Click here to close now.

Welcome!

MICROSERVICES Authors: David Sprott, Lori MacVittie, Carmen Gonzalez, Michael Kanasoot, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: MICROSERVICES, Java, XML, .NET, AJAX & REA, Web 2.0

MICROSERVICES: Book Review

Book Review: A Practical Approach to Large-Scale Agile Development

How HP Transformed LaserJet FutureSmart Firmware

I must admit that before I began reading this book I truly thought it was going to be another twisted story of an attempt at agile that failed in everyone's eyes except for those that needed to say it was a success. That is what I am used to.

It is kind of like when I am on a product reference call to CIO. The product is always great and the company who sold it is always wonderful. Why some people think the CIO is going to say they didn't do their due diligence when picking a vendor, and the product and company we are asking about sucks, is beyond me?

They never do. The same is true of almost all the agile projects I have seen. They end over budget, buggy, and pretty much the same way most projects end that use any other process, but they are always deemed a success by those involved.

I was ready to tell myself I was correct in my assumption when I got blasted on page 2 with the Agile Manifesto, but decided to give them to the end of the chapter. In the next section of the chapter they caught my attention with the last of a list of 6 topics which was their take on Agile/Lean Principles. Number 6 was practitioners should define agile/lean practices.

I find myself saying the same thing all the time on a ton of different projects. When it comes to leading large complex agile projects, if you have not come up through the ranks being mentored on successful agile projects, and learning through experience, not books, you have no business defining process and leading the project. I have met very few people who agree with this line of thought and it impressed me that the authors did.

That one line of thought pushed me to read chapter 2. Again I was pleasantly surprised with the authors discussing the need to engineer a solution. Not implement a process, but engineer a solution. By the end of this chapter the authors had done a great job summarizing where their teams use their resources now and assembled some excellent development objectives.

Another thing the authors discussed was the capacity of their organization to absorb change. This is something that is almost always overlooked when bringing in new development processes, agile or not, this is something that needs to be looked at throughout the entire organization. This is usually just isolated to the development teams, but the new processes affect every department when they are implemented correctly.

At the end of the chapter the authors list their achievements:
-2008 to present overall development costs reduced by 40%
-Number of programs under development increased by 140%
-Development costs per program down 78%
-Firmware resources now driving innovation increased by a factor of 8 (from 5% working on new features to 40%)

I am sure these seem exaggerated, and that is what I believed until I read the next two chapters. Over the course of the next two chapters the authors fully won me over. They proceeded to outline implementing a Software Product Line using their own process language. I know from my own experience that when Software Product Line Engineering is done correctly it will always produce improvements like those listed above.

The authors nail exactly what enables their ability to implement an iterative agile process, and that would be investing in the right architecture. Any sizable project that doesn't invest in the architecture and claims they are able to pull off the project in an agile way is full of crap, period.

Product Line Engineering is the process that offers the highest level of agility over all other processes. It is tailorable for different levels of ceremony and is therefore able to run lighter than Scrum given the right team and right environment.

One of the main benefits of Product Line Engineering is the ability to collect metrics and in Chapter 5 the authors identify how to take advantage of them the right way, which is not to manage by metrics, but to use the metrics to understand where to have conversations about what is not getting done. Chapter 5 also outlines their iterative process.

The book continues to cover excellent process practices throughout the rest of the book, and they are applied to a real world project which drives home their value even more. Below are all the chapters included in the book.

