People Over Process : Leadership for Agility book cover
1st Edition

People Over Process
Leadership for Agility

ISBN 9780367341886
Published September 30, 2019 by Productivity Press
290 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book helps participants in agile software development environments learn to become leaders. Facilitative leaders should be at every level of the organization, from individual contributor to informal team leader to managers of all stripes -- it takes much focus and intentionality from senior organizational leaders, who have special obligations in creating successful lean and agile development environments. But, beyond the principles of facilitative leadership for agility, People over Process provides tips and demonstrative scenes for the more important and common software meetings: architecture simulations, project planning, team configurations, retrospectives, and more. The author fully illustrates the principles and shares proven techniques for the most important leadership events in agile projects.

While this book focuses on facilitating extraordinarily well-prepared meetings, it serves as a metaphor for leadership more broadly. The leader’s obligation to help their team make rigorous fact-based decisions; to gain broad input and have participants aligned on the outcomes and next steps; and to do so in an efficient way that respects the time of the participants is as relevant to every-day leadership activity as it is to conducting meetings.

The author mixes background and explanation with demonstration -- in this case, the story of an agile project at the fictitious Pacifica Bank. The scenario constructed at Pacifica illustrates the concepts of effective leadership and productive workplace environments. The book concentrates on the flow of software from understanding what is needed through design, development, testing, and deployment.

Essentially, the author provides a simple and powerful model of leadership, examples, and tips. This is not a cookbook on how to lead -- It is a set of principles and examples. All leaders must find their own way for their team, their organization, and their unique challenges.

Table of Contents

SECTION 1 Introduction to Facilitative

Leadership for Agility

Chapter 1 Pacifica: "It’s Not Agile If There Is No Software!"

Chapter 2 Background: The Facilitative Leader for Agility

Chapter 3 Background: The Organizational Leader for Agility

Chapter 4 Pacifica: Mary’s Diagnosis

Chapter 5 Background: Extraordinarily Well-Prepared and

Conducted Meetings

Chapter 6 Pacifica: The Course Correction Meeting

SECTION 2 Three Major Frameworks (Architecture,

Plan, Team Structure)

Chapter 7 Background: Architecture for Agility

Chapter 8 Pacifica: The Architecture Simulation Meeting

Chapter 9 Background: Project Planning

Chapter 10 Pacifica: The Project Planning Meeting

Chapter 11 Background: Agile Team Configuration

Chapter 12 Pacifica: The Team Configuration Meeting

SECTION 3 Background / Pacifica: Routine Meetings

Chapter 13 The Daily Scrum

Chapter 14 Meeting or Systems Analysis?

Chapter 15 Demos

Chapter 16 Governance Meetings

Chapter 17 Teleconferences

SECTION 4 Project Retrospectives

Chapter 18 Background: Retrospectives

Chapter 19 Pacifica: Project Retrospective

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Michael K. Levine brings together compelling insights on lean and agile software development, creative writing and teaching, and decades of practical successful application as a senior manager in leading financial and software companies.

Michael’s career has primarily focused on how to profit through the application of information technology. He was educated at Carleton College and Princeton University. His early career was not directly in technology – first he did international trade negotiation at the US Commerce Department and then joined First Bank System as a corporate banker. In both positions he drifted towards software and in 1990 he joined Norwest Bank and began his full-time technology career. Michael progressed through strategy, project management, CTO, and divisional CIO roles, adopting agile techniques before they were so named. He fully embraced lean and agile concepts as they were popularized – helping build and transform teams, and delivering value time after time.

Michael’s engagement with modern lean and agile development began at Wells Fargo, where after succeeding in one area with agile concepts he became responsible for a major portion of an enormous and challenged project that did not use these techniques. He then led technology and process engineering throughout the mortgage crisis, rapidly building teams and frantically deploying technology to help struggling borrowers, investors, and the bank. In 2011 Michael joined US Bank where he initially led a program to deploy a new branch banking system (bringing lean and agile to a highly structured waterfall environment) before returning to the mortgage industry as the technology lead for US Bank Home Mortgage in 2013, and now leading all consumer lending and business banking technology.

Michael shared his insights in two well-received books on lean and agile software development from Productivity Press. The first is Tale of Two Systems: Lean and Agile Software Development for Business Leaders, emerging from his frustration with unnecessary and expensive project failures and his desire to help avoid such failures in the future. His second book is Tale of Two Transformations: Bringing Lean and Agile Software Development to Life, which focuses on how to change an organization to use the approaches he illuminated in his first. Michael’s trilogy is now completed with People over Process: Leadership for Agility, which guides readers in honoring the first Agile principle to create and sustain agility.

Michael lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with his lovely wife Holly Lindsay, who has been patient as Michael spent hours in the basement writing.