The Jazz Process: Collaboration, Innovation and Agility

Tytuł: The Jazz Process: Collaboration, Innovation and Agility
Autor: Adrian Cho
Wydawca: : InformIT

Zawartość merytoryczna / związek z tematem: 3/5
Styl / łatwość czytania: 5/5
Przydatność: 2/5
Ocena ogólna: 3/5

Recenzent: Jacek Dajda

The book describes so-called The Jazz Process, according to author, “a framework for improving collaboration, innovation, and agility”. The framework consists of 14 principles grouped in 4 following aspects: Working, Collaborating, Executing, Innovating. However, the key idea behind the framework is the metaphor of jazz band for team of developers. The author (jazz band leader and conductor as well as development manager of Rational Team Concert at IBM) searches for the similarities between jazz band and developers team. He claims that regardless the domain (music or software development) the efficient team work relies on the same human-oriented principles, such as “building trust and respect” and “reducing friction”.
On contrary to the usual presentation with a “big picture” and the beginning and details at the end, the book gets the reader straight to details keeping a linear way of presentation. After the fundamental ideas are presented, the high-level view of the jazz process is shown in the middle of the book. The books is organized into 4 main parts corresponding to the 4 groups of principles, which I listed above.
In my opinion, writing about agile software development involves facing 2 following challenges:

  • it is difficult to transform personal experiences, observations and so-called soft skills into concrete explicit knowledge that may be useful for readers
  • it is even more difficult to write on a subject which was on the market for a while (it has been about 15 years since the first “agile” book was published).

In my opinion, the book fails in both of them. Most of the presented principles are surprisingly trivial such as “Employ Top Talent”, “Commit with Passion”, “Act Transparently”, “Exchange Ideas”. What is more, these principles and ideas are described from the perspective of jazz player rather than IT manager. While this may be interesting in the beginning, the continuous jazz-to-software-development metaphor starts to tire after 20 pages.
However, my biggest complaint is that this book is too verbose. With a number of books to be read, a usual reader would not like to spent time on several pages-long explanation of something trivial from the beginning. Fortunately, the author came up with nice recapitulations for every chapter, which point out the most important ideas. In most cases, reading a recapitulation is a good alternative to reading a whole chapter.
From the positive sides, I personally enjoyed the last chapter, where the author writes about potential risks for each of the proposed principle. However, it is not enough to recommend this book. Unless you are a passionate jazz player and development team manager looking desperately for new ways to increase the performance of your team.

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