A Practical Approach to Large-Scale Agile Development: How HP Transformed LaserJet FutureSmart Firmware

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Overview

Today, even the largest development organizations are turning to agile methodologies, seeking major productivity and quality improvements. However, large-scale agile development is difficult, and publicly available case studies have been scarce. Now, three agile pioneers at Hewlett-Packard present a candid, start-to-finish insider’s look at how they’ve succeeded with agile in one of the company’s most mission-critical software environments: firmware for HP LaserJet printers.

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A Practical Approach to Large-Scale Agile Development: How HP Transformed LaserJet FutureSmart Firmware

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Overview

Today, even the largest development organizations are turning to agile methodologies, seeking major productivity and quality improvements. However, large-scale agile development is difficult, and publicly available case studies have been scarce. Now, three agile pioneers at Hewlett-Packard present a candid, start-to-finish insider’s look at how they’ve succeeded with agile in one of the company’s most mission-critical software environments: firmware for HP LaserJet printers.

This book tells the story of an extraordinary experiment and journey. Could agile principles be applied to re-architect an enormous legacy code base? Could agile enable both timely delivery and ongoing innovation? Could it really be applied to 400+ developers distributed across four states, three continents, and four business units? Could it go beyond delivering incremental gains, to meet the stretch goal of 10x developer productivity improvements?

It could, and it did—but getting there was not easy.

Writing for both managers and technologists, the authors candidly discuss both their successes and failures, presenting actionable lessons for other development organizations, as well as approaches that have proven themselves repeatedly in HP’s challenging environment. They not only illuminate the potential benefits of agile in large-scale development, they also systematically show how these benefits can actually be achieved.

Coverage includes:
• Tightly linking agile methods and enterprise architecture with business objectives
• Focusing agile practices on your worst development pain points to get the most bang for your buck
• Abandoning classic agile methods that don’t work at the largest scale
• Employing agile methods to establish a new architecture
• Using metrics as a “conversation starter” around agile process improvements
• Leveraging continuous integration and quality systems to reduce costs, accelerate schedules, and automate the delivery pipeline
• Taming the planning beast with “light-touch” agile planning and lightweight long-range forecasting
• Implementing effective project management and ensuring accountability in large agile projects
• Managing tradeoffs associated with key decisions about organizational structure
• Overcoming U.S./India cultural differences that can complicate offshore development
• Selecting tools to support quantum leaps in productivity in your organization
• Using change management disciplines to support greater enterprise agility

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321821720
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 11/29/2012
  • Series: Agile Software Development Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 327,874
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet 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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Table of Contents

