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The Mikado Method

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  103 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Technical debt is best understood as the work remaining before job can be considered complete or, put more colorfully, the cost of kicking the can down the road. The Mikado Method is a process for surfacing the dependencies in a codebase, so that you can systematically eliminate technical debt and get things done.

It gets its name from a simple game commonly known as "pick-
Paperback, 245 pages
Published 2014 by Manning Publications
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Stefan Kanev
Mar 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this one.

It draws a metaphor between the process of longer refactoring and a Japanse stick game ("Mikado") and then makes a lot of good points about how you should approach it. I've done my share of larger refactorings and the two trickiest thing are (1) keeping everything organized and (2) maintaining a good strategy over time. There are a lot of little ideas that help a lot with those.

My favorite bit was "the graph" where they suggest incrementally building dependency graph of
Erika RS
Apr 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: software, owned, physical
Even though this was a short book, the core concept, the Mikado Method, was not substantial enough to fill it. There was a fair amount of repetition and much of the book was filled out with semi-related supplementary picture. I suspect this is one of those instances where something is really more fit for a series of blog posts but putting it in a book gives it legitimacy.

But I still give the book three stars because the Mikado method is a small but clever tool for modifying code that you don't k
Aug 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: learning
The book describes a method for gradually figuring out the scope of a software (re)design problem & safely morphing a codebase from state A to state B while keeping it in a working state. The mikado method itself is very simple and can be summarized in a few bullet points:

* Try to make the naive change
* List everything that breaks (compiler errors/failing tests) as prerequisites for this change
* Revert your changes
* Select one of the prerequisites as a new starting point
* Rinse & Repeat

The book
Jun 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: programming
Too long, too late :)
Frank-Mich L'Heureux
Dec 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
The Mikado Method itself is great, but having a full book dedicated to it makes it repetitive.
Gregor Riegler
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it
the mikado method is nice. but could fit in a much shorter article.
Joshua Crompton
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: computers, 2017
As other reviewers have said, this book would have been better as a long blog post, or a short blog series.
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An incredibly simple yet powerful method to make changes in your software. The Mikado method does not try to replace refactoring, it gives you a tool to navigate the many additional changes you need to do to introduce that complex change in your system that does not fit in easily. With its 4 steps (set a goal, experiment, visualize and undo) you can minimize the mental load of that complex change and focus on finding all the dependencies that you need to do before you can make your change.

The b
Mar 14, 2021 rated it did not like it
There is a point when you have enough experience as a software developer that this book becomes superfluous. Unfortunately I am at that point, I couldn't make it past Chapter 1.1.2. ...more
Sebastian Gebski
Feb 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
(It's a review of the MEAP - early access - version. However, Manning claims that this version has all the chapters and won't differ significantly from the final version.)

No, no, no & no. I totally didn't like it.

First, there's no *method* in Mikado Method. It's just basic common-sense:
* if you refactor the code you don't know well, keep it stable (working) all the time, so it won't get out of control
* refactor gradually, if you follow the blind path, revert the changes
* all your actions should
Matt Diephouse
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I thought The Mikado Method had some good things to say. It provides some solid advice for refactoring code bases in a stable, predictable, and easy way.

I think I've loosely followed this general method for a while, but not in a way that I could have articulated—it was more intuition than anything. So reading this was valuable just for the ability to articulate a method. I may not always go through the steps of writing everything down, but I think as a general method this is very sound.

There we
Christophe Addinquy
Jan 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: craftmanship
This is a slim book, but the content is even slimmer ! Mikado is a fine tecnic to address the refactoring of legacy code. You should try it, also because it's a really simple technic. But because it's simple, there is simple not enough material to fill-up a book. And therefore, the authors spent a lot of effort to fill the space with low value writing. It shouldn't have been a book, simply a very good paper.
Ma note de lecture en Français ici
Sep 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I hate giving negative reviews. And I may be wrong because I'm judging based MEAP pre-print, but this book is quite a disappointment. Nothing is really wrong content-wise, but it's very watered down. Feels like college essay when you MUST make it no less then 20 pages.
Seasoned software developer will find very little useful there to justify time spent reading. And I think that novice developer can do better by reading Working Effectively with Legacy Code by Feather and Continuous Delivery by Hum
Mar 25, 2014 rated it liked it
I looked the ideas presented in this book. the only real problem with the book it that it is about a 50 page topic stretched out to 200 by using a lot of tangentially related topics. The method they present is simple, which is good. However, I am not sure they had enough material for a book.

That said, I thought the appendix about technical debt was well done.

I would recommend the book for anyone who has or is taking over a "legacy codebase" (as defined by Michael Feathers).
Peter Sellars
Apr 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Whilst I like the visual graph and often common sense statements that make up the Mikado Method this book disappointed me. I think the technical debt appendices were some of the best content. Usage patterns of the method were nice but mainly common sense. I was just expecting something more I think....maybe the common sense in here is not as common as I think!!
David Miller
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
The best part of this book is the first two appendices, on technical debt and setting the stage for code improvements. Overall the authors have many words of wisdom on working with code and working with other programmers. Well worth the read.
Jul 13, 2014 rated it liked it
I don't know why Manning refuses to release a book that is only 75 pages.
This book doesn't deserve 250 pages!
And the authors have an attitude against dynamically typed languages.
Kaloyan Roussev
Oct 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: programming
A formalized method of the thought process while solving problems and refactoring. A couple of useful takeaways.
Victor Rodríguez
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Too much words. Is kind of repetitive but worth reading to know the Mikado method.
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Interesting approach, however hard to say more until further tests in practice.
Andrea Angella
rated it really liked it
Aug 14, 2020
Oleg Prozorov
rated it liked it
Oct 15, 2016
Ben Toews
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
The Kindle version full of typos to the extent that it was very distracting.
Lance Newman
rated it really liked it
Dec 26, 2014
Vu Nguyen
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Feb 28, 2016
rated it it was amazing
Nov 04, 2015
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Aug 16, 2020
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Dan Carp
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Feb 09, 2015
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