Chapter 1. Agile Principles versus Practices
Chapter 2. Tuning Agile to Your Business Objectives
Chapter 3. Aligning Architecture with Business Objectives
Chapter 4. How to Establish a New Architecture Using Agile Concepts
Chapter 5. The Real Secret to Success in Large-Scale Agile
Chapter 6. Continuous Integration and Quality Systems
Chapter 7. Taming the Planning Beast
Chapter 8. Unique Challenges of Estimating Large Innovations
Chapter 9. Our Take on Project Management for Large-Scale Agile
Chapter 10. Organizational Approach: Managing to Disadvantages
Chapter 11. Effective Agile Development Across U.S. and Indian Cultures
Chapter 12. The Right Tools: Quantum Leaps in Productivity
Chapter 13. Real-World Agile Results: HP FutureSmart Firmware
Chapter 14. Change Management in Moving Toward Enterprise Agility
Chapter 15. Differences in Our Perspective on Scaling Agile
Chapter 16. Taking the First Step

Unlike a lot of books I have read on implementing agile practices on large scale projects I believe the results of this project were reported accurately.

I also believed the results were achieved with an iterative agile process. They are honest about the issues they ran into and they hammer on prototyping for architectural issues, which is definitely the way to go.

The author's writing styles make the book an easy read and the story that is told along the way is a very interesting one. I did not get bored with even one page of this book.

This book is a must read for any CIO, Enterprise Architect, Software Architect, Project Manager, or other IT roles in charge of or involved with large scale initiatives that they are hoping to pull off in an agile way. The book tells the story of how to achieve success based on a real world success, not a made up fictional case study.

A Practical Approach to Large-Scale Agile Development: How HP Transformed LaserJet FutureSmart Firmware

