|By Tad Anderson||
|February 25, 2013 09:00 AM EST||
|I have had the opportunity to lead dozens of software development projects which I love doing. I have also had the opportunity to watch dozens of software development project from the sidelines, while working on my own project, or in place as a consultant to accomplish something other than run the development process.
From the sidelines I have seen some succeed, some crash and burn, and the rest get close enough to success that the team can sell it as a success. Sometimes the later takes a heck of a sales job. I would say in my book 80% of those sold as successes failed. They either came in well over budget, well beyond their projected delivery date, or delivered such buggy software that the maintenance effort was as big as the development effort. Success to the team simply meant they considered the project over. You will find of those project teams run as fast as they can instead of doing a retrospective study.
The hard and sad part of watching the projects flop is that they are so predictable. A lot of times I find an environment has just come to terms with the fact that all the projects will come in late, over budget, and buggy. They have accepted reaching the end of the project as the only measure of success. You will usually find those environments are running in fire mode. Meaning the highest priorities for the day are the hottest fires and there are fires for everyone every day. They can't see it, but even there larger strategic projects are reacting to fires. They never get ahead, they just keep slowly slipping further behind.
So by now you are probably wondering what all that blather has to do with this book? To be able to recognize a project that is going off-track takes years of experience. The SEMAT Kernel provides a set of tools that enable those, that would normally not have enough experience to recognize when the project is going off-track, to be able to. The book is broken down into seven parts. I have listed each part below with the chapters they contain.
Part I: The Kernel Idea Explained
1. A Glimpse of How the Kernel Can Be Used
2. A Little More Detail about the Kernel
3. A 10,000-Foot View of the Full Kernel
4. The Kernel Alphas Made Tangible with Cards
5. Providing More Details to the Kernel through Practices
6. What the Kernel Can Do for You
Part II: Using the Kernel to Run an Iteration
7. Running Iterations with the Kernel: Plan-Do-Check-Adapt
8. Planning an Iteration
9. Doing and Checking the Iteration
10. Adapting the Way of Working
11. Running an Iteration with Explicit Requirement Item States
Part III: Using the Kernel to Run a Software Endeavor
12. Running a Software Endeavor: From Idea to Production
13. Building the Business Case
14. Developing the System
15. Operating the Software
Part IV: Scaling Development with the Kernel
16. What Does It Mean to Scale?
17. Zooming In to Provide Details
18. Reaching Out to Different Kinds of Development
19. Scaling Up to Large and Complex Development
Part V: How the Kernel Changes the Way You Work with Methods
20. Thinking about Methods without Thinking about Methods
21. Agile Working with Methods
Part VI: What’s Really New Here?
22. Refounding Methods
23. Separation of Concerns Applied to Methods
24. The Key Differentiators
Part VII: Epilogue
25. This Is Not the End
26. ... But Perhaps It Is the End of the Beginning
27. When the Vision Comes True
Appendix A. Concepts and Notation
Appendix B. What Does This Book Cover with Respect to the Kernel?
This book is not about defining or executing a new software development process, so don't expect to find how to create user stories, manage a product backlog, implement an instance of the RUP, or document your software architecture. This book is about the essential elements that are part of every software development process and how to recognize their current state in order to understand where you are in the process of your choice. It also walks you through the process of assembling a method from activities you have selected to use.
The kernel is broken down into three areas of concern which include Customer, Solution, and Endeavor. Each area of concern encapsulates alphas (things that progress and evolve) and activities.
Alphas include Opportunity, Stakeholders, Requirements, Software System, Team, Work, and Way of Working. Each of these have six different states attached to them which reflect their maturity.
The book defines activity spaces as explore possibilities, understand stakeholder needs, ensure stakeholder satisfaction, use the system, understand the requirements, shape the system, implement the system, test the system, deploy the system, operate the system, prepare to do the work, coordinate activity, support the team, track progress, and stop the work.
The next step the book takes is to assemble the alphas and activities into practices. An example of a practice would be a requirements elicitation practice. The practices are then used to build methods.
