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Accelerate: Building and Scaling High-Performing Technology Organizations

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4.15  ·  Rating details ·  757 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Does technology actually matter? And how can we apply technology to drive business value? For years, we've been told that the performance of software delivery teams doesn't matter--that it can't provide a competitive advantage to our companies. Through four years of groundbreaking research, Dr. Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim set out to find a way to measure soft ...more
Paperback, 257 pages
Published March 7th 2018 by It Revolution Press
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Sandro Mancuso
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a good book. It’s great to have actual data to validate our assumptions or disprove certain pre-conceived ideas.

For people who are immersed in the Agile and Software Craftsmanship worlds and are already sold on the benefits of continuous delivery, this book won’t say anything they don’t already know or experienced but will certainly give them more ammunition (data) to make their case.
Kirill
May 25, 2018 rated it liked it
The first part of the book - with the results of survey-based research - is very nice. Although it is almost common practice nowadays to pursue such technical practices like continuous delivery, or organisational - like generative culture, it is always nice to see scientific correct proof for that.

Second part is devoted to the general guidance on how to perform statistically correct surveys. Not sure why it is included here, since it is a completely different topic, that should rather be covered
...more
Thomas
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although I'm not in a position to judge this well and I have a bias towards the content of the book, the research seems solid enough to recommend this book to everyone interested in IT!

On personal experience I would also recommend to think about implementing the capabilities described in the book.

My only small concern (maybe someone with more background in scientific research will have more concerns?) about the science is about the data collection and sample groups. I wonder if by having a group
...more
Bernd Schiffer
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
More a research report than a book - and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Not only was I impressed by the research outcome, but by the way the research was conducted as well. Both, outcome and process, are described in the book.
Kristjan
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Well written, full of a study supported arguments. Recommended read.
AJ Bourg
Oct 07, 2018 rated it liked it
The second section is an exhaustive (at least, it was exhausting to read) treatise on how to conduct statistically significant surveys. I nearly rated this book as two stars because of this section. It’s clear the authors are extremely sensitive to questions about the legitimacy of their findings because they spend so much time explaining surveys in general. Personally I found it boring and would have found the rest of the book more compelling if they had left this section as a short appendix.
Mike Gunderloy
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book tries to take a rigorous, data-driven approach to teasing out the impact of DevOps practices on organizational productivity. The authors come to conclusions like "lean product development causes less burnout" and offer their survey-based research as evidence for their conclusions.

I desperately *want* to believe this book, because their conclusions accord with my own prejudices: that lean, agile, and transformational practices contribute to organizational improvement. Unfortunately, I j
...more
Ivan Zarea
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
On the surface, it seems to be an easy-to-read book that advocates lean practices and backs them up with data. Unfortunately, it doesn't deliver in implementation. It's an amalgamation of the excellent, yet difficult to read Lean Enterprise: How High Performance Organizations Innovate at Scale or any of Gene Kim's keynotes from the DevOps Enterprise Summit.

Don't get me wrong, there are good things in this book. This is a great book to give to a non-tech exec who wants to be in the loop with the
...more
Iaroslav German
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very good read to understand how in reality high performing are different to average and low performing organizations in terms of IT delivery. Good angle on measuring the right data and insights from what we believe are the performance metrics. I tend to agree to mostly all aspects of depicted data and the reasoning on top. True story, business is pushing to deliver faster, more often, and only organizations with good investment into automation, high speed CI/CD, trunk based development etc. can ...more
Koen Wellens
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2018
The foreword, written by Martin Fowler, explains the concern I’ve had about many articles over the last years. People tell us what they’ve learnt but not how they’ve learnt it. See it as a form of deliberate partial transparency. This book tries to provide a more open form of the research the authors have provided over the past years.

Read the full review at my blog.
heidi
Oct 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is an excellent summation of the overall findings of the State of DevOps reports and what the implications are for organizations trying to persuade themselves into DevOps transformation.

When I was reading it, I realized that it was everything you would learn if you went to a couple dozen DevOps days and listened to all the transformation stories, and it can be summarized as:

Go faster, be safer.

