Welcome!

AJAX & REA Authors: ChandraShekar Dattatreya, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, David H Deans, Pat Romanski

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

SOA & WOA: 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.

@CloudExpo Stories
"For the past 4 years we have been working mainly to export. For the last 3 or 4 years the main market was Russia. In the past year we have been working to expand our footprint in Europe and the United States," explained Andris Gailitis, CEO of DEAC, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using ...
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series dat...
The term culture has had a polarizing effect among DevOps supporters. Some propose that culture change is critical for success with DevOps, but are remiss to define culture. Some talk about a DevOps culture but then reference activities that could lead to culture change and there are those that talk about culture change as a set of behaviors that need to be adopted by those in IT. There is no question that businesses successful in adopting a DevOps mindset have seen departmental culture change, ...
High-performing enterprise Software Quality Assurance (SQA) teams validate systems that are ready for use - getting most actively involved as components integrate and form complete systems. These teams catch and report on defects, making sure the customer gets the best software possible. SQA teams have leveraged automation and virtualization to execute more thorough testing in less time - bringing Dev and Ops together, ensuring production readiness. Does the emergence of DevOps mean the end of E...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps,...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. Acco...
"Cloud consumption is something we envision at Solgenia. That is trying to let the cloud spread to the user as a consumption, as utility computing. We want to allow the people to just pay for what they use, not a subscription model," explained Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect...
"Verizon offers public cloud, virtual private cloud as well as private cloud on-premises - many different alternatives. Verizon's deep knowledge in applications and the fact that we are responsible for applications that make call outs to other systems. Those systems and those resources may not be in Verizon Cloud, we understand at the end of the day it's going to be federated," explained Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at...
SYS-CON Media announced that Centrify, a provider of unified identity management across cloud, mobile and data center environments that delivers single sign-on (SSO) for users and a simplified identity infrastructure for IT, has launched an ad campaign on Cloud Computing Journal. The ads focus on security: how an organization can successfully control privilege for all of the organization’s identities to mitigate identity-related risk without slowing down the business, and how Centrify provides ...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, discussed how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP HANA...
"SAP had made a big transition into the cloud as we believe it has significant value for our customers, drives innovation and is easy to consume. When you look at the SAP portfolio, SAP HANA is the underlying platform and it powers all of our platforms and all of our analytics," explained Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce at SAP, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We help companies that are using a lot of Software as a Service. We help companies manage and gain visibility into what people are using inside the company and decide to secure them or use standards to lock down or to embrace the adoption of SaaS inside the company," explained Scott Kriz, Co-founder and CEO of Bitium, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Ar...
SAP is delivering break-through innovation combined with fantastic user experience powered by the market-leading in-memory technology, SAP HANA. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Thorsten Leiduck, VP ISVs & Digital Commerce, SAP, discussed how SAP and partners provide cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as well as real-time Big Data offerings that help companies of all sizes and industries run better. SAP launched an application challenge to award the most innovative SAP HANA and SAP HANA...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from ha...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, p...