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A Practical Approach to Large-Scale Agile Development: How HP Transformed LaserJet FutureSmart Firmware (Agile Software Development Series) 1st Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0321821720
ISBN-10: 0321821726
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gary Gruver is formerly the Director of Engineering for HP’s LaserJet Core Firmware Lab, and he worked at HP for 22 years. He is currently VP of Release, QA, and Operations at macys.com. Any major initiative needs a true business sponsor—someone who has truly caught the vision of agile, and who can make the business and financial decisions necessary to get huge breakthroughs to happen. Gary has also been able to bring a “manage to metrics” approach that rallies everyone to common measurable objectives without requiring lots of meeting and coordination overhead. Of course, his most critical role is buying lunch during particularly busy sprints for anyone working weekends to finish off key features. His favorite hobbies are cycling and skiing with family (he’s married with two daughters).

Mike Young is the program manager directing day-to-day efforts across our many distributed teams at HP’s LaserJet Core Firmware Lab. Mike has been involved in development of HP LaserJet Printers for 18 years, and he previously designed satellite control systems for Hughes Aircraft Company. He also is one of the strongest advocates of agile approaches and helped get the organization started down this path before anyone really knew we were doing agile. His hobbies are family (he’s married, with two daughters and two sons) and playing racquetball. In agile, we’ve found that a program manager should spend most of his/her time watching the metrics and quietly coordinating behind-the-scenes to cater to the bottleneck. In our sprint checkpoints, we tend to minimize slideware and maximize problem solving and demos of new user stories.

Pat Fulghum is architect of the HP LaserJet FutureSmart firmware and its development team’s agile toolset. Pat’s been at HP for 24 years. He found out during the past few years that his favorite escape is scuba diving in Maui with his family (he is married and has a son and a daughter). A large-scale agile initiative requires a central architect who can help maintain architectural integrity amid many pressures to do otherwise (which keeps the system enabled for the future) and who has the vision for making sure the architecture supports both firmware development and qualification. Pat still loves to get in and dig deep to solve vexing technical challenges. He also loves to find developer productivity improvements (build time, triage time) and has been the passion behind our “10x productivity improvement” vision.


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Product Details

  • Series: Agile Software Development Series
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (November 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321821726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321821720
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #283,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By T Anderson VINE VOICE on January 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback
This is a story written by the people (director of engineering, program manager, and architect) who were the part of the team who applied agile principles on a large scale development. A story about the ongoing innovation and delivery of a multimillion dollar business.

Before they started their environment was fast changing, around 400 people distributed around the world, diversified culture (four states, three continents), firmware for MFP devices (multiple product support, millions lines of code), and architecture changes. The firmware development cost drivers were 95% and just 5% adding innovation:
- 10% of staffing was for "build bosses"
- 20% of resources were spent doing detailed planning for future feature
- 25% of resources were consumed porting the existing codebase and features from one product to another
- 15% of development costs were for manual test execution
- 25% of development resources were deployed supporting existing products

After more than 3 years long journey, organization's culture changes, they reached point of 40% for innovations.

How they did it? They identified their current business realities and strategic objectives: cost and cycle-time drivers (biggest pain points) and value proposition. They applied agile and lean core principles and practices in steps, didn't follow all of them blindly and at the end they've come up with their own top six agile/lean principles:
1. Reduce overhead and waste (keep it simple).
2. Don't overfill your plate (limited WIP - Work in Process)
3. Cater to the bottleneck.
4. Integrate early and often.
5. Planning rhythm.
6. Practitioners should define agile/lean practices.
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Format: Paperback
I am a software project management professional involved in implementing Agile practices into organizations. I enjoyed this book a lot, and was able to take away a good deal of practices and tips I can implement immediately. The book is written in an easy, conversational tone, and it feels like sitting down with the authors over a beer discussing Agile, what works and doesn't work for their company.

There are a number of books in the market that will give you the theory of Agile and Scrum, and will present to you the methods that strictly adhere to the "pure" version of the particular methodology (the Schwaber books for example). While those treatises have its place, I often wished there were more books on implementing Agile methods in large, complex, and high performing organizations. This book fills that void. The authors unabashedly declare which methods are dropped, and which are modified to fit HP's culture and way of working. I find that information is just as valuable as recounting the textbook elements.

For me, one of the pearls of wisdom is in Chapter 7 titled "Convincing the Business: Agile Planning is Okay" (p. 86). In my experience, trying to convince business partners that moving away from the rigid schedules of waterfall makes good sense is often one of IT's biggest battles in adopting Agile techniques. I will be reusing what was set forth by the authors in my practice.

It's clear that Guver, Young, and Fulghun have fought hard to drive their departments and management chain within HP to bring in Agile. Their book is chock full of examples and war stories on that journey. If the reader is looking for some real world illustrations of getting Agile to work, pick up this book.
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