Agile Tools vs. Agile Books

The value of tools over the value of books in the agile world

26 November 2010

Paul Heidema
Berteig Consulting Inc.

I have been working with Agile for a couple of years. At Berteig Consulting we are using Agile to run our small business. As such we try to use various tools to make our life easier. We have used CardMeeting for our cycles and tasks. I have tried using PlanningPoker for online estimation. It seems useful, but maybe our team is too small to make great use of it. I am also looking for other ways to manage the reflections and learning from each cycle.

I have received an email from David Wolrich of CardMeeting that states: “Anyways, I rely on the trickle of news from legitimate organizations like yours to let users know that CardMeeting is still around, that I am still adding features, and to generate interest; thanks again.” So maybe some of you could try it and give him a shout. Much like other free applications on the net such as Drupal and Neo Office this one could become more robust and useful.

I am wondering if I am spending too much time on tools and not enough reading and researching Agile methods. I am enjoying reading about Agile success stories. Agile tools such as a digital wall application can be quite useful. However, books written by those with plenty of experience may add much needed insight into to do's and don't of implementation agile methods.

One of the best books that I have read which is clear and to the point is "Kanban and Scrum: Making the Most of Both". I enjoyed this book because it used plenty of straight forward diagrams and explained both methods with tremendous clarity.

Are tools better than books when it comes to Agile?


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Comments

Scott Griffith, CSP,CSM,CSPO, 1/18/2011 3:19:06 PM
In my professional experience in leading Agile teams for the last eleven years, I've found that investing more time in adapting to tools instead of learning from and listening to the "Agile Tribe" leads to an imitation of the toolmaker's vision of Agile. And often, a poor one at that. Thanks to the Scrum Alliance and other Internet resources as well as books we have a wealth of information on how to do Scrum and Agile well and how not to do it. But in the end you have to go with what works best for the team. So even though I always prefer experience and knowledge over tools, I place the highest value on what works now.
James Coplien, CST,CSP,CSM,CSPO, 3/2/2011 10:18:52 PM
Picking tools and books is to pick two losers, in my experience. Books can both help and mislead: calibrate them with experience. It's a lot more expensive to calibrate tools with experience. Embrace your compiler and configuration management system: they do the kinds of things that computers are good at. Most pre-Agile tools fall into this category, but they're still perfectly good for Agile. Ditch anything that attempts to supplant what humans are good at: communication, group work, dialog, and thinking. Most "Agile" tools fall into this category.
Glen Wang, CSM, 3/6/2013 8:40:23 PM
Hi Paul, link your article to my article of Scrum the Unity of Knowing & Doing, the 'books' you mentioned is pretty much about knowing, and the 'tools' you mentioned is pretty much about doing. Unite them. Nice to see the similar thinking!

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