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Outside-in Software Development: A Practical Approach to Building Successful Stakeholder-based Products, 1/e 1st Edition

7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0131575516
ISBN-10: 0131575511
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"Outside-in thinking complements any approach your teams may be taking to the actual implementation of software, but it changes how you measure success. A successful outside-in team does a lot of learning and not much speculation."

—Tom Poppendieck

Build Software That Delivers Maximum Business Value to Every Key Stakeholder

Imagine your ideal development project. It will deliver exactly what your clients need. It will achieve broad, rapid, enthusiastic adoption. And it will be designed and built by a productive, high-morale team of expert software professionals. Using this book's breakthrough "outside-in" approach to software development, your next project can be that ideal project.

InOutside-in Software Development, two of IBM's most respected software leaders, Carl Kessler and John Sweitzer, show you how to identify the stakeholders who'll determine your project's real value, shape every decision around their real needs, and deliver software that achieves broad, rapid, enthusiastic adoption.

The authors present an end-to-end framework and practical implementation techniques any development team can quickly benefit from, regardless of project type or scope. Using their proven approach, you can improve the effectiveness of every client conversation, define priorities with greater visibility and clarity, and make sure all your code delivers maximum business value.

Coverage includes

  • Understanding your stakeholders and the organizational and business context they operate in
  • Clarifying the short- and long-term stakeholder goals your project will satisfy
  • More effectively mapping project expectations to outcomes
  • Building more "consumable" software: systems that are easier to deploy, use, and support
  • Continuously enhancing alignment with stakeholder goals
  • Helping stakeholders manage ongoing change long after you've delivered your product
  • Mastering the leadership techniques needed to drive outside-in development

About the Author

Carl Kessler is vice president of worldwide development with the IBM Software Group. He has led large software development organizations at IBM for more than a decade, primarily in the enterprise content management, systems management, security, and networking arenas. Prior to his product development assignments, Carl was with IBM Research where his roles included director of software technology and chief information officer. Carl is a senior member of the IEEE and holds several patents.

John Sweitzer is an IBM Distinguished Engineer and a member of the IBM Academy of Technology with more than twenty-six years of experience developing architectures for large complex software systems. He currently leads the IBM Software Group's outside-in design initiative, a subset of outside-in development that addresses design practices that impact the consumability and business relevance of integrated software products. Previously John was the chief architect for the IBM Autonomic Computing initiative, and prior to that, chief architect for the Tivoli systems management brand. John was a founding member of the DMTF standards committee for the Common Information Model, authored a book about that model, has several external publications, and holds numerous patents.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: IBM Press; 1 edition (October 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0131575511
  • ISBN-13: 978-0131575516
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #911,228 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Rivera on October 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
We who develop software are told often that we should build software that "delights" customers. Trouble is, precisely how one is supposed to do this is too often left to conscientiousness and integrity alone, without clear guidance as to how one might be most effective. In the Agile community, which in many ways represents the future of software engineering, we are told that the "on-site" customer is the way to go. Trouble is, in practice, it's often impossible or at least unrealistic to get a customer to engage at this level of commitment, and worse, they may not represent the community that cares about our software very well. Here at last is a book that gives us a fighting chance to understand how to delight the people who buy our software.

First, Outside-in Software development expresses the simple but profound idea that stakeholders should be thought of as four essential constituencies: as principals (people who buy software), end users, partners (business partners and others), and insiders. These categories force us to think about far more than end users, as important as they are. What if, for example, we are focusing solely on end users, without really considering what it is that the people who buy our software are hoping to accomplish?

Second, too much of the literature in the software engineering field talks about simple teams of ten building new software for emerging markets, software that is shipped to clients installing the software for the first time. The reality is usually significantly more complex. The chapter on organizational context provides a holistic perspective of the groups we sell our software to -- with a far greater reality reflected than we are accustomed to hearing about.

Overall then, Outside-in Software Development is a clear, pragmatic discussion about a tremendously difficult concept: getting from requirements to code in a way that reflects all of the various stakeholders of our software.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Don V on June 15, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm not a developer (though I used to be), and now am on the dark side (marketing/product management). The concepts this book endorse, namely to focus on stakeholders and their needs, is exactly what needs to be done for new products. Unfortunately, I felt as though this book was written for new developers with little real world experience and I found myself looking for something new and useful. It didn't happen. If you really want to understand how to develop products by focusing on stakeholder goals, then try this one: User Stories Applied by Mike Cohen.

It is written for Agile Software development, but the concepts can be applied to any product and focuses you on WHAT GOALS DO USERS REALLY HAVE WHEN USING YOUR PRODUCT. If you understand this concept, you will be most effective at developing products.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scott A. Will on November 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
First, by way of full disclosure, I have worked for Carl Kessler in the past. What this means, however, is that I can state that the material contained in this book is not speculative, or just simply "theory," but it embodies the way in which Carl has very effectively run large development organizations in developing enterprise level software that truly delights customers, and how John has been instrumental in those efforts.

The other reviewers of this book have already discussed one of the book's key notions, that of obtaining "stakeholder" perspectives as part of the process of designing software -- and it's an important notion that is explored thoroughly in the book. I can recommend the book just based on this one item alone.

However, there are three other key notions that the book addresses which, I believe, set it apart from other software development books. The first is the whole idea of "Consumability." If you've not heard of Consumability, you really need to learn more about it. It takes the concept of understanding a customer's perspective to a new level.

The second key point is how one defines the "success" of a project. For most in the software industry, it means either having shipped a product on schedule or having made the projected revenues (or, perhaps, both). As important as those "successes" are, what "Outside-in Software Development" encourages is that success also be defined in terms of the "success" of the customers of the product -- are they receiving the value promised by the product? If not, then perhaps the product's other "successes" will be short-lived...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Befuddled by a myriad of software development methodologies, and the incessant arguing between the proponents of these? Kessler and Sweitzer take a slightly different tack. They build their approach around stakeholders. By which they mean 4 groups. End users (=customers, of course). Principals (=executives in your customer companies). Partners. Insiders (=people in your company).

Of these, the partners are perhaps the least significant. They are typically the sysadmins at the customer locations, who have to install and maintain your product. The book doesn't seem to come out and say this directly. But ideally, there should be little or no involvement by partners. For you to actively design your product to minimise the partner interaction is (in general) desirable from your standpoint and even from their's. If only because a typical sysadmin has too much already on her hands, with other products and hardware that demand more attention.

Of course, a given product might necessitate sysadmin involvement. And in this case, you certainly should consult with partners. But just as you should strive for Zero Defects in your team's code, so too, perhaps, should you aspire for minimal maintenance. In the logical limit, that locks out partners. Which is fundamentally different from the other stakeholders.

The book goes on to describe how you should involve the stakeholders. In building use cases, for example. The mechanics of how one does that are finer grained details, left to books like Writing Effective Use Cases.

Overall, the book's methodology is fairly lightweight. Presented as compatible with approaches like Rational Unified Process, waterfall, or various agile implementations. It is certainly not like trying the heavyweight CMMI.
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