Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Christopher Keene, Sematext Blog, Liz McMillan, Greg O'Connor

Related Topics: SDN Journal, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

SDN Journal: Blog Feed Post

Agility Is Not a Methodology

There is a reason why absolutists always fail in technology

Lori and I were discussing the entire topic of agility the other day, she looking at it from the SDN prospective, and I from the evolutionary perspective for development. While I know there has been a metric ton of writing about the topic, since I’ve used agile development, and find it to be useful, but didn’t become a fanatic on my first agile project, I thought some perspective might be in order.

There is a reason why absolutists always fail in technology. Not just because high-tech is always changing – which makes absolutism fleeting at best  - but because the part that determines whether computer scientists get to be absolutists on topics as varied as “object purism”, “No [fill in mobile device since first Palm] on my network”, or “We’re an X shop” is not at all scientific. Nor is making absolute statements, unless you’re discussing a proven fact.

Money and by extension people’s productivity determine what kind of shop you are, what you use or don’t use, what standards are set in stone and what are not. And sometimes the market. I used to work with a network manager that told me “We’re a Nortel shop, we’ll never use anything else.” Uhhmmm… Wonder how that’s working out for him.

And over the last several years, agile/lean development has that air of “My OS is better than yours!” to it. In these back-and-forth discussions, I have tried to maintain perspective, no matter what topic is polarizing my fellow geeks this year. What you like is irrelevant. Use the right tool for the job. Sometimes, that’s not your favorite, because frankly, there are no silver bullets.

Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe the evolution of agile is what finally broke the “Mythical Man Month” mentality that had ruled over and held back IT as badly as Hume has decimated philosophy with regards to actual science. I hate that they let Hume hold them up while science continues to forge new ground and face issues that philosophers could help with, and I hated that IT shops believed there was no faster way to get code out the door once the team was bigger than one person.

Agile improved developer productivity through a variety of methods, but I feel the biggest was focusing on one thing at a time and reducing non-coding activities. All in all it is a great improvement.

But our field of endeavor tends toward zealotry, and the agile pundits out there sound alarmingly like the cloud pundits or any of the other absolutists we’ve burned through in the past 20 years or so “all other things are obsolete, we have our flavor of agile now!”. I’ll agree that agile methods are right for a huge percentage of IT projects, I just won’t agree they are for all IT projects.

The thing is, there are cases – more than one might think – where agile isn’t the best solution. The larger the code base, the larger the team, the more distributed the team, the less and less it a project is suited to agile methods. Oh, like so many methodologies, you can force-fit it, but I’m talking about best solution, not possible solution. And the more documentation required, well, agile teams don’t tend to excel in that department, viewing a document as a waste when you could be writing code. And that doesn’t even touch on the array of things like “don’t generalize for re-use, you can’t predict the future” slamming into “We are building a corporate repository…”

But the thing is, like all such methodologies, it does introduce some great tools to be put to use even on projects that don’t lend themselves to its overall methodology. And some that hold it back even when the methodology is the right one. Sponsors vary in actual support from “assigned to me, whatever” to “we really need this, what can I do to help get it right?” And that is just the nature of any methodology that requires sponsors for each project. Just as drafted militaries tend to be lower quality than volunteer ones, the sponsor process includes both good and bad.

From the good bits, breaking the problem down as small as possible is a great way to achieve focus, just  beware of blinders. The future is coming, and sometimes you can reasonably predict it. Others may need to re-use some of the source – assuming the team didn’t write it so specific as to be useless, and where documentation is concerned, the team needs to focus on new developers a couple years from now, when the SMEs won’t necessarily be available, not the minimum to communicate today.

But the most agile thing that comes out of agile? Business management is now aware that development can be faster than (maximum estimate X 2, measured in the next highest unit of measure). Agile projects are sometimes late, just as any other, but they are generally tracked better by the nature of labor division, so expectations are managed better. And upper management can now drive the mentality that will make IT more responsive.

And in the end, that’s the point. If senior management says “agility is our goal”, and is willing to put the money and effort behind it, the fact that some projects are better suited to other, more overarching methodologies doesn’t matter, but saying “We need tool X and it will make us more agile, here’s how” will get budget, improving overall IT responsiveness.

Most of us don’t get to choose the methodology (or lack thereof) in use for our team/group/department, but we do get to point out when the One True Methodology mentality is a weight and not helping. Do so. Strive, as most of us do, to do what is right for the organization, not what is the tool of today.

And embrace the bits that help no matter what. Focus on small problems, don’t over-document (but don’t under-document either, there will be others behind you that need to get up to speed), and unit/functional test at that one-business-problem level.

