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Interested in DevOps? Try XDE with XP practices

Culture, movement or practice whatever you call it, DevOps is beautiful. It ensures the collaboration and communication of software professionals who usually doesn’t think alike in most organisations – the Development team and the Operations team. DevOps practices advocates automation of the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes to align these two. Scalability, security and organised chaos promotes a distributed decision making culture, exactly what we need for being agile.

So which framework best suits us, while adopting this DevOps culture? In my biased opinion I feel it’s eXtreme Programming (XP). It’s brilliant practices/ideas are often borrowed by other frameworks including the concept of “User Stories”. Since most frameworks doesn’t specify these practices, most professionals include XP principles (e.g. TDD, pair programming) anyway. Reason why XP, as a methodology, is underrated and overshadowed by other popular frameworks quite heavily.

Xtreme Decoupled Engineering (XDE) framework compliments XP, by adding the concept of decoupled processes and making sure DevOps adoption doesn’t stay just a great idea but is also implemented to save the world 😉

Individuals and interactions OVER processes and tools

“Over” is often read as “Not” by a majority of Agile adopters, who finally starts to realise why agility is far better than many traditional techniques. Is it their mistake? Of course not. Agile Manifesto is quite philosophical and the inclusion of “over” just assumes that the reader won’t translate it to suit their needs. It’s either this or that, not both. If both then to what extent? No one have a definite answer, as it was meant to help evolution which is the beauty of the agile manifesto. But it does scare the organisation trying to transition as not all organisations are consultancies. Not everyone is working for a “client”. Sometimes stability is more important to measure few aspects of the transition. This stability and standardisation of processes is necessary to some extent, as long as it’s not blocking the product development.

No doubt, Individuals and Interactions are important, but it can’t work on it’s own without processes and practices to support the outcome. We need a basic level of standardised processes and practices to accompany this vision of adopting devops to become agile. In fact, most frameworks have vague undocumented processes which are not standardised for all teams. It is extremely unsettling for organisations who are paranoid to begin with. If documented, they are extremely ambiguous, hence often misinterpreted (ref. 1, 2, 3).

XDE complimenting XP – Closing the gaps

I have never seen XP work within immature teams because it needs a sense of responsibility and the urge to know WHY, which only comes from experience. If we ask an immature team to follow XP, they usually try Scrum instead and include TDD and pair programming to call it XP. Mostly because Scrum has a guide which they can refer back to. But there are some subtle differences between XP and Scrum, as documented by Mike Cohn.

When we realise most frameworks are ambiguous about implementing set processes, we often fill in the gaps to support the agile principles ourselves. But during this we may end up in a process which can do more harm than good. By leaving a gap we are letting our mind wander. Most professionals look for the processes first and then learn the principles behind it. Some never care to learn the principles at all, as they assume implementing a framework takes care of everything.

This blind faith and incomplete knowledge promotes half baked assumption of knowing what works and what doesn’t. First we should go by book and then we should focus on mastering it or even bending the rules. XDE tries to close these gaps by formalising the Definition of Done and support to DevOps mindset while advocating the best practices from XP.

Companies trying to adopt DevOps needs a framework which have a set of processes for all teams; is predictable yet highly customisable.

XDE provides that skeleton by defining the start and end of the development lifecycle within the bubble. “Done” for a product increment is defined to include End user feedback – Continuous Delivery plus at least some feedback from users before starting the next work item. It creates a transparent environment of keeping the road map visible at all time by focusing on the value to the end user.

To assure that the Bubble doesn’t start working on the next item in the backlog, XDE introduces One Rule (1R) which creates a process of working on one at a time and only focus on outcome not output.

One Rule (1R) makes sure we are focused on Outcome not Output.

Decouple Processes and Succeed

As we know XDE doesn’t proposes any practices on how the product is built but it recommends XP principles. XP principles with it’s test first approach suits the best but needs a robust stabilising skeleton which XDE provides – hence compliments each other. While the 1R team members work following the One Rule, if a team member is free doing nothing (as they are not allowed to work on anything else) they have no choice but to focus on the ongoing work.

  • “Are you free? Great, get the chair and let’s pair for the rest of the day.”
  • “Yoda is off sick today and we need to review the unit tests before he can start implementing the code tomorrow. Can you do it while you wait?”

Therefore, XDE helps organisation to adopt devops mindset smoothly with the least friction possible and XP assures that the quality of the delivery is spot on and ready for feedback. Try XDE along with XP to initiate the DevOps mindset and help your organisation is agile transformation. Focus on outcome not output.

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