Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practices for Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise (Agile Software Development Series)

Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practices for Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise (Agile Software Development Series)
By Dean Leffingwell

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Product Description

“We need better approaches to understanding and managing software requirements, and Dean provides them in this book. He draws ideas from three very useful intellectual pools: classical management practices, Agile methods, and lean product development. By combining the strengths of these three approaches, he has produced something that works better than any one in isolation.”

–From the Foreword by Don Reinertsen, President of Reinertsen & Associates; author of Managing the Design Factory; and leading expert on rapid product development

Effective requirements discovery and analysis is a critical best practice for serious application development. Until now, however, requirements and Agile methods have rarely coexisted peacefully. For many enterprises considering Agile approaches, the absence of effective and scalable Agile requirements processes has been a showstopper for Agile adoption. In Agile Software Requirements, Dean Leffingwell shows exactly how to create effective requirements in Agile environments.

  • Part I presents the “big picture” of Agile requirements in the enterprise, and describes an overall process model for Agile requirements at the project team, program, and portfolio levels
  • Part II describes a simple and lightweight, yet comprehensive model that Agile project teams can use to manage requirements
  • Part III shows how to develop Agile requirements for complex systems that require the cooperation of multiple teams
  • Part IV guides enterprises in developing Agile requirements for ever-larger “systems of systems,” application suites, and product portfolios

This book will help you leverage the benefits of Agile without sacrificing the value of effective requirements discovery and analysis. You’ll find proven solutions you can apply right now–whether you’re a software developer or tester, executive, project/program manager, architect, or team leader.

Product Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #77024 in Books
  • Brand: Addison-Wesley Professional
  • Published on: 2011-01-06
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 9.00" h x 1.40" w x 7.10" l, .0 pounds
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 560 pages


  • Addison-Wesley Professional

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Agile Software Requirements


“In my opinion, there is no book out there that more artfully addresses the specific needs of agile teams, programs, and portfolios all in one. I believe this book is an organizational necessity for any enterprise.”

Sarah Edrie, Director of Quality Engineering, Harvard Business School


Agile Software Requirements and Mr. Leffingwell’s teachings have been very influential and inspiring to our organization. They have allowed us to make critical cultural changes to the way we approach software development by following the framework he’s outlined here. It has been an extraordinary experience.”

Chris Chapman, Software Development Manager, Discount Tire


“This book supplies empirical wisdom connected with strong and very well-structured theory of succeeding with software projects of different scales. People new to agile, practitioners, or accomplished agilists–we all were waiting for such a book.”

Oleksandr (Alex) Yakyma, Agile Consultant,


“This book presents practical and proven agile approaches for managing software requirements for a team, collaborating teams of teams, and all across the enterprise. However, this is not only a great book on agile requirements engineering; rather, Leffingwell describes the bigger picture of how the enterprise can achieve the benefits of business agility by implementing lean product development flow. His ‘Big Picture’ of agile requirements is an excellent reference for any organization pursuing an intrinsically lean software development operational mode. Best of all, we’ve applied many of these principles and practices at Nokia (and even helped create some of them), and therefore we know they work.

Juha-Markus Aalto, Agile Change Program Manager, Nokia Corporation


“This pragmatic, easy-to-understand, yet thought-provoking book provides a hands-on guide to addressing a key problem that enterprises face: How to make requirements practices work effectively in large-scale agile environments. Dean Leffingwell’s focus on lean principles is refreshing and much needed!”

Per Kroll, author, and Chief Architect for Measured Improvements, IBM


“Agile programming is a fluid development environment. This book serves as a good starting point for learning.”

Brad Jackson, SAS Institute Inc.


“Dean Leffingwell captures the essence of agile in its entirety, all the way from the discrete user story in the ‘trenches’ to complex software portfolios at the enterprise level. The narrative balances software engineering theory with pragmatic implementation aspects in an easy-to-understand manner. It is a book that demands to be read in a single sitting.”

Israel Gat,, @Agile_exec on Twitter


“An incredibly complete, clear, concise, and pragmatic reference for agile software development. Much more than mere guidelines for creating requirements, building teams, and managing projects, this reference work belongs on the bookshelf of anyone and everyone involved with not only agile processes but software development in general.”

