Book Review: Discover to Deliver—Agile Product Planning and Analysis

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After reading Ellen Gottesdiener's and Mary Gorman’s Discover to Deliver—Agile Product Planning and Analysis, my book was full of little pink stickers indicating areas of interest for future research, along with corresponding notes.

There is a lot of theory for people who are new to analysis, but Gottesdiener and Gorman use case studies and practical examples to demonstrate exactly what they mean. For instance, their example of a structured conversation walks through a typical team conversation to show how complex a “simple” story can be if the right questions are asked. They examine ways to look at the feature to bring out the important factors the team needs to consider.

Many software teams are good at creating software, but some of those teams still struggle with creating the right value. Discover to Deliver helps with this aspect of software delivery.

Many of the tools and techniques, which are summarized in one great section, should feel familiar to testers because they are many of the same ones used to create tests. This book demonstrates how testers can add value by using those tools early to prevent defects or missing requirements. If testers bring their testing mindset to the early structured conversations Gottesdiener and Gorman describe, the results can be amazing.

There are so many positive things about the book, even aside from the text. Graphics at the top of the page let you know where you are in relation to the rest of the book, and helpful pictures illustrate the subjects.

Discover to Deliver is not focused on one delivery method; instead, it shows you how to adapt to the one you are using. So much depends on your context and perspective, and Gottesdiener and Gorman have done a tremendous job of giving techniques and tips on how to adapt to the one you are in. This is a recommended read for all team members. Each one is sure to get something different out of it.

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Janet Gregory

Janet Gregory specializes in helping teams build quality systems. As tester or coach, she has helped introduce agile development practices into companies and has successfully transitioned several traditional test teams into the agile world. Janet is a frequent speaker at agile and testing software conferences in North America, including the STAR conferences.