In the end, I titled this blog “Agile is not a development methodology”, simply because it is a mindset. A mindset that starts at the top, and prioritizes getting the business what they need in the fastest manner possible while still meeting requirements. You know, what we should have been (and many of us were) doing long before agile came along.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Don MacVittie

Don MacVittie is currently a Senior Solutions Architect at StackIQ, Inc. He is also working with Mesamundi on D20PRO, and is a member of the Stacki Open Source project. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing, and IT management. MacVittie holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Michigan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Isomorphic Software will exhibit at DevOps Summit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Isomorphic Software provides the SmartClient HTML5/AJAX platform, the most advanced technology for building rich, cutting-edge enterprise web applications for desktop and mobile. SmartClient combines the productivity and performance of traditional desktop software with the simp...
Thomas Bitman of Gartner wrote a blog post last year about why OpenStack projects fail. In that article, he outlined three particular metrics which together cause 60% of OpenStack projects to fall short of expectations: Wrong people (31% of failures): a successful cloud needs commitment both from the operations team as well as from "anchor" tenants. Wrong processes (19% of failures): a successful cloud automates across silos in the software development lifecycle, not just within silos.
Node.js and io.js are increasingly being used to run JavaScript on the server side for many types of applications, such as websites, real-time messaging and controllers for small devices with limited resources. For DevOps it is crucial to monitor the whole application stack and Node.js is rapidly becoming an important part of the stack in many organizations. Sematext has historically had a strong support for monitoring big data applications such as Elastic (aka Elasticsearch), Cassandra, Solr, S...
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 ...
As the world moves toward 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. Serverless computing is revolutionizing computing. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Raghav...
Monitoring of Docker environments is challenging. Why? Because each container typically runs a single process, has its own environment, utilizes virtual networks, or has various methods of managing storage. Traditional monitoring solutions take metrics from each server and applications they run. These servers and applications running on them are typically very static, with very long uptimes. Docker deployments are different: a set of containers may run many applications, all sharing the resource...
It's been a busy time for tech's ongoing infatuation with containers. Amazon just announced EC2 Container Registry to simply container management. The new Azure container service taps into Microsoft's partnership with Docker and Mesosphere. You know when there's a standard for containers on the table there's money on the table, too. Everyone is talking containers because they reduce a ton of development-related challenges and make it much easier to move across production and testing environm...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, 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 opportuni...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...

Modern organizations face great challenges as they embrace innovation and integrate new tools and services. They begin to mature and move away from the complacency of maintaining traditional technologies and systems that only solve individual, siloed problems and work “well enough.” In order to build...

The post Gearing up for Digital Transformation appeared first on Aug. 26, 2016 01:30 PM EDT  Reads: 1,452

Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addres...
Cloud Expo 2016 New York at the Javits Center New York was characterized by increased attendance and a new focus on operations. These were both encouraging signs for all involved in Cloud Computing and all that it touches. As Conference Chair, I work with the Cloud Expo team to structure three keynotes, numerous general sessions, and more than 150 breakout sessions along 10 tracks. Our job is to balance the state of enterprise IT today with the trends that will be commonplace tomorrow. Mobile...
The following fictional case study is a composite of actual horror stories I’ve heard over the years. Unfortunately, this scenario often occurs when in-house integration teams take on the complexities of DevOps and ALM integration with an enterprise service bus (ESB) or custom integration. It is written from the perspective of an enterprise architect tasked with leading an organization’s effort to adopt Agile to become more competitive. The company has turned to Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) as ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, a leading provider of middleware modernization, integration, and management solutions, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware evolution products and services that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
To leverage Continuous Delivery, enterprises must consider impacts that span functional silos, as well as applications that touch older, slower moving components. Managing the many dependencies can cause slowdowns. See how to achieve continuous delivery in the enterprise.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
This is a no-hype, pragmatic post about why I think you should consider architecting your next project the way SOA and/or microservices suggest. No matter if it’s a greenfield approach or if you’re in dire need of refactoring. Please note: considering still keeps open the option of not taking that approach. After reading this, you will have a better idea about whether building multiple small components instead of a single, large component makes sense for your project. This post assumes that you...
A company’s collection of online systems is like a delicate ecosystem – all components must integrate with and complement each other, and one single malfunction in any of them can bring the entire system to a screeching halt. That’s why, when monitoring and analyzing the health of your online systems, you need a broad arsenal of different tools for your different needs. In addition to a wide-angle lens that provides a snapshot of the overall health of your system, you must also have precise, ...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...