Book Comments: #noprojects

This is a book “review” or really my comments of  #noprojects A Culture of Continous Value by Evan Leybourn and Shane Hastie.

First, I put review in quotations because I’m no true reviewer.  I will share my opinions but they are strictly my opinions.  I highly recommend always reading for yourself.

Second, I do not get paid for this.  I received my copy from Shane – he even wrote me a little note inside.  We have known each other for quite some time and we crossed paths at Agile2019.  He happened to still have one copy left at the end of the conference and given that it was on my list, I gladly accepted. I also met Evan a few years ago and have become quite a fan of his focus on business agility.  All this to say, I have a little bias with the authors.

Now disclaimers aside, I enjoyed reading this book…here’s why:

  • I was nervous that the book would be a zealous bashing of project management.  I highly value my project management skills and often find that people get wrong what motivates project managers.  There are many agile teams that could benefit from a little risk identification and response strategy education.  However, I found that this book did justice to explaining the history of project management, where traditional project management approaches are still essential (task based work) and where one could leverage the skills even in #noprojects.  Too often, I find authors/speakers diminishing another competency area to make a point that doesn’t require being dismissive or alienation.  Instead, the authors did a fantastic job describing the journey to where we are today and where we need to go to thrive in a VUCA world.
  • I really appreciated the sections focused on finance and contracting.  I think too many people approach agile from IT and expect other departments to just “get it” without trying to learn their world, practices and reasons.  Or worse, just ignore this part all together and hope for the best.  I’m often asked for resources to help in this area – I now have something for people to start with.  I would encourage the authors to go even deeper; maybe book two!
  • Maybe because I’ve been in the agile community for quite some time, but I found the references and inclusion of several people’s work to be highly respectful and informative.  I joke frequently that this community is a melting pot of information, yet the authors really made the effort to show people’s contributions to this topic over many years.  Of course, I had a personal fondness for the inclusion of Dude’s Law by David Hussman.
  • Building off the last bullet, I found myself thinking…”we definitely had similar teachers, mentors, etc”.  Some of the concepts in this book might be foreign to people, such as the concept of value teams but this is something I was exposed to in 2013 by Ahmed Sidky.  Generally, I read the book thinking – “yep”, “that’s a great way of saying that”, “totally agree with that”, etc.  I even found myself thinking I should elaborate more on my agile fundamentals opening rant about no longer wanting to build software that is under budget, on time and meets requirements only to never be used.
  • I enjoyed the mini case studies sprinkled throughout the book.  I enjoy reading application along with theory and this hit the nail right on the head.
  • The part I didn’t like:  I actually thought that the final chapter felt out of place about business agility.  It felt like a tack on.  Yet, I think if it had been earlier in the book, it may have even reinforced other concepts about teams, departments, contracts, etc.

Overall, I would recommend this book for people considering restructuring how their organization runs.  Going from projects to continuous flow won’t be easy but completely worth it.

Whenever you can learn, the book was valuable! 

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