More Stories By Tad Anderson

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

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Cloud computing is changing the way we look at IT costs, according to industry experts on a recent Cloud Luminary Fireside Chat panel discussion. Enterprise IT, traditionally viewed as a cost center, now plays a central role in the delivery of software-driven goods and services. Therefore, companies need to understand their cloud utilization and resulting costs in order to ensure profitability on their business offerings. Led by Bernard Golden, this fireside chat offers valuable insights on ho...
Microservices, for the uninitiated, are essentially the decomposition of applications into multiple services. This decomposition is often based on functional lines, with related functions being grouped together into a service. While this may sound a like SOA, it really isn't, especially given that SOA was an object-centered methodology that focused on creating services around "nouns" like customer and product. Microservices, while certainly capable of being noun-based, are just as likely to be v...
SYS-CON Events announced today the DevOps Foundation Certification Course, being held June ?, 2015, in conjunction with DevOps Summit and 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. This sixteen (16) hour course provides an introduction to DevOps – the cultural and professional movement that stresses communication, collaboration, integration and automation in order to improve the flow of work between software developers and IT operations professionals. Improved workflows will res...
Chef and Canonical announced a partnership to integrate and distribute Chef with Ubuntu. Canonical is integrating the Chef automation platform with Canonical's Machine-As-A-Service (MAAS), enabling users to automate the provisioning, configuration and deployment of bare metal compute resources in the data center. Canonical is packaging Chef 12 server in upcoming distributions of its Ubuntu open source operating system and will provide commercial support for Chef within its user base.
You hear the terms “subscription economy” and “subscription commerce” all the time. And with good reason. Subscription-based monetization is transforming business as we know it. But what about usage? Where’s the “consumption economy”? Turns out, it’s all around us. When most people think of usage-based billing, the example that probably comes to mind first is metered public utilities — water, gas and electric. Phone services, especially mobile, might come next. Then maybe taxis. And that’s ab...
Learn the top API testing issues that organizations encounter and how automation plus a DevOps team approach can address these top API testing challenges. Ensuring API integrity is difficult in today's complex application cloud, on-premises and hybrid environment scenarios. In this interview with TechTarget, Parasoft solution architect manager Spencer Debrosse shares his experiences about the top API testing issues that organizations encounter and how automation and a DevOps team approach can a...
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch ...
An explosive combination of technology trends will be where ‘microservices’ and the IoT Internet of Things intersect, a concept we can describe by comparing it with a previous theme, the ‘X Internet.' The idea of using small self-contained application components has been popular since XML Web services began and a distributed computing future of smart fridges and kettles was imagined long back in the early Internet years.
After what feel like an interminable cycle of media frenzy followed by hype and hysteria cycles, the practical elements of real world cloud implementations are starting to become better documented. But what is really different in the cloud? How do software applications behave, live, interact and interconnect inside the cloud? Where do cloud architectures differ so markedly from their predecessors that we need to learn a new set of mechanics – and, when do we start to refer to software progra...
SOA Software has changed its name to Akana. With roots in Web Services and SOA Governance, Akana has established itself as a leader in API Management and is expanding into cloud integration as an alternative to the traditional heavyweight enterprise service bus (ESB). The company recently announced that it achieved more than 90% year-over-year growth. As Akana, the company now addresses the evolution and diversification of SOA, unifying security, management, and DevOps across SOA, APIs, microser...
It's 2:15pm on a Friday, and I'm sitting in the keynote hall at PyCon 2013 fidgeting through a succession of lightning talks that have very little relevance to my life. Topics like "Python code coverage techniques" (ho-hum) and "Controlling Christmas lights with Python” (yawn - I wonder if there's anything new on Hacker News)...when Solomon Hykes takes the stage, unveils Docker, and the world shifts. If you haven't seen it yet, you should watch the video of Solomon's Pycon The Future of Linux C...
This month I want to revisit supporting infrastructure and datacenter environments. I have touched (some would say rant) upon this topic since my post in April 2014 called "Take a Holistic View of Support". My thoughts and views on this topic have not changed at all: it's critical for any organization to have a holistic, comprehensive strategy and view of how they support their IT infrastructure and datacenter environments. In fact, I believe it's even more critical today then it was a year ago ...
The 16th Cloud Expo has added coverage containers and microservices to its program for New York, to be held June 9-11 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center. Cloud Expo has long been the single, independent show where delegates and technology vendors can meet to experience and discuss the entire world of the cloud. This year will be no different. Containers are an old concept that saw renewed life with the emergence of Docker in 2013. Then late in 2014, CoreOS shook up the cloud-computing w...
OmniTI has expanded its services to help customers automate their processes to deliver high quality applications to market faster. Consistent with its focus on IT agility and quality, OmniTI operates under DevOps principles, exploring the flow of value through the IT delivery process, identifying opportunities to eliminate waste, realign misaligned incentives, and open bottlenecks. OmniTI takes a unique, value-centric approach by plotting each opportunity in an effort-payoff quadrant, then work...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between Personal and Professional S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY., and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides private all-in-one social intranets allowing workers to securely collaborate from anywhere in the world and from any device. Social, mobile, and eas...
When it comes to microservices there are myths and uncertainty about the journey ahead. Deploying a “Hello World” app on Docker is a long way from making microservices work in real enterprises with large applications, complex environments and existing organizational structures. February 19, 2015 10:00am PT / 1:00pm ET → 45 Minutes Join our four experts: Special host Gene Kim, Gary Gruver, Randy Shoup and XebiaLabs’ Andrew Phillips as they explore the realities of microservices in today’s IT worl...
The world's leading Cloud event, Cloud Expo has launched Microservices Journal on the SYS-CON.com portal, featuring over 19,000 original articles, news stories, features, and blog entries. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. Microservices Journal offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. Follow new article posts on T...
Hosted PaaS providers have given independent developers and startups huge advantages in efficiency and reduced time-to-market over their more process-bound counterparts in enterprises. Software frameworks are now available that allow enterprise IT departments to provide these same advantages for developers in their own organization. In his workshop session at DevOps Summit, Troy Topnik, ActiveState’s Technical Product Manager, will show how on-prem or cloud-hosted Private PaaS can enable organ...
Even though it’s now Microservices Journal, long-time fans of SOA World Magazine can take comfort in the fact that the URL – soa.sys-con.com – remains unchanged. And that’s no mistake, as microservices are really nothing more than a new and improved take on the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) best practices we struggled to hammer out over the last decade. Skeptics, however, might say that this change is nothing more than an exercise in buzzword-hopping. SOA is passé, and now that people are ...