Review: Jonathan Rasmusson - The Agile Samurai

During my work as a software engineer, I have come across the agile path many times. It has been my opinion for a few years now that it is the way to go. To further improve myself, my team and my company, I went looking for more resources about the subject. One of those resources I found was The Agile Samurai: How Agile Masters Deliver Great Software by Jonathan Rasmusson. But was it any good?

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Brief Recap

What does it take to become a master at agile? What is the silver bullet? Why do some projects succes while others fail? Will these questions be answered by this book?

The Agile Samurai teaches us that there are two kinds of software projects: those that succeed and those that fail. Is there a guide to make your project belong to that first group? No. There is no silver bullet. This book does not teach you what makes your project a success. Instead, Jonathan Rasmusson tells us what we can do to prevent our project from falling in the second group.

When reading this book, you will become aware that not everything is going to work out. There will not be enough budget and time to deliver all the requirements. That is a given at the start of any software project. But that does not make your software project fail. The way you handle those problems, as well as the constant changes of the customer’s interests, determines the result of your project.

My Two Cents

If you are new to software development, then reading this book should become one of your top priorities. Walking the agile path brings you across the “do not set false expectations” street. There’s a route along “act early rather than late” road. You will go sightseeing at the agile dojo where Master Sensei will share with you the agile reasoning that can give your project a higher chance for success.

When your career has already helped you see some agile practices, this book can help your refresh your skills. It won’t make your world shake – like I said, there _is _no silver bullet – but it reminds you how you could handle certain situations. I think it’s a must read for any software developer. And a must re-read in every 5 to 7 years.


I do not feel like I have become a true agile samurai. I still have a lot to learn, but this book was good to freshen up some aspects about the art. Will I someday reach the same level as Master Sensei? Maybe, but I will have to learn more about certain ways of reasoning.

Do you know good resources about agile software development? And what are your experiences? I am always up for a good chat on this subject.