Improving Organizations - Many readings, videos for resources

March 30, 2021    Process DevOps Agile Improving Organizations

Many readings, videos and thoughts for resources to Improve Organizations

I’ve read many books and articles and watched videos over the last 14 years that informed and shaped my thinking. I’ve put these into the order that I came across them and added some comments.

Note: I moved this section out of my 2020 article “Time is valuable, Project to Product, reducing waste and Software Development Process

Agile and XP Programming

Thank you to my University of Minnesota, Morris professors for teaching this approach and unit testing!

Continuous Delivery - Jez Humble

An earlier book, before DevOps and deploying more often was a normal thing, on setting up tools to integrate code continuously. He also showed how you can continuously deliver changes to test and production.

Software Gardening articles on DNC - Craig Berntson - 2014

Building software is not like building physical buildings, it’s like gardening.

I read this in the DNC magazines (I miss getting the MSDN magazine mailed to me… I can’t remember if DNC was in paper for awhile now.)

Culture Videos from Spotify

These videos from 2017, continued to open my eyes to what a development culture and process could be. Feature Teams, feature flags and releasing on a normal schedule. These are still well worth the time to watch.

Spotify Engineering Culture part 1 Agile Enterprise Transition with Scrum and Kanban 1

Spotify Engineering Culture part 2

The Phoenix Project - Gene Kim

Gene Kim shares a story of a company going from bad culture, releases going wrong and payroll not working. The “guru” or “Yoda” shows up and shares the 4 types of work and three ways. A lot is focused on lean manufacturing, identifying the constraints and making work visible.

Omnitech’s book study write up

DevOps Handbook - Gene Kim

After I read the Phoenix Project, I wondered, “how can we actually do this?”. The DevOps Handbook provided learnings from others and topics to dig into.

Accelerate - Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, Gene Kim

The research and statistics show that the software systems we build and how we do them affect employees lives (measured by eNPS). There are direct correlations to higher performing teams and automated testing, continuous integration and continuous delivery.

Lean Startup - Eric Ries

Experiment, measure and pivot. Learn from Lean Manufacturing. Define your users with customer archetypes and use that for a guide.

Clean Architecture - Bob Martin

Architecture should allow easier changes and adapting. take into account cohesion and coupling. The business rules should be a the core. As developers we should fight for time to fix technical debt and improve architecture. Architecture isn’t something that can be all planned up front (building software is not the same as construction) and evolves based on trade-offs. John and I gave a presentation at SD Code Camp and Omnitech’s book study write up.

Working with Legacy Code - Michael C. Feathers

Omnitech’s book study write up

The Unicorn Project - Gene Kim

Gene Kim shares a newer story, closely following the heroine Maxine as she navigates getting a build to run to joining the “rebellion” to actually create value for the company. Companies can win in the marketplace and create value when the focus on creating value instead of cutting costs.

Mr. Kim introduces “The Five Ideals” as guiding principles:

  • Locality and Simplicity
  • Focus, Flow, and Joy
  • Improvement of Daily Work
  • Psychological Safety
  • Customer Focus

Omnitech’s book study write up

Art of Value - Mark Schwartz

This was a free book on Kindle for awhile. He had some great insights and ideas. I’ve been meaning to write a full article about it, but this section will have to suffice.

Did you know that no one really has a handle on what “value” is for the business? We expect product owners to know, but even they are guessing. Often those we are building the software for don’t completely know what they need either. It’s also hard to measure it before we start. There are many metrics that people use, but none cover everything.

Value is different for profit, non-profits and government. Even bureaucracy rules can have value.

How do we measure Value?

We need to spend time and experiment to learn what value is for our businesses. Value could be features, technical debt reduction, learning, business does not always mean customers, agility.

He promotes experimenting, feature teams, Lean Startup ideas, Agile, DevOps, incremental learning and adding business people to tech or tech to business (think Google/Facebook/Microsoft that have CEOs that are also engineers).

Weekly Dev Tips podcast - Steve Smith aka @Ardalis

This podcast has been very helpful for development tips, to approaching problems and process. Start at the beginning and listen through.

Domain Driven Development (DDD) - Eric Evans

Ok, I haven’t gotten very far in this book. Ubiquitous language (same terminology in code as the business) and Bounded contexts stuck in my mind. We can use ideas from this book to mimic real life in code and discover how things should work. We need to work directly with people in the business to learn together.

At the end of Domain Driven Design: The Good Parts - Jimmy Bogard, he says to skip the DDD book (or focus on Bounded contexts) and get the Building Microservices by Sam Newman.

Idealcast - Gene Kim podcast

Gene Kim has a very interesting and insightful podcast talking to many different people, replying presentations while adding comments. I first heard about Project to Product in Episode 2

See my resources page for more links.



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