The Project Manager’s Guide to Mastering Agile

Book Review

pmwj38-Sep2015-Mehrooz-BOOKBook Title: The Project Manager’s Guide to Mastering Agile: Principles and Practices for an Adaptive Approach
Author: Charles G. Cobb
Publisher: Wiley
Format: Soft cover; 403 pages   
List Price: $65.00
Publication Date:  January 2015           
ISBN: 978-1-118-99104-6
Reviewer: Nazanin Mehrooz, PMP, CSM, SA
Review Date:    August 2015

Introduction to the Book

Many industries and organizations are moving away from use of waterfall methodology and adapting agile. Some project managers find themselves more comfortable with using the waterfall approach to manage their project and find it challenging to adapt to this new approach. This book is intended to help them understand agile principles and find ways to transition to the new approach more smoothly. The book also raises visibility into areas where a blend of both approaches may be beneficial to organizations based on the type of work that needs to be managed. Understanding the limitations and benefits of each approach will help project managers address this need better.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book is broken down into the following parts:

  1. Fundamentals of Agile
  2. Agile Project Management
  3. Making Agile Work for a Business
  4. Enterprise-Level Agile
  5. Case Studies
  6. Appendices

There are a total of 22 chapters and 4 appendices. The book serves well as a textbook course with summaries of key points and questions which will deepen the understanding and foster additional discussions at the end of each chapter. These would be ideal topics to start additional discussions in related forums or mentoring sessions.

Highlights: What’s New in this Book?

Often when you read books about agile, I discover page after page about all the negative aspects of utilizing waterfall methodology. What I liked about this book is that it raised awareness that some parts of a project may be better managed in a waterfall process based on the type of work and external dependencies. It also helped to understand the limits of each approach rather than thinking there is a magic bullet which covers everything. The focus should be a more balanced integration of both rather than a competitive approach of picking the best methods. Many organizations are utilizing a hybrid approach between the two and discovering it serves them well.

Highlights: What I liked!

I really liked the way this book was laid out. It has a great deal to offer for everyone. It provides a good starting point of understanding why agile has become more popular and the benefits it offers. It clearly describes the different roles, principles and values in simple language and offers sufficient details around each to reinforce the concepts nicely.

Additionally, it provided best practices around backlog grooming, pattern-based development approaches and automation testing. For those who have already had exposure to the agile principles and benefits, the author provided other valuable insights in this book by sharing how to utilize various tools to enhance communication capabilities for both co-located and distributed teams.


To read entire Book Review (click here)


About the Reviewer


pmwj36-Jul2015-Mehrooz-PHOTONazanin Mehrooz, PMP, CSM, SA

North Texas, USA



Nazanin Mehrooz is a certified project manager, scrum master and SAFe Agilist. Nazanin started her career as a software developer and transitioned to leading mid-size teams as a functional manager and (most currently) a senior project manager and Release Train Engineer in Technology Services at BNSF. Her background includes managing a portfolio of 30+ projects with budgets exceeding 15 Million USD. Nazanin is an active volunteer for the PMI Dallas and Fort Worth Chapters. Email: [email protected]


Editor’s note: This book review was the result of a partnership between the publisher, PM World and the PMI Dallas Chapter. Authors and publishers provide the books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library. PMI Dallas Chapter members can keep the books as well as claim PDUs for PMP recertification when their reviews are published. Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books.

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