Commitment Book

A friend recently recommended the book Commitment to me. It’s a quick read, a unique book, and full of very realistic scenarios. I managed to read Commitment during one week’s commutes.

Format

I’ve never read a graphic novel before, let alone one in the tech or project management domain. In addition to the panes you’d expect, there are also letters and blog posts. The format neatly captures the interactions between upper management and development teams. The book would have been much longer if so much wasn’t expressed visually.

Options

The scenarios covered in the book are very familiar for this developer. Deadlines are looming, the project is behind schedule, and customers are talking about not taking delivery. Through a series of conversations with her grounded sister, the hard-working project manager ends up discovering real options, a concept which seems to tie nicely into last responsible moment. Making sure we have real, valid options is key to moving forward.

There are some really nice, subtle touches for folks who may be new to agile methodologies or unsure how exactly to implement them:

  • introducing a card wall
  • focusing on finishing work
  • pairing up to share context
  • dealing with skeptical management
  • minimizing the risk of massive upgrades

Caveats

The only thing I’d caveat this book with is the somewhat odd relationship focus. Folks flirting with and asking out the project manager is a common thread throughout the book, which doesn’t actually seem to add anything to the story.

All in all, it’s a quick read that could really stand to benefit most of the projects I’ve worked on.


Published Mar 23, 2015