This is such a counterintuitive thing to say, but I have an analogy for you: When you are try
...more
Vivify M
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was clear, concise, and packed with value.
Being someone who is more interested in product management than technology, I wasn’t expecting to get as much from this book as I did. I appreciated the academic rigor with which this book was presented. The research findings were clearly described as were the methodologies. And both contained value for me.
Notable takeaways include:
• Culture impacts on performance in a measurable way.
• Continuous delivery has a significant impact on happin
...more
Miguel Alho
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: devops
This book is awesome! It's a great write up on the research done by the team and with very clear conclusions and insights into what distinguishes high and low performing teams and orgs. I feel this can be a good guide for anyone in an organizational transformation. The capabilities listed for high performers are clear, actionable and trackable.

For someone like me, who sometimes has to justify DevOps in debates, I now have a good and reliable (single) source backed by data i can use.

This is a mu
...more
Michelle Tran
Sep 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: computers, business
Excellent overview of the operations of high performing development teams. As mentioned by several reviewers, half of the book is about the methodology behind the studies. I found that section interesting, but I can see how people might be turned off from that (especially if you're only interested in the results and/or do not have a statistics or social science background).
Bhushan Nagaraj
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A MUST READ. If you are organisations practicing Agile or DevOps, or in organisations involved in any sort of transformation or new ways of working, or in a position influence change, please pick-up a copy of this book.

If your manager is asking you for unwanted reports, please gift them a copy of this book after you've finished reading it yourself.

If your team is struggling to see the advantages of Continuous Integration and Deployment, please have a read through of this book.
Billie
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great reference guide for what does and doesn't work, and what does and doesn't have a good scientific basis. A bit dry, but if you're willing to put the effort in you're going to get some great information to direct your processes.

Edit: I've found myself recommending this to a few other people and using it as a reference a number of times, so I am bumping my rating to 5 stars.
Yuriy Zubarev
This is not a book about Lean Software and DevOps. This is a book about a research on effects about Lean Software and DevOps. I wish the title and description clearly reflected that, and this is my main reason for giving it three stars. And as far as the research goes, it came from a self-selected audience thus introducing the selection bias right from the start. Even if I agree with lots of practices in Lean and DevOps, I wanted to be challenged in my views and gain new insights, instead, there ...more
Sebastian Gebski
Apr 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Ergh, no.

This book is an attempt to make an extract out of "Lean Enterprise" & prove it using the "scientific" data from annual DevOps Report (that's being assembled by J. Humble & some associates for few years already) - sadly I can't figure out what's the point ... :

1. content itself is repetitive beyond all recognition - it's like re-discovering Scrum & going through it bit-by-bit. This was already described zillion of times, in a far more imaginative way.
2. this is mainstream alr
...more
Nikita Zhuk
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Accelerate is a book which is based on a research of:
- 23 000 survey responses
- over 2 000 organizations, including startups, large enterprises, it/software and regulated industries
- projects including greenfields and legacy code
- methodologies from waterfall to agile/lean

The research first shows that software delivery performance is one of the predictors of organization's financial performance, as measured by profitability, productivity and market share.

Based on these surveys the research then
...more
Sam Stagg
Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent summary of good practice in software engineering teams, backed up with data from real research. And that's actually backed up with data, apparently, not the anecdata that most business books are based on.

The book's big achievement is successfully presenting techniques that are not common to all teams as if they are inevitable. The weight of argument is impressive, and the approaches are presented clearly and factually. It's extremely convincing, though I was already convinced of the
...more
TruongSinh Tran-Nguyen
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have learned new and re-enforced my knowledge with this book. Leadership and software development is more art than science, yet this book brings a lot of science (in a way that results and methods can be re-examined and reproduced) back to these disciplines.

Some highlights:
- employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS)
- well-written survey questions to "measure" tech team
- besides Lean, Scrum, Agile, Scrum, Kanban, DevOps, Lean, there are Kata, Obeya, stretegy deployment, etc. with are pioneers such as
...more
Alessandro Berardi
The book provides valuable insights on the capabilities that drive high performance in software development, covering both technical and adaptive aspects. The information is inferred from statistical data analysis, providing factual evidence for the ideas the authors present.

