There are lots of books about Agile software development which state clearly the problems of traditional development and how Agile software development will improve the ability to deliver software. But still, not everyone is doing it yet.
Part of the problem is that it’s hard for companies to change their culture to something as groundbreaking as Agile. (If you don’t understand this, then you are either working at a near Agile company, or you don’t understand how Agile is different from traditional Waterfall process and their divide and conquer patterns.)
Another part of the problem is well, maybe reading the books aren’t enjoyable. And additionally, there isn’t enough context around the process talk to ground the practices into your reality.
Enter the business novel
Business novels take a different approach to conveying information. Rather than start with what they want to teach you about it, they take a step back and build a story, a context with business needs and conflicts. Through this story, the need for change and how the character(s) discover, and apply Agile to solve their business needs.
Agile Noir, available in English in US, India, and Europe (via your local Amazon). The mandarin edition is progress. The book will have you living in the shoes of Kartar, an embattled project manager who’s working on a software project for a Casino in Vegas. Although you’ll see similarities with your project and his as his Waterfall project (non-Agile) gets further and further behind, hopefully you’re better off than Kartar because he discovers that his budget is financed by the mob and will have him killed if he can’t deliver. After some setbacks that are classic to the Waterfall software development life cycle, he meets Agile consultant, a Hindu godman who tries to give Kartar the advice he needs to turn his project and life around.
Agile Noir talks about overcoming the bad times. Noir, the French word for black, alludes to the noir literary style indicative of hard times, and how using Agile can get you out of such a tough spot. And because it’s never easy and Agile is not a magic elixer, you’ll read, see and learn how to get through those hard times and this learning will be applicable to your job and life every bit as if you read a ‘straight forward’ book on Agile. Additionally, because the story context is more powerful, you’ll remember the lessons better than from a non-fiction book. Through reading this novel, you’ll live the life of Karter, someone going through this change along with all the stress and risks. By the time you get to the last page, you’ll ‘get it’ and this ‘nebulous Agile thing’ won’t be so mysterious. And you’ll have some valuable experience of how a PM can not only survive, but excel in an organizational change to Agile.
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