Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Microsoft Cloud, Linux Containers

Microservices Expo: Book Review

Book Review: Being Agile

Eleven Breakthrough Techniques to Keep You from "Waterfalling Backward"

There are teams out there attempting to introduce agile practices into their environments that do not go all in. No matter how hard they try, they just never get there. This book breaks down 11 of the biggest issues teams like that have.

After an introduction to the book and the perspective the authors have of agile practices, the book has a full chapter for each of the issues the authors have identified.

Chapter 1. Whole Teams
Chapter 2. Active Stakeholder Interaction
Chapter 3. Queuing Theory
Chapter 4. No Multitasking
Chapter 5. Eliminate Waste
Chapter 6. Working Software
Chapter 7. Deliver Value
Chapter 8. Release Often
Chapter 9. Stop the Line
Chapter 10. Agile Leadership
Chapter 11. Continuous Improvement

Every chapter has an introduction and then is broken down into 5 parts- Principles, Practices, Metrics, Breakthrough, and Summary.

The Principles section provides the theory, and the evidence for the practices that follow, for the topic at hand. The Metrics section provides suggestions on how you can measure how you are doing in the topic. The Breakthrough section gives recommendations on how to achieve a breakthrough in the troubled area. The summary provides a nice bullet point summary of the main points made throughout the chapter.

Every chapter in the book provides great advice, but when I turned to the first page of Chapter 4 and saw the title No Multitasking staring me back in the face I actually chuckled. Not because the authors went off track, but because I have yet to be in an environment where the management didn't believe the exact opposite. Most of the management teams were happy with your performance when you hit the threshold of having just enough multitasking going on that you are spread too thin to be effective in any of your tasks. To them context switching is just a myth. It doesn't really exist.

Chapter 6 has a section titled "Evolutionary Architecture and Emergent Design". Although there are a lot of books that miss the mark when describing these topics, I am glad these authors didn't. Unless a project is trivial, architecture cannot not be ignored, but the sad fact is, it is almost always overlooked. The problem is even though these books explain these topics correctly, if the readers don't have experience with architecture, it won't go any further than the explanations found in these books.

If they do have experience with architecture, and doing architecture right, they will already be doing architecture this way. Architecture is an activity as well as an iteratively developed asset which is both code and documentation. The number one quality attribute in almost all projects should be modifiability. If correct modifiability scenarios and tactics are applied early in the project, your architecture should easily absorb change.

The authors of the book say "Contrary to popular mythology, evolutionary architecture does start with an architectural model, just not a finished model. So, if you’ve heard that evolutionary architecture is nothing more than an architectural “wild-west show,” I ask you to set such thoughts aside and read on."

Chapter 9. Stop the Line is a great chapter. Stopping the line means that you stop what you are doing and fix a problem by fixing the root cause of the problem so that the problem does not return.

This concept is a hard sell no matter what the environment is. When there is a big show stopping issue, there is always a Band-Aid that is cheaper and faster than fixing the root of the problem, and when the business finds out they don't care anything about a root problem. Even if you know that over time the Band-Aid will cost them 5 times what fixing the root problem will, you better know how to communicate that in their language. This task takes usually takes an architect to actually pull it off.

I have witnessed CIOs, project managers, and developers fail at this repeatedly. The CIOs are not technically savvy enough to explain the issue or its future affects, the project managers are usually of the same mindset and looking for a quick fix to keep dates from slipping, and the developers are not used to having to present technical topics in a way the business understands.

Let's face it, there are way too many books, and way too much information available on agile these days. I'll be the first to admit, that every time I see an agile book coming out the first thing I think is how could they possibly still be milking agile. I also must admit, that many of the new books coming out on agile are now reflective of experience, and not based entirely on theory. That was what you used to find in the agile library, all theory and no experience.

Architecture, lifecycle phases, documentation, and specialized skill sets for certain roles throughout the process have made their way back into the agile world on projects that are larger than a 3 to 5 person team can handle. Thank goodness any good agile book you pick up today will either include these topics as absolutely essential, or you can throw it in the garbage.

I found the advice in this book to be dead on for the issues they discuss. The book is less than 300 pages, so it is a short read, full of practical and relevant advice, with absolutely no filler.

I highly recommend this book to those in the throes of trying to introduce agile practices into their environment.

Being Agile: Eleven Breakthrough Techniques to Keep You from "Waterfalling Backward"

Being Agile: Eleven Breakthrough Techniques to Keep You from "Waterfalling Backward"

More Stories By Tad Anderson

Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.

Latest Stories
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
Extreme Computing is the ability to leverage highly performant infrastructure and software to accelerate Big Data, machine learning, HPC, and Enterprise applications. High IOPS Storage, low-latency networks, in-memory databases, GPUs and other parallel accelerators are being used to achieve faster results and help businesses make better decisions. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at NVIDIA, focused on some of the unique ways extreme computing is...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
In the next five to ten years, millions, if not billions of things will become smarter. This smartness goes beyond connected things in our homes like the fridge, thermostat and fancy lighting, and into heavily regulated industries including aerospace, pharmaceutical/medical devices and energy. “Smartness” will embed itself within individual products that are part of our daily lives. We will engage with smart products - learning from them, informing them, and communicating with them. Smart produc...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, will discuss the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docke...
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, will contrast how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He will show the immutable patterns helps developers do away with most of the complexity of config as code-enabling scenarios such as rollback, zero downtime upgrades with far greater simplicity. He will also have live demos of building immutable pipe...
Rapid innovation, changing business landscapes, and new IT demands force businesses to make changes quickly. In the eyes of many, containers are at the brink of becoming a pervasive technology in enterprise IT to accelerate application delivery. In this presentation, you'll learn about the: The transformation of IT to a DevOps, microservices, and container-based architecture What are containers and how DevOps practices can operate in a container-based environment A demonstration of how Docke...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
So you think you are a DevOps warrior, huh? Put your money (not really, it’s free) where your metrics are and prove it by taking The Ultimate DevOps Geek Quiz Challenge, sponsored by DevOps Summit. Battle through the set of tough questions created by industry thought leaders to earn your bragging rights and win some cool prizes.