Ellen Gottesdiener, Mary Batchelder Gorman: Discover to Deliver: Agile Product Planning and Analysis

Jan 29, 2016

For once, I can say that I actually heard about Discover to Deliver book on the Software Engineering Radio. I tend to think that about every technology related book I read, but it’s rarely true. I got this one as a Christmas present as well and was really looking forward to it.

As it turns out that was a mistake. Discover to Deliver opens with a chapter called “The Case Study” illustrating all the techniques and methods described in the rest of the book. Going by the name, I assumed it is actually a case study and not a completely made up project with friendly, cooperative people all around and no problems at all. Plus it takes up a fifth of the book.

The other five chapters explore the big concepts, seven product dimensions, structured conversation, how to adapt the process and tools and techniques. The former chapters are very basic, common sense concepts while the latter ones are just dry lists of definitions with made up context and no depth. The tone is mostly boring except for parts where the authors describe completely idyllic scenarios, then it turns to inverse cringe-comedy.

This is in contrast to Lean from the Trenches which goes into practical examples, bad decisions and mistakes and actually brings some value. Discover to Deliver on the other hand is a managementese without any substance.