Foreword by Jim Highsmith, ThoughtWorks xiii
Preface xv

Chapter 1 Agile Principles versus Practices 1
The Principles of the Agile Manifesto 2
Our Take on Agile/Lean Principles 3
A Quick Tutorial: Agile versus Waterfall 6
Summary 8
Chapter 2 Tuning Agile to Your Business Objectives 9
Background: HP FutureSmart Firmware Case Study 10
Cost and Cycle-Time Drivers Prior to HP FutureSmart Firmware 11
Value Proposition of Re-Architecting the HP FutureSmart Firmware and Processes 13
Establish Development Objectives from the Business Analysis 15
Summary 16
Chapter 3 Aligning Architecture with Business Objectives 17
Challenges with Existing Architecture 18
Architecting for the Business: Dynamic Variability and Forward Compatibility 19
Keeping an Architecture Current and Sustainable 22
Summary 25
Chapter 4 How to Establish a New Architecture Using Agile Concepts 27
Re-Architecting Iteratively 28
Making Progress 28
The Thin-Slice Model 30
Creating Cultural Shifts Through Architectural Demos 31
Summary 33
Chapter 5 The Real Secret to Success in Large-Scale Agile 35
Change for People’s Sake 36
Metrics Are a Conversation Starter 38
Iterative Model of Agile Management 39
Mini-Milestone Objectives 40
Cascading Objectives to Track Progress 41
Conversations 42
Learning 43
Agile Adjustments 44
Summary 44
Chapter 6 Continuous Integration and Quality Systems 45
Reducing Build Resources and Build Time: Continuous Integration 46
Achieving High Quality with CI: Automated Multilevel Testing 55
L0 Testing 57
L1 Testing 58
L2 Testing 58
L3 Testing 59
L4 Testing 60
Continuous Improvement of the Deployment Pipeline 60
Productivity Results of Our Automated Delivery Pipeline 61
Special Considerations for Enterprise Software Systems 63
Summary 65
Chapter 7 Taming the Planning Beast 67
Predict by Ballparking and Trend Watching 69
Ballpark Prediction: R&D Early Response to High-Level Initiatives 70
Trend Watching: Quick Response to All Feature Requestors (Where They’re Likely to Land) 70
Clear Prioritization 73
Just-in-Time User Story Definition 76
Invest in System Engineering 77
Put Marketing in Charge of a Unified 1-N List 80
Involve the Technology Architects 81
Use Project Managers as “Feature Leads” 81
Reuse Requirements and Test Tags for Scalability 82
Commit by Delivering, Not by Estimating 83
Convincing the Business: Agile Planning Is Okay 86
Summary 88
Chapter 8 Unique Challenges of Estimating Large Innovations 91
Waterfall Approach and Challenges 92
Agile Approach 92
Challenging Situations with the Agile Approach: Large Architectural Efforts 95
Change Management and Integrating with the Business 98
Summary 100
Chapter 9 Our Take on Project Management for Large-Scale Agile 101
Oversight and Priority: Program Managers 102
Accountability: Section Managers 103
Robustness and Scalability: Architects 104
Putting It All Together 104
Summary 105
Chapter 10 Organizational Approach: Managing to Disadvantages 107
Test Ownership Organization 108
Component versus Feature Organization 111
Traditionally Managed Project Teams versus Self-Managed Scrum Teams 114
Summary 116
Chapter 11 Effective Agile Development across U.S. and Indian Cultures 117
Lesson 1: Permission to Ask 118
Lesson 2: Ensure Time to Explore 119
Lesson 3: Have Small Wins First 119
Lesson 4: Exploit the Time Difference 120
Lesson 5: Take Time to Train–Always 121
Lesson 6: Remember a Team Is about People 121
Organizing for the Highest Leverage of Offshore Teams 122
Summary 125
Chapter 12 The Right Tools: Quantum Leaps in Productivity 127
Common Development Environment 128
Simulation and Emulation Environment for Automated Testing 129
Test Architecture for Scalability: Common Test Framework (CTF) 131
The Most Important Part of Test Automation: Virtual Machine Provisioning System (VMPS) 133
Real-Time Metrics and Tracking 136
Integrated Toolset 137
Cool Toys Worth Investing In 138
Summary 139
Chapter 13 Real-World Agile Results: HP FutureSmart Firmware 141
Resources Moved from Overhead to Innovation 142
R&D and Developer Productivity 144
Improvement in Current Product Support 146
Summary 147
Chapter 14 Change Management in Moving Toward Enterprise Agility 149
Impacts on Other R&D Groups and System Qualification 150
Impacts on Product Program Teams 151
Impacts on Non-R&D Product Generation Activities/Teams 154
Where to Draw Boundaries with Coordinating Organizational Agility 155
Change Management of the HP FutureSmart Firmware Transformation 156
Summary 158
Chapter 15 Differences in Our Perspective on Scaling Agile 159
A Difference in Perspective 160
Focusing on Agility Rather Than Team Operations 161
Changing the Deployment Pipeline 162
Embracing the Uncertainty of Agile 163
Enterprisewide Tracking and Incremental Improvements 164
Summary 164
Chapter 16 Taking the First Step 167
Figuring Out First Steps 168
What’s Next for FutureSmart? 169
Determining Your First Steps 171
Summary 172
Appendix A Twelve Principles of Agile Software 173
Bibliography 175
Index 177
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