One really nice thing this book does is provide a common vocabulary that can be use across processes. Meaning that no matter what process you are using the kernel's alphas and activities apply. This will make it easier to see the different processes for what they really are at their core and make them easier to understand.
One thing I would have like to see different with this book is the alphas full checklist be used instead of the short-form, or at least have the long form list included in an appendix. You can get the full checklist from the Essence – Kernel and Language for Software Engineering Methods which is on the SEMAT web site. This does not take anything away from the book, it is just a pet peeve of mine. I don't like when a book provides less detail than the free specifications available on line.
I have found some books that are just summaries of the online work and you end up being pointed to that work in every chapter. That is not the case with this book, there is a lot of information in this book you won't find in the specs on line. The format and writing style of the book also makes reading the book much more pleasurable than reading the Essence – Kernel and Language for Software Engineering Methods OMG submission.
Overall I found this book to be a breath of fresh air. It is hard to find any pure software engineering process books anymore. They all tend to be a rehash of all the latest agile processes out there, which are all just reworks of all the iterative processes out there. The book and its material is very usable. I highly recommend this book to anyone with any role in the software development field.
The Essence of Software Engineering: Applying the SEMAT Kernel
Between the compelling mockups and specs produced by analysts, and resulting applications built by developers, there exists a gulf where projects fail, costs spiral, and applications disappoint. Methodologies like Agile attempt to address this with intensified communication, with partial success but many limitations. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, will present a revolutionary model enabled by new technologies. Learn how busine...
Oct. 8, 2015 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 220
DevOps has often been described in terms of CAMS: Culture, Automation, Measuring, Sharing. While we’ve seen a lot of focus on the “A” and even on the “M”, there are very few examples of why the “C" is equally important in the DevOps equation. In her session at @DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, of F5 Networks, will explore HTTP/1 and HTTP/2 along with Microservices to illustrate why a collaborative culture between Dev, Ops, and the Network is critical to ensuring success.
Oct. 8, 2015 01:45 PM EDT
The APN DevOps Competency highlights APN Partners who demonstrate deep capabilities delivering continuous integration, continuous delivery, and configuration management. They help customers transform their business to be more efficient and agile by leveraging the AWS platform and DevOps principles.
Oct. 8, 2015 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 197
Any Ops team trying to support a company in today’s cloud-connected world knows that a new way of thinking is required – one just as dramatic than the shift from Ops to DevOps. The diversity of modern operations requires teams to focus their impact on breadth vs. depth. In his session at DevOps Summit, Adam Serediuk, Director of Operations at xMatters, Inc., will discuss the strategic requirements of evolving from Ops to DevOps, and why modern Operations has begun leveraging the “NoOps” approa...
Oct. 8, 2015 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 105
Containers are changing the security landscape for software development and deployment. As with any security solutions, security approaches that work for developers, operations personnel and security professionals is a requirement. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Kevin Gilpin, CTO and Co-Founder of Conjur, will discuss various security considerations for container-based infrastructure and related DevOps workflows.
Oct. 8, 2015 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 170
At DevOps Summit NY there’s been a whole lot of talk about not just DevOps, but containers, IoT, and microservices. Sessions focused not just on the cultural shift needed to grow at scale with a DevOps approach, but also made sure to include the network ”plumbing” needed to ensure success as applications decompose into the microservice architectures enabling rapid growth and support for the Internet of (Every)Things.
Oct. 8, 2015 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,038
For it to be SOA – let alone SOA done right – we need to pin down just what "SOA done wrong" might be. First-generation SOA with Web Services and ESBs, perhaps? But then there's second-generation, REST-based SOA. More lightweight and cloud-friendly, but many REST-based SOA practices predate the microservices wave. Today, microservices and containers go hand in hand – only the details of "container-oriented architecture" are largely on the drawing board – and are not likely to look much like S...
Oct. 8, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 479
In their session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, co-founder and the VP of Product at Logz.io, and Tomer Levy, co-founder and CEO of Logz.io, will explore the entire process that they have undergone – through research, benchmarking, implementation, optimization, and customer success – in developing a processing engine that can handle petabytes of data. They will also discuss the requirements of such an engine in terms of scalability, resilience, security, and availability along with how the archi...
