Chapter 22 - Managing Scrum Teams
   The Edge of Chaos
   Management in a Chaotic System
   Management in an Agile Environment
   Helping to Improve Team Performance

Chapter 23 - Agile Product Management
   Large-Scale Product Ownership
   The Extended Product Backlog
   Adding Items to the Product Backlog
   Adding Defects to the Product Backlog
   Setting Up Your Product Backlog Items for Success
   Prioritizing items in the Product Backlog
   Managing System Constraints

Chapter 24 - Incorporating ISO 9001 into the Agile Transition
   Creating Your Policy and Process Documentation


Any organization should be able to achieve a nearly seamless transition to agile by using the methods and information presented in this book.

James Schiel, CEO, and owner of Artisan Software Consulting is a Certified Scrum Trainer with a strong background in enterprise-level Scrum installations. Prior to founding Artisan, Schiel worked at a large, multi-national software development company for 23 years, where he worked initially as a developer, then as a manager for 16 years. He eventually played an instrumental role in creating one of the largest Scrum installations in the world. As a business process engineer, he helped identify, document, and implement best practices for enterprise Agile Development.

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