Overall the concepts appear underdeveloped and the book ends up feeling superficial, at times repetitive, at times dry. It invites the reader to perform deeper explorations of the concepts, suggesting valuable directions for
...more
Bragadeesh
May 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
A short book that does more than a decent attempt to quantify the intangibles. The authors have done a deep research, painstakingly investing time and devising a strategy to measure the keys aspects that would define a fully functional, high performing team. It has all the caveats. It is very unfortunate there are only a few organisations/teams that fit in this bucket and the gap between high and low performers in this field keeps widening at an alarming rate. However, research like the ones don ...more
John Hearn
Oct 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: software
This is essentially a research paper in book form. It explains its methodology in great detail and takes some time to discuss the process of data collection and the theoretical underpinnings of the study. It also goes to great pains to address potential confirmation bias in its inferences but it is debatable whether it achieved this goal fully. The approach is decidedly non-popperian. For example the cohort for the analysis is precisely the group which already apply the techniques espoused in th ...more
Mya
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: work
3.5 stars

If you're looking for data to back-up your gut when it comes to better ways of working as a technology team, this is probably a great place to start. Don't be fooled: although it talks about DevOps and most of the data is about the process from "built code" to "in front of a user", it turns out there is a lot of upstream stuff that actually impacts getting that small piece right too. The book can get a little dry (it is written by stats people after all) and be aware that you should sto
...more
Srdan Dukic
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, talking about what DevOps/Lean practices have been found (statistically) to enable better company performance and how to go about implementing them. Big portion of the book is dedicated to explaining “why” we can say that these practices are so important. I found this really good as, not being from a management background, I’m always skeptical of how valid new approaches are. Especially ones where they don’t have any measurements and almost try to discourage measurement.

This book
...more
Maziarka.Radoslaw
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is definitely worth to read from a perspective of a person who wants to gain more arguments on how to structure your company and where to put the focus to become a better-performing organization. It is a great start to understand the steps which you need to take to increase your productivity.

I have few doubts, which don't allow me to give 5 stars:
- It's not as well argumented as it seems so. There are concerns regarding not questioning companies which aren't taking part in DevOps movem
...more
Andy Nortrup
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Most exciting prodict and software management book I've read in ages

This book has really gotten me excited about helping my organization get better at actual agility in our software development processes. By giving me a scientifically sound and predictive model for translating technical practice and lean management into value. I no longer have to opine about recommended practices and things that I've read that other companies in other industries are doing.

Additionally by giving me dependable pr
...more
Ryan Frantz
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Forsgen, Humble, and Kim present their findings from data collected and analyzed over (to date) 4 years that illustrate the characteristics and behaviors of teams and organizations that deliver software. Not only do they demonstrate the minimum set of attributes that make for high-performing teams, they explain the science and rigorous process they used to reach their conclusions. Their descriptions matched my experiences (from low- to high-performing teams) but what struck me most was the time ...more
Alexandru
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Several ideas from the book that I liked or I was surprised by:

- continuous delivery improves a lot of aspects of a business, some of them counter-intuitive, like culture and employee burnout. All because it allows for innovation and rapid response to change.
- agile is all about fast information flow throughout the organisation. That’s why you want small teams, small work chunks, continuous delivery, quick detection and fixing of problems.
- a lot of research around burnout. "Burnout can make thi
...more
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“We found that external approvals were negatively correlated with lead time, deployment frequency, and restore time, and had no correlation with change fail rate. In short, approval by an external body (such as a manager or CAB) simply doesn’t work to increase the stability of production systems, measured by the time to restore service and change fail rate. However, it certainly slows things down. It is, in fact, worse than having no change approval process at all.” 2 likes
“software delivery is an exercise in continuous improvement, and our research shows that year over year the best keep getting better, and those who fail to improve fall further and further behind.” 1 likes
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