People Over Process: Leadership for Agility, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

People Over Process

Leadership for Agility, 1st Edition

By Michael K. Levine

Productivity Press

288 pages | 30 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9780367341886
pub: 2019-10-11
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Hardback: 9780367369903
pub: 2019-10-11
Available for pre-order

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This book is about improving and sustaining agility by focusing on people over process, as the first agile value advocates, and is the third and final book in the author's Lean and Agile Software trilogy. The first – A Tale of Two Systems: Lean and Agile Software Development for Business Leaders – describes what agile is and why we do it. The second – A Tale of Two Transformations: Bringing Lean and Agile Software Development to Life – guides leaders in transforming their organizations to adopt this approach. All three books mix description and elaboration of theory with practical demonstration in fictional companies and projects.

This new, third book – People over Process: Leadership for Agility – presents a model of facilitative leadership for agility, which informs the entire book. It begins by describing the roots of the agile movement, which motivates the centrality of people and the need for leadership. The leadership model is then presented, very simply: rigor, alignment, efficiency, through frameworks. Leadership is considered for all team members, and then for the special case of the responsibilities of leaders in formal positions of organizational authority.

With this strong background presented, the book proceeds to describe and demonstrate common and highly useful frameworks for agility. The fictional Pacifica Bank is introduced, and we see the Pacifica team work through architecture, project planning, team structure, governance, scrum meeting, and ultimately retrospectives, using frameworks that have been presented. An Appendix summarizes the most useful frameworks for future reference. Throughout the book concepts are illustrated with vignettes from my experience (in the didactic sections) and with the Pacifica fictional case study.

The key benefits of the book are to make everyone involved in agile work more effective and fulfilled. Essentially, since agile was first introduced almost two decades ago, the primary focus in practice has been on process. The "scrum" methodology was developed and promulgated, and has been widely adopted. This has been on balance broadly positive, but as an industry we have progressed to the point where following the steps of a methodology, particularly one that seeks to implement concepts where the first value is "People over Process," has reached its limits.

The reader of this book:

• Gains a powerful, simple model of leadership that enables the "People" in "People over Process;"

• Sees these principles in action in a fictional company, making agile leadership understandable and engaging;

• Improves their ability to participate in and lead agility;

• Learns extraordinarily useful "frameworks" that help in the most important activities in agile software.

In short, the reader will be better at delivering valuable software solutions, more valuable to their organizations, and more fulfilled in their work.

Table of Contents

Preface: People Over Process Section One: Introduction to Facilitative Leadership For Agility 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 Two: 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 Three: 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 Four: Project Retrospectives Chapter 18 Background: Retrospectives Chapter 19 Pacifica: Project Retrospective Chapter 20 Summary and End Appendix One: Manifesto for Agile Software Development Appendix Two: Tool Tips

About the Author

Michael K. Levine’s career has primarily focused on how to profit through the application of information technology. He was educated in international relations and economics at Carleton College and Princeton University and began his career in international trade negotiation in Washington, D.C. He moved on to commercial lending and financial product management at First Bank System in Minneapolis. In each of his early jobs, he saw the promise of applying information technology to solve business problems; eventually, he moved his career more formally in that direction by joining Norwest Corporation as strategic technology planner and large-scale software project manager. Michael continued his immersion in technology leadership when he became chief technology officer of Moore Data/Vista Information Solutions, a leading provider of information technology solutions to the real estate field, bringing home search to the early internet. In 2002, Michael began his work in mortgage, joining Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. There, he led Technology and Operations groups, including deploying imaging and workflow technologies, and managing the technology and process engineering functions for Mortgage Servicing through the default crisis. As the crisis waned, Michael took a brief and welcome hiatus from the mortgage business helping US Bank introduce a new branch banking system, before returning to mortgage as the Business Information Officer. He is now CIO for Consumer Lending and Small Business at US Bank, using lean and agile values and principles to accelerate delivery of digital solutions for US Bank customers. One of the constant elements in Michael’s work has been the innovative, business-driven application of information technology. The accomplishments of his teams range from the first system to calculate duties on unfair trade, to cross-business line customer information systems in two large banks, to an early Internet-based real estate search engine, to a image-based, straight-through/exception-based loan processing systems, and most recently to industry-leading consumer lending portals. Michael’s continuing search for better ways to build complex business software drew him to the operations and product development approaches coming out of Toyota (“Lean”) and the Agile software development movement. Michael and his teams have used many of the Lean and Agile approaches since the formalization of Agile in the Manifesto, and before that as well. Michael shared his insights in two well-received books on lean and agile software development from Productivity Press. This practical application experience, in addition to his extensive, successful career at the junction of business operations and software technology, gives Michael a unique, practical perspective on how business leaders can improve their results through better technology leadership.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Quality Control
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Production & Operations Management
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Workplace Culture
COMPUTERS / Software Development & Engineering / General