Advice for Starting Your Agile Project

In their new book, Liftoff: Launching Agile Teams and Projects, Diana Larsen and Ainsley Nies partner to address an often neglected aspect of an Agile project — the start. Getting the start right is a critical step in enabling the overall success of the project. Diana and Ainsley share helpful insights on the elements of a successful launch including pragmatic guidance for planning, designing, running, and improving your launch process (the latter draws on lessons from Esther Derby and Diana Larsen’s excellent retrospectives book, Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great.)

In addition, a significant portion of the book addresses Agile Chartering. In fact, Diana and Ainsley debated writing a book exclusively on this topic as they deem it so critical to the success of Agile projects. Instead, they have integrated a chartering discussion and charting model into their Liftoff framework. Their decision makes for a better book, in my opinion.

While there are a lot of good examples, checklists, and stories, Diana and Ainsley emphasize the values and principles behind the ample practical advice they give throughout the book.  In this vein, they stay true to the Agile principle expressed in the Agile Manifesto, "Individuals and interactions over processes and tools."

Full disclosure: I’m a contributor to the book, so I may be a bit biased, but I think Diana and Ainsley’s contribution to the Agile canon will ultimately result in better agile projects and better business results. Anyone who is thinking about or getting ready to start an Agile project should check out Liftoff .

(And, if you get a chance, flip to pages 76-79 and give me some feedback on my story, “A Tale of Two Projects.”)