Book Review - Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and Devops

During my morning coffee session, I came across the book - Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and Devops, and the title of the book instantly drew me in.

During my morning coffee session, I like to check through my RSS feed and see what is happening out there in the world of technology. I came across this article by the Spotify R&D team entitled “Leveraging Mobile Infrastructure with Data-Driven Decisions”. They referenced the book Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and Devops, and the title of the book instantly drew me in.

I’ve just finished reading the book and I can say that I definitely enjoyed it.

Through four years of research, the authors set out to find a way to measure software delivery performance―and what drives it―using rigorous statistical methods. This book presents both the findings and the science behind that research, making the information accessible for readers to apply in their own organizations. Personally, I think it's quite cool to see scientific data applied to some of the everyday things that we do in technology organizations. I also found it interesting to see how some of the top performing companies repeatedly seemed to pull away from the “pack” by simply applying many of the techniques applied in this book. The book takes a look at well-known best practices such as Continuous Delivery, Lean Management, and Transformational Leadership.

If you are looking for a book that tells you how to build and scale a high performing technology organisation, then this book doesn’t quite cover it. This book goes more into why you should be doing things a certain way and backs this up with facts.

Part 1 of this book explores what the research team found after trawling through the data. Part 2 dives into the science behind the book and an introduction to Psychometrics. Finally Part 3, looks into transformation, which focuses on how leadership and management can help drive these improvements.

If I had one takeaway from this book (which surprised me), it was that the leadership of an organisation plays a pivotal role in the team's results. I really liked this quote:

“Leadership really does have a powerful impact on results. A good leader affects a team’s ability to deliver code, architect good systems, and apply Lean principles to how the team manages its work and develops products. All of these have a measurable impact on satisfaction, efficiency, and the ability to achieve organisational goals”.

If you’d like a bit of insight into the book, I’d recommend checking out the following resource, which contains a useful table of high-performance team, management and leadership behaviours and practices.

Overall, this is a great book and definitely gives a good insight into why some of the best practices that we take for granted are worth doing and lead to high performing technology organisations. This book concentrates more on the why as opposed to the how. If you are looking for a how to, I’d recommend reading The DevOps Handbook to learn more.

I hope you enjoy the book!