Building Software Teams

Authors: Joost Visser, Sylvan Rigal, Gijs Wijnholds and Zeeger Lubsen
Publisher: O'Reilly
Date: Dec 2016
Pages: 136
ISBN: 978-1491951774
Print: 149195177X
Kindle: B01MYZHEGP
Audience: Team leaders
Rating: 3.5
Reviewer: Kay Ewbank

This book is a collection of lessions on how to create an efffective working environment for development teams.

This  slim volume outlining ten best practices for software development is a follow-up to a sister title, Building Maintainable Software, Ten Guidelines for Future-Proof Code. The authors are consultants with the Software Improvement Group, a software management consultancy, and the thrust of the lessons is to measure everything.

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The book opens with a chapter introducing ways to measure software development, in particular the ISO 25010 Standard, and the Goal-Question-Metric approach. 

The heart of the book begins with a chapter on how to derive metrics from your measurement goals. As with the rest of the practical chapters, this opens with a paragraph defining the best practices in this area, followed by the chapter in detail. In this case, the focus is on the Goal-Question-Metric approach.

Most developers will agree wholeheartedly with the next chapter, titled 'Make Definition of Done Explicit'. The most interesting aspects of this chapter are the objections to this idea.

Another idea that seems obvious comes next - control code versions and development branches. As with all such 'isn't that common sense?' ideas, the trick is in actually doing it rather than knowing it.

The next chapter is titled 'Control development, test, acceptance and production environments'. In essence, the advice is to create separate environments for various stages in the development process, make the environments similar, and control the progression of code from one to another.

Test automation is next on the list, along with the need to agree on guidelines and expectations for tests. A chapter on continuous integration is next. Essentially, this suggests setting up a Continuous Integration server that takes care of integrating code whenever code is committed to the CI server.

Automated Deployment is the topic for the next chapter, using tools that automatically transfer code from one environment to the next. The final three chapters look at standardizing the development environment; managing usage of third party code; and documenting just enough. The definition of 'just enough' is that it should enable the development team to have a common understanding of design decisions and nonfunctional requirements.

The book ends with a chapter on what to do next once you've put all the recommendations into place - essentially, keep doing it.

The book is well written, concise, and explains the ideas clearly. A lot of what is in this book is well known, but in the experience of the authors, isn't done in practice. If development team leaders followed all the advice, it would undoubtedly lead to better quality software.

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Algorithms Unlocked

Author: Thomas H. Cormen
Publisher: MIT Press, 2013
Pages: 240
ISBN: 978-0262518802
Print: 0262518805
Kindle: B00H4D1W94
Audience: General readers interested in Computer Science
Rating: 4
Reviewer: Mike James

An easy to read book about algorithms. What could be better reading for a programmer -  [ ... ]



The Python 3 Standard Library by Example 2nd Ed

Author: Doug Hellmann
Publisher: Addison Wesley
Date: June 2017
Pages: 1456
ISBN: 978-0134291055
Print: 0134291050
Kindle: B072QZZDV7
Audience: Python developers
Rating: 5
Reviewer: Alex Armstrong

An up-to-date, Python 3, reference work on the standard library - essential for some.


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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 31 May 2017 )