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Create Your Successful Agile Project: Collaborate, Measure, Estimate, Deliver


Cover image for Create Your Successful Agile Project

Create Your Successful Agile Project

Collaborate, Measure, Estimate, Deliver


You think agile techniques might be for you, but your projects and organization are unique. An “out-of-the-box” agile approach won’t work. Instead, unite agile and lean principles for your project. See how to design a custom approach, reap the benefits of collaboration, and deliver value. For project managers who want to use agile techniques, managers who want to start, and technical leaders who want to know more and succeed, this book is your first step toward agile project success.

Customer Reviews

Johanna packed this book full of wise insights for agile practitioners at all levels.
She explains why agile practices work, and how to successfully adapt agile to fit
your individual situation. If you’re leading, managing, or working with agile
projects, you should read this book.

- Kathy Iberle

President and Principal Consultant, Iberle Consulting Group, Inc.

Create Your Successful Agile Project is a pragmatic and action-based book that
bridges the gap between theory and practice. This is the book I wish I’d had when
I started my first agile project!

- Leland Newsom

Agile Coach, CapTech Ventures, Inc.

Johanna brings much-needed pragmatism to the agile community. Create Your
Successful Agile Project
is no exception. From cover to cover, she shares deep insights
and valuable practice that will certainly help any agile team looking to
inspect, adapt, and improve.

- Ryan Ripley

Host of the "Agile for Humans" Podcast

There are not many books that provide a methodology-independent view of
agile/lean principles and practices. This book does a great job of introducing the
most important principles in steps that will help any leader build an agile team
and then an agile workflow.

- Mark Kilby

Agile Coach

Johanna’s latest book is packed with suggestions, approaches, and ideas for how
to successfully structure an agile project tailored to your organization’s unique

- Joanna L. Vahlsing, PMP

If you’re a project manager and want a pragmatic guide to using agile ways of
work, you will likely find this book quite useful. Johanna strikes a good balance
between introducing fundamental concepts, developing appealing explanations,
and offering expert suggestions.

- Horia Slușanschi

Strategist and Agile Coach

See All Reviews

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What You Need

No technical expertise or experience needed, just a desire to know more about how you might use agile in your project.