R.L. Bogetti, Lead System Designer, Baxter Healthcare


“This book covers software requirements from the team level to program and portfolio levels, including the architecture management and a consistent framework for the whole enterprise. We have practiced the multi-team release planning and the enterprise-level architecture work with kanban and achieved instant success in our organization. Combining the principles of the product development flow with the current large-scale agile and lean software development is a really novel concept. Well worth reading and trying out the ideas here.”

Santeri Kangas, Chief Software Architect, and Gabor Gunyho, Lean Change Agent, F-Secure Corp.


“Dean Leffingwell and his Agile Release Train (ART) concept guides us from teamlevel agile to enterprise-level agile. The ART concept is a very powerful tool in planning and managing large software programs and helps to identify and solve potential organizational roadblocks–early.”

Markku Lukkarinen, Head of Programs, Nokia Siemens Networks

About the Author

Dean Leffingwell, a thirty-year software industry veteran, has spent his career helping software teams achieve their goals. A renowned methodologist, author, coach, entrepreneur, and executive, he founded Requisite, Inc., makers of RequisitePro, and served as its CEO. As vice president at Rational Software (now part of IBM), he led the commercialization of the Rational Unified Process. As an independent consultant and as an advisor to Rally Software, he has helped entrepreneurial teams and large, distributed, multinational corporations implement Agile methods at scale. He is the author of Scaling Software Agility: Best Practices for Large Enterprises (Addison-Wesley, 2007) and is the lead author of Managing Software Requirements, Second Edition (Addison-Wesley, 2003), which has been translated into five languages.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
4A Path for the Unforgiven
By Joe Butson
It is difficult to improve on a review like the one Per Kroll wrote, but I do need to add my own opinion on the book.

While the book's title may be deceptive, it is likely the best way to gather an audience for what I found to be an excellent and accessible recipe for implementing agile at scale. Having led Agile Teams at the Feature and Component Level, I know how powerful and fundamental those concepts are in engaging a team of over 100 people in a large Program.

Most profitable organizations have bits and pieces of best practices within and readers will recognize this when they skim through the books later chapters where Leffingwell begins to synthesize the fundamentals of agility and lean practices "up the organization."

Most organizations I have worked within "foam the runway" for large projects/programs to land. It is never pretty how ugly these landing can be with traditional planning only able to set up the "triage" ward for the inevitable crashes. This book describes how portfolio managers can create an agile architecture using epics to create a smooth landing for programs and keep the architecture aligned with the portfolio vision epics. Using lean techniques at the portfolio level brilliantly increases flow/reduces waste and keeps the focus on business value.

The book is a breeze to read for the agile community but I also think the jargon is limited enough that any manager can grasp it's fundamental power, and implement basic ideas/concepts of the book within a week of picking it up. I certainly hope this is the case as I am delivering a handful to my local colleagues this week.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
5A wholistic enterprise approach to Agile
By Stephen Chin
Dean has put together a gem of a book, taking all of his experience working with large-scale implementations of Agile and consolidating it into a model that you can apply across your enterprise.

Part of what I like about his approach is that it doesn't ignore the realities of typical enterprise organizations. Besides developers and testers, you have architects, product managers, executives, etc. Most of these folks provide value (although executives may be questionable), and need to be engaged in the Agile requirements process.

Dean has a great model for Agile Architecture that balances the need for team ownership and autonomy with a larger architectural roadmap and vision that works at scale. While a lot of Agile practitioners believe that architecture emerges, this is much harder to accomplish for projects that span teams, products, and geographies.

The most innovative part of this title is the application of Lean principles to enterprise portfolio planning. At scale, the simple Lean principles, of streamlining flow and limiting work in process, provide the right constraints to drive value through the organization. Dean has the first wholistic model for this, which starts with filtering requirements from across the enterprise, proceeds through evaluation and architectural analysis, and completes with implementation on the teams.

If you are looking for a book grounded in large-scale Agile implementation experience based on solid principles that can be applied to real organizations, then this is the right title for you.

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful.
2Too high level/only good for beginners
By Silverstein
This is an entry level book on agile software development and requirements. It spends a great amount of time talking around agile and requirements without really providing any solid discussion on how to do either effectively, or both together. Based on the reviews and the TOC, I thought this book might be a bridge for the gap between requirements analysis and agile -- which tends to throw out proper requirements analysis -- but instead it's just a 30,000 foot summary of the concepts. I wouldn't buy it again.

See all 52 customer reviews...

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