Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Mihai Corbuleac, David Bermingham

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Microsoft Cloud, IoT User Interface, Agile Computing

Microservices Expo: 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.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
"We work in the area of Big Data analytics and Big Data analytics is a very crowded space - you have Hadoop, ETL, warehousing, visualization and there's a lot of effort trying to get these tools to talk to each other," explained Mukund Deshpande, head of the Analytics practice at Accelerite, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...
UAS, drones or unmanned aircraft, no matter what you call them — this was their week. Our news stream was flooded with updates on the newly announced rules and regulations for commercial UAS from the FAA. So, naturally we have dedicated this week’s top news round up to highlight some of our favorite UAS stories.
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
Presidio has received the 2015 EMC Partner Services Quality Award from EMC Corporation for achieving outstanding service excellence and customer satisfaction as measured by the EMC Partner Services Quality (PSQ) program. Presidio was also honored as the 2015 EMC Americas Marketing Excellence Partner of the Year and 2015 Mid-Market East Partner of the Year. The EMC PSQ program is a project-specific survey program designed for partners with Service Partner designations to solicit customer feedbac...
Apixio Inc. has raised $19.3 million in Series D venture capital funding led by SSM Partners with participation from First Analysis, Bain Capital Ventures and Apixio’s largest angel investor. Apixio will dedicate the proceeds toward advancing and scaling products powered by its cognitive computing platform, further enabling insights for optimal patient care. The Series D funding comes as Apixio experiences strong momentum and increasing demand for its HCC Profiler solution, which mines unstruc...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...