Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

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

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"

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Tad Anderson

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

Latest Stories
Regardless of what business you’re in, it’s increasingly a software-driven business. Consumers’ rising expectations for connected digital and physical experiences are driving what some are calling the "Customer Experience Challenge.” In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Marco Morales, Director of Global Solutions at CollabNet, will discuss how organizations are increasingly adopting a discipline of Value Stream Mapping to ensure that the software they are producing is poised to ...
IBM helps FinTechs and financial services companies build and monetize cognitive-enabled financial services apps quickly and at scale. Hosted on IBM Bluemix, IBM’s platform builds in customer insights, regulatory compliance analytics and security to help reduce development time and testing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Tom Eck, Industry Platforms CTO at IBM Cloud, will discuss how these tools simplify the time-consuming tasks of selection, mapping and data integration, allowing developers ...
In order to meet the rapidly changing demands of today’s customers, companies are continually forced to redefine their business strategies in order to meet these needs, stay relevant and continue to see profitable growth. IoT deployment and development is integral in this transformation, and today businesses are increasingly seeing the value of investing their resources into IoT deployments. These technologies are able increase ROI through projects such as connecting supply chains or enabling sm...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
For financial firms, the cloud is going to increasingly become a crucial part of dealing with customers over the next five years and beyond, particularly with the growing use and acceptance of virtual currencies. There are new data storage paradigms on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive financial data around the world without touching terrestrial networks. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Cliff Beek, President of Cloud Constellation Corporation, w...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outscale, a global pure play Infrastructure as a Service provider and strategic partner of Dassault Systèmes, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2010, Outscale simplifies infrastructure complexities and boosts the business agility of its customers. Outscale delivers a secure, reliable and industrial strength solution for its customers, which in...
Cloud applications are seeing a deluge of requests to support the exploding advanced analytics market. “Open analytics” is the emerging strategy to deliver that data through an open data access layer, in the cloud, to be directly consumed by external analytics tools and popular programming languages. An increasing number of data engineers and data scientists use a variety of platforms and advanced analytics languages such as SAS, R, Python and Java, as well as frameworks such as Hadoop and Spark...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Brad Winett, Senior Technologist for DDN Storage, will present several current, end-user environments that are using object storage at scale for cloud deployments including private cloud and cloud providers. Details on the top considerations of features and functions for selecting object storage will be included. Brad will also touch on recent developments in tiering technologies that deliver single solution and an end-user view of data across files and objects...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs ofte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri, Inc, a leading provider of enterprise cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Tintri offers an enterprise cloud platform built with public cloud-like web services and RESTful APIs. Organizations use Tintri all-flash storage with scale-out and automation as a foundation for their own clouds – to build agile development environments...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DivvyCloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DivvyCloud software enables organizations to achieve their cloud computing goals by simplifying and automating security, compliance and cost optimization of public and private cloud infrastructure. Using DivvyCloud, customers can leverage programmatic Bots to identify and remediate common cloud problems in rea...
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, will motivate why realizing the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insigh...
While some vendors scramble to create and sell you a fancy solution for monitoring your spanking new Amazon Lambdas, hear how you can do it on the cheap using just built-in Java APIs yourself. By exploiting a little-known fact that Lambdas aren’t exactly single threaded, you can effectively identify hot spots in your serverless code. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, David Martin, Principal Product Owner at CA Technologies, will give a live demonstration and code walkthrough, showing how to ov...
The 21st International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Machine Learning 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 busin...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...