Welcome!

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.

Introduction
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
Appendix

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
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
"MathFreeOn.com is a line coding platform for engineers and scientists. When they want to solve an engineering problem and they have to use software - they have to pay a lot of money for licenses - but with MathFreeOn you don't have to pay a lot of money. Just go to our site and write the code and you can check the result right away," explained Simon Lee, CMO of MathFreeOn, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Cla...
In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Claude Remillard, Principal Program Manager in Developer Division at Microsoft, contrasted how his team used config as code and immutable patterns for continuous delivery of microservices and apps to the cloud. He showed how 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 also demoed building immutable pipelines in the cloud ...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Robert Cohen, an economist and senior fellow at the Economic Strategy Institute, provideed economic scenarios that describe how the rapid adoption of software-defined everything including cloud services, SDDC and open networking will change GDP, industry growth, productivity and jobs. This session also included a drill down for several industries such as finance, social media, cloud service providers and pharmaceuticals.
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
@DevOpsSummit taking place June 6-8, 2017 at Javits Center, New York City, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Infrastructure is widely available, but who’s managing inbound/outbound traffic? Data is created, stored, and managed online – who is protecting it and how? In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Jaeson Yoo, SVP of Business Development at Penta Security Systems Inc., discussed how to keep any and all infrastructure clean, safe, and efficient by monitoring and filtering all malicious HTTP/HTTPS traffic at the OSI Layer 7. Stop attacks and web intruders before they can enter your network.