Summary and Info
While I used to review current affairs books on Amazon until years ago, I've never reviewed a software/computer science book until now. I've been in software development for three decades and (like all of us) have owned and read countless books in the field, ranging from the abstract to nuts-and-bolts reference manuals. I have a strong theoretical background that nevertheless is firmly rooted in the reality of having to make a living in the field. So, working in a company that is trying to apply the Agile methodology, I approached this book with some openness to learning about underlying theory but ultimately expecting to learn enough to be able to apply it in a real-work environment.Wrestling with this book for the last few weeks has been frustrating, to say the least. I was struggling to understand why, after reading on and on I wasn't able to summarize to myself the central message was of what I'd just read, and finding myself at a loss to see the thread in a chapter or see how the chapters built on each other.I came here to see if others were having the same difficulty with it-- strangely surprised to see praise for quoting the philosophy of Wittgenstein and the still levels of Aikido. Looking back at the reviews of the first edition I found more critical opinions, and it was there that I finally understood why this text just didn't 'jibe' with me.Paraphrasing another reviewer, he had it right I think describing this book as a text about the formalisms of methodologies. This is not a book about Agile per se, but about how Agile fits into the ontology of methodology. The problem is not that the book is too abstract-- I greatly admire Bjarne Stroustrup, for example, for his ability to use theoretical underpinnings in a practically useful way. The problem with this book is that it is not really about Agile but about 'methodology.'Ultimately I think this is a book for a very specific audience. Is is probably a fantastic discussion point for those making a living talking about the theory of methodology-- but, unfortunately for me, it is going to be of very little use to a practicioner.
More About the Author
Alistair Cockburn /ˈælᵻstər ˈkoʊbərn/ (born 19. November 1953)) is an American computer scientist, known as one of the initiators of the agile movement in software development.
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