Agile Illustrated: A Visual Learner’s Guide serves as a solid guide for anyone who is interested in learning agile, as well as anyone who wants to dive deeper into agile principles.
Below, we cover what makes this book such a valuable asset to project managers interested in, or already working in, agile.
Who Is This Book For?
Agile Illustrated: A Visual Learner’s Guide is for anyone charged with leading a team of people. It is for Scrum masters, project managers, team leads, and group leads.
If your work involves coordinating the efforts of others, this book has been written for you. It explains a model of how to tackle complex projects and work effectively with people. Just as projects differ in size, type, and complexity, so does the agile model, driven by project characteristics.
For team leaders, project managers, development leads, and project practitioners who want to take their delivery skills to the next level, Agile Illustrated: A Visual Learner’s Guide can help. It provides a learning framework and integration points for using more than just agile approaches, so you can be successful in a wider range of project scenarios.
Organizations are often complex and contradictory in their application of standards, processes, and norms. This book takes what you already know from agile and extends that knowledge so it can be more robust, applicable, and adaptive to real-world environments. It explains how to scale agile techniques while minimizing process load, and it explains how to integrate agile approaches into traditional, non-agile environments. You’ll even discover how to use soft skills, such as influence, empathy, and leadership, to gain more acceptance and support when processes and techniques fall short.
Finally, this book shows why and how an integrated approach to mastering industry domain knowledge, traditional project management, leadership, and agile approaches delivers more than the sum of its parts. It describes a view one level up in terms of abstraction and usefulness.
This is not only a “how to do it” book, but also a “how to think about it” book. By providing evidence-based guidance from a broad range of professional disciplines, including lean, project management, economics, psychology, sociology, process management, and change management, it sheds light on a topic that many people find complex.
Perfect for Visual Thinkers!
Agile Illustrated: A Visual Learner’s Guide will appeal to visual thinkers who like to conceptualize the big picture before getting into the details. These people, who are sometimes called “right-brained,” after the portion of the brain responsible for processing images, would rather be shown how something works than told in detail how it works.
If you spend a long time getting the flow of your PowerPoint slides just right before you can focus on adding content and detail, then you are likely right-brained.
Interesting fact: Research by David Hyerle into visual thinking reports that 90% of the information entering the brain is visual. 40% of all nerve fibers connected to the brain are connected to the retina, and a full 20% of the entire cerebral cortex is dedicated to vision, so let’s use it!
Throughout Agile Illustrated: A Visual Learner’s Guide, you’ll be taught the stages of skills progression, and you’ll see how one step builds on the previous step. You’ll also access one-page views of how things relate and fit together. Like having a good map, understanding context and structures spatially can provide you with more confidence to explore new territory and also retreat to familiar ground when needed.
An Experience-Based Approach
You will find that Agile Illustrated: A Visual Learner’s Guide draws on a blend of commercial experience and scientific theory.
Some concepts are the synthesis of several academic research papers. However, where possible, preference is given towards approaches that we have seen work in several organizations.
Examining the origins of research claims often uncovers dated, self-referencing clusters of studies, frequently written by the same author. Or it becomes clear that studies employed paid university students who were motivated and behaved quite differently than commercial sector team members. Therefore, in addition to looking towards academic recommendations for guidance, it’s also wise to look at recent commercial project experiences to gain greater insight.
Diving into Continuous Digital and #NoProjects
So far, we have talked about delivering successful “projects,” but the notion of projects with a defined start, middle, and end is being challenged with recent Continuous Digital and #NoProjects concepts.
As software becomes more critical to competitive advantage, projects become unending because the software-driven products continue to live on and evolve. This is a good sign that shows a business values its products and services and wants to keep investing in them and developing them.
How does this relate to project management, though? Well, project management in many industries is evolving into ongoing product development and delivery. Organizations are arranging themselves around value streams that deliver business benefits.
The principles described in this book about improving our ability towards effective delivery of value apply equally in continuous digital delivery environments and the #NoProjects world.
In time, the organizational delivery construct may no longer be projects, and we will likely switch to more product teams and value streams. However, the tools and techniques that we use to engage and motivate people, and to develop new products, still apply.
So, as you read Agile Illustrated: A Visual Learner’s Guide, whenever you see the word “project,” think also of “products,” “initiatives,” and “value streams.” These are the future, but still rely on the cooperation of people towards a vision.
Why Should You Read This Book?
The world of work is changing. We see it in pockets right now, but a wave of change is coming. Projects are getting more complex, jobs are becoming less permanent, and people are more mobile. This trifecta will spread and accelerate in all industries. People who can see the trend and can navigate the oncoming tsunami will be in high demand and will lead the bulk of the organizational transformations that will happen.
This book describes the mindset and toolkit to rise and thrive in the new world of work. It shows you the knowledge domains that have to be understood, and how to work with others to succeed.
The future is collaborative but built upon skilled individuals. This book is a roadmap and workshop manual for building a smarter you, better positioned for the new realities of the future.
Overall, a Worthy Read!
Agile Illustrated: A Visual Learner’s Guide describes how we can determine the optimal mix of agile and other approaches worth using. It describes tools, such as ranking a project on attributes like size, organizational impact, uncertainty, internal support, criticality, and more, to suggest the recommended mix of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques.
This book also describes the ongoing need to focus on value delivery, pruning ceremonies when they no longer justify their time commitments. This is a dynamic process, not a static framework, much like dealing with the people on your project and in your organization.
Agile Illustrated: A Visual Learner’s Guide is available for purchase now and we highly recommend this book for all of the reasons discussed above.
Want to learn even more? RMC offers agile courses and self-study materials for those just getting started with agile or those looking to operate more effectively. Contact us for more information or for help getting started!
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