Oct. 8, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 361
The web app is agile. The REST API is agile. The testing and planning are agile. But alas, data infrastructures certainly are not. Once an application matures, changing the shape or indexing scheme of data often forces at best a top down planning exercise and at worst includes schema changes that force downtime. The time has come for a new approach that fundamentally advances the agility of distributed data infrastructures. Come learn about a new solution to the problems faced by software organ...
Oct. 8, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 773
Our guest on the podcast this week is Jason Bloomberg, President at Intellyx. When we build services we want them to be lightweight, stateless and scalable while doing one thing really well. In today's cloud world, we're revisiting what to takes to make a good service in the first place. Listen in to learn why following "the book" doesn't necessarily mean that you're solving key business problems.
Oct. 8, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,213
IT data is typically silo'd by the various tools in place. Unifying all the log, metric and event data in one analytics platform stops finger pointing and provides the end-to-end correlation. Logs, metrics and custom event data can be joined to tell the holistic story of your software and operations. For example, users can correlate code deploys to system performance to application error codes.
Oct. 8, 2015 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 174
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, ...
Oct. 8, 2015 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 507
Containers are revolutionizing the way we deploy and maintain our infrastructures, but monitoring and troubleshooting in a containerized environment can still be painful and impractical. Understanding even basic resource usage is difficult - let alone tracking network connections or malicious activity. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gianluca Borello, Sr. Software Engineer at Sysdig, will cover the current state of the art for container monitoring and visibility, including pros / cons and li...
Oct. 8, 2015 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 150
Despite all the talk about public cloud services and DevOps, you would think the move to cloud for enterprises is clear and simple. But in a survey of almost 1,600 IT decision makers across the USA and Europe, the state of the cloud in enterprise today is still fraught with considerable frustration. The business case for apps in the real world cloud is hybrid, bimodal, multi-platform, and difficult. Download this report commissioned by NTT Communications to see the insightful findings – registra...
Oct. 8, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 241
Manufacturing has widely adopted standardized and automated processes to create designs, build them, and maintain them through their life cycle. However, many modern manufacturing systems go beyond mechanized workflows to introduce empowered workers, flexible collaboration, and rapid iteration. Such behaviors also characterize open source software development and are at the heart of DevOps culture, processes, and tooling.
Oct. 8, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,050
Overgrown applications have given way to modular applications, driven by the need to break larger problems into smaller problems. Similarly large monolithic development processes have been forced to be broken into smaller agile development cycles. Looking at trends in software development, microservices architectures meet the same demands. Additional benefits of microservices architectures are compartmentalization and a limited impact of service failure versus a complete software malfunction....
Oct. 8, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 124
The last decade was about virtual machines, but the next one is about containers. Containers enable a service to run on any host at any time. Traditional tools are starting to show cracks because they were not designed for this level of application portability. Now is the time to look at new ways to deploy and manage applications at scale. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, Brian “Redbeard” Harrington, a principal architect at CoreOS, will examine how CoreOS helps teams run in production. Attende...
Oct. 8, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,210
With containerization using Docker, the orchestration of containers using Kubernetes, the self-service model for provisioning your projects and applications and the workflows we built in OpenShift is the best in class Platform as a Service that enables introducing DevOps into your organization with ease. In his session at DevOps Summit, Veer Muchandi, PaaS evangelist with RedHat, will provide a deep dive overview of OpenShift v3 and demonstrate how it helps with DevOps.
Oct. 8, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 619
As the world moves towards more DevOps and microservices, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. The microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, NetFlix and so on, is at the heart of Cloud Foundry - a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS) that is IaaS agnostic and supports vCloud, OpenStack and AWS. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Raghavan "Rags" Srinivas, an Architect/Developer Evangeli...
Oct. 8, 2015 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 153
In a report titled “Forecast Analysis: Enterprise Application Software, Worldwide, 2Q15 Update,” Gartner analysts highlighted the increasing trend of application modernization among enterprises. According to a recent survey, 45% of respondents stated that modernization of installed on-premises core enterprise applications is one of the top five priorities. Gartner also predicted that by 2020, 75% of
Oct. 8, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 304