Contents & Extracts

  • Introduction
    • Why Agile and Lean Approaches Work
      • Software, We Have a Problem
      • Agile Is a Cultural Change
      • The Twelve Principles of Agile Software Development excerpt
      • The Two Pillars of Lean
      • Iteration- and Flow-Based Agile
      • Integrate the Agile and Lean Principles
      • Now Try This
  • Create a Successful Agile Team
    • Build the Cross-Functional, Collaborative Team
      • The Project Team Is a Product-Development Team
      • Agile Changes Team Roles
      • Team Size Matters
      • Ask Teams to Organize Themselves
      • Facilitate the Team’s Social Contract
      • Agile Teams Become Self-Organizing
      • Keep Teams Together
      • Recognize Team Traps
      • Now Try This
    • Build Teamwork with Interpersonal Practices
      • How Agile Team Members Are Similar
      • Team Members Practice Continual Feedback
      • Team Members Coach Each Other
      • Recognize When the Team Needs an External Coach
      • Does the Team Need to Track Collaboration?
      • Help the Team Members Build Trust
      • Create a Team Environment of Safety
      • Recognize Interpersonal-Skills Traps
      • Now Try This
    • Agile Requires Different Project Leadership excerpt
      • How Leaders Serve the Team
      • Agile Project Managers Facilitate to Serve
      • What Product Owners Do
      • How Roles Change in Agile Projects
      • Consider Your Team’s Need for Management
      • Recognize Leadership Traps
      • Now Try This
  • Design and Manage an Agile and Lean Project
    • Start Your Agile Project Right
      • Charter Your Project
      • Identify Your Product Type
      • Assess Your Project’s Risks
      • Start Architecture Thinking
      • Recognize Project-Startup Traps
      • Now Try This
    • Teams Deliver Features
      • Plan at Several Levels
      • Release for Learning, Feedback, and Value
      • Deliver Value Through the Architecture
      • Create a Walking Skeleton
      • Deliver Value to Someone by Using Features
      • Define Stories So You Can See the Value
      • Experiment and Spike to Explore
      • Write Small Stories
      • Create Rolling-Wave Roadmaps
      • Use a Feature Parking Lot to See Possibilities
      • Consider Minimum Viable Products and Experiments
      • Recognize Value Traps
      • Now Try This
    • Rank the Work
      • Rank the Shortest Work First
      • Use Cost of Delay to See Value
      • Rank by Valuing the Learning
      • Recognize Ranking Traps
      • Now Try This
    • Visualize Your Work with a Board
      • Start with a Paper Board
      • Iteration-Based Boards Show Team Commitments
      • Kanban Boards Show Team Flow and Bottlenecks
      • Make Your Own Board
      • Visualize Problems with a Board
      • Create Visible Boards for Geographically Distributed Teams
      • Recognize Visualization Traps
      • Now Try This
    • Create Technical Excellence
      • How Much “Quality” Does Your Product Need?
      • Integrate as Often as Possible
      • Consider Continuous Delivery
      • Refactor Every Time You Touch Code or Tests
      • Work as a Whole Team to Create the Product
      • Test at All Levels So Change Is Easy
      • Beware of Technical Debt and Cruft
      • Work at a Sustainable Pace
      • Use Technical Excellence to Speed Development
      • Recognize Excellence Traps
      • Now Try This
    • Agile Estimation: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
      • Understand Velocity
      • Learn to Estimate with Relative Sizing excerpt
      • Use Relative Estimation for Iteration-Based Estimates
      • Count Stories Instead of Points
      • Consider Cycle Time to Create More Accurate Estimates
      • Know the Purpose of Your Estimation
      • Create Approximate Estimates for Management
      • Estimate Support Work
      • Use Previous Data to Inform Your Next Estimate
      • Consider the Value of #NoEstimates in Your Organization
      • Recognize Estimation Traps
      • Now Try This
    • Know What “Done” Means
      • See the Different Levels of Done
      • Define Acceptance Criteria for Each Story
      • Define What “Done” Means as a Working Agreement
      • Consider When You Can Release to Customers
      • Understand When Customers Can Take Your Releases
      • Building a Product Toward “Real” Doneness
      • Recognize “Done” Traps
      • Now Try This
    • Agile Team Measurements
      • Teams Learn from Their Measurements
      • Understand Burndowns and Burnups
      • Burnups Show You the Rate of Finishing
      • Iteration Contents Show What the Team Completed
      • Cumulative Flow Shows Where the Work Is
      • Cycle Time Shows How Long Work Takes
      • Velocity Is a Capacity Measurement excerpt
      • Agile Approaches Change the Meaning of Defect Measurements
      • Recognize Team-Measurement Traps
      • Now Try This
    • Help Your Meetings Provide Value
      • Retrospectives Provide Valuable Data
      • Walk the Board
      • Standups Create Recommitment and Collaboration
      • Solve Problems Outside of Standups
      • Demonstrations Show Progress and Value
      • Plan the Backlog
      • Create or Refine the Stories as Preparation for Future Work
      • Organize the Team’s Meetings
      • Measure the Value from Meetings
      • Create Learning Opportunities
      • Recognize Meeting Traps
      • Now Try This
    • Report Your Project State
      • Show Working Product
      • Show Feature Progress
      • Show Other Requests in to the Team
      • Show What’s Done but Not Yet Released
      • Visualize Your Project’s Delays
      • Measure the Effects of Delays
      • Recognize Project-Measurement Traps
      • Now Try This
  • Help Work Groups and Managers Use Agile
    • Create an Agile Work Group
      • Work Groups Meet Differently than Teams
      • How Will the Group Visualize Its Work and Data?
      • Visualize Work for a Management Team
      • Product Development Is Cross-Functional
      • Every Group Decides How and When to Reflect
      • Now Try This
    • How Managers Help Agile Teams
      • Managers Resolve Impediments the Team Escalates
      • Managers Help Create the Workspace Your Team Needs
      • Managers Move from Resource-Efficiency to Flow-Efficiency Thinking
      • Managers Help with Team-Based Recognition
      • Avoid Management Mayhem
      • Recognize How Managers Can Help Agile Teams
      • Now Try This
    • Start Somewhere
      • Limit the Work in Progress
      • Ask People to Work as a Cross-Functional Team
      • Start with Yourself
      • Last Thoughts


Johanna Rothman, known as the “Pragmatic Manager,” provides frank advice for your tough problems. She helps leaders and teams see problems and resolve risks and manage their product development. Johanna is the author of more than ten books and hundreds of articles. Find her two blogs at and

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