GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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December 18, 2012

Two produce primer on Agile management

Now, just in time for Christmas, comes what its creator, Gloucester resident Karen Favazza-Spencer, describes as “the perfect Scrum stocking stuffer for college kids outbound for the corporate workplace.”

We are talking about Favazza-Spencer’s new self-published paperback, “A to XP, The Agile ABC Book” — 58 colorfully, whimsically illustrated pages, which the author, a former kindergarten teacher, conceived in partnership with fellow Gloucesterite and graphic artist Mary Lou Nye, as “a simple guide book, a “kindergarten-esque” primer for 21st century business — “Cliff Notes, really, that anyone can understand” to aid them in their inner journey toward high performance transformation through the corporate/tech project management model known as “Agile.”

Those among us who are a bit behind the corporate/tech curve, “Agile” —a culture unto itself with its own, frankly, highfalutin’ language— might also need something along the lines of an “Agile” translator; something which, thankfully, Favazza-Spencer is all to happy to serve as.

“Agile,” she explains, evolved out of tech development complexities that were already presenting problems to software engineers in the early 1990s. Back then, while the rest of us were asking, “What is software?,” the big brains who birthed the big bang of the tech revolution were already asking themselves, “How are we going to manage the process of product development given the nature of the rapidly, ever-changing evolution of software?”

The answer, says Favazza-Spencer, formulated itself in February 2001, when a group of 17 tech thought leaders gathered at a ski lodge in Utah to find a common ground and approach toward what by then was called “Extreme Programming.” What emerged from that gathering was “The Agile Manifesto” and in the tech world, it and its authors (“Agilites”) quickly came to be regarded with all the sanctity of the Declaration of Independence and its authors.

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