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November 01 , 2009

A Practical Approach to Large-Scale Agile Development

How HP Transformed LaserJet FutureSmart Firmware


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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