Saturday, June 30, 2007

BOOK: Design for Trustworthy Software

Design for Trustworthy Software is a rather impressive tome that comprises a compendium of the latest and greatest methods, tools and techniques for system and software design applied to software. It covers Design for Six-Sigma (DFSS) techniques, TRIZ, Taguchi Methods, Quality Metrics, Poka Yoke, 5S, QFD, FMEA, and more.

I expect this book to become a standard reference and graduate-level software engineering text. It is so comprehensive and and yet modern/up-to-date in its coverage. It's a very dry read (and I'm not finished with it yet) and looks to be a comprehensive synthesis of what has been working best in industry for the last 25 years that has only recently (in the past 10 years) been getting some visibility in complex systems software of any significant scale. And it shows how to apply them to software.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

BOOK: OOAD 3e - updating the classic

April 2007 marked the release of theObject-Oriented Analysis & Design with Applications, 3rd edition by Grady Booch

For many, this book was the one that first turned them on to object-orientation as more than just a particular programming language or two, but as an overall way of thinking about how to analyze and design software programs. The book has many classic epiphanies that were precursors to things UML, RUP, patterns and agile development. Booch himself is practically a demi-god of modern software development, architecture and practice.

I guess I've moved on a bit since reading the first edition in the early nineties, because the third edition didn't have as much "zing" for me. And there are so many other good texts around now, that this one reads a bit dry and academic.

I'm actually more interested lately in the work that Booch is doing toward a Handbook of Software Architecture and in his blog.

Monday, June 18, 2007

BOOK: xUnit Test Patterns

xUnit Test Patterns: Refactoring Test Code, by Gerard Meszaros (Addison-Wesley Signature Series, May 2007) is nothing short of FANTASTIC!

As I'm reading through the book, I keep saying to myself "Yes!" and "Aha!" over and over again. This book is very appropros for me right now because I'm dealing with a team that has a legacy codebase and is just trying to develop automated tests and they don't yet have a lot of training or experience refactoring or in automating their own tests, or the xUnit-style tools, much less using all of them together.

This book is EXACTLY what the doctor ordered for my current situation. It covers the basics of test automation styles and frameworks using harnesses and drivers, data-driven as well as other styles and the challenges to be addressed, especially with test setup. It has comprehensive coverage of 68 patterns and an awesome website at which does a far better job of depicting them than I could on this blog.

If you're trying to get a small group of folks to learn how to do agile-style test-automation and refactoring, this is the book with all the patterns and insight you will want to convey to your team.

'Nuff said!

Monday, June 11, 2007

BOOK: Lean Software Strategies

I reviewed the book Lean Software Strategies for the June 2007 issue of the Agile Journal.

Lean Software Strategies seems to be one of the first books specifically about applying Lean principles and techniques to software development that is not written by the Poppendiecks. When the book first came out, I admit I was put off by several unfavorable reviews at When I later learned it won the 2007 Shingo prize for excellence in manufacturing research, and saw Lisa Crispin's review at StickyMinds, I decided to give it a second look. I'm glad I did!

Written by Lean experts from two backgrounds, one an academician/researcher and the other an industry practitioner, the style of the book is very different from that of the Poppendiecks. It takes a much more purist (even academic at times) application of Lean production to software development rather than landing squarely on "Agile" or roughly equating the two. I can understand why fans of the Poppendiecks' books, and perhaps those coming from a background that is more "Agile" than "Lean" didn't exactly "rave" about Middleton and Sutton's book. I can also understand the perspective of those coming from a background in Lean production who complain that the Poppendiecks' books are more about "Agile" than "Lean" and that Sutton and Middleton's book is, in their mind, the first book that is truly about applying Lean to Software. I think both camps are "right" in their own way, and that is why I think it is important to read this book in order to gain a broader and deeper perspective of what Lean is and how it applies to software development.

You can read the full review at

Monday, June 04, 2007

Upcoming Agile/Lean book reviews

I'm behind in a lot of reading and am finally catching up. As a result I be blogging a LOT about books this month. I have all of the following books (most of which are brand spanking new) that I'll be trying to blog about this summer:

I'm looking forward to writing more about them in the coming weeks!