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Book Review: Accelerate

Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology OrganizationsAccelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations by Nicole Forsgren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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 trying to teach a kid to ride a bike, they’re like “You’re hurling me at the asphalt and yelling at me to GO FASTER?!?!”. You know, even though they don’t that they will be safer if they go faster, but they feel like it’s very dangerous. Increasing your release cadence feels like that – someone you trust is telling you to do it faster, but it’s very scary to change your thinking about ASPHALT.

Forsgren, Humble, and Kim unpack the scientific analysis of why it works that way, but I find it really compelling to look at the correlation of speed, psychological safety, and business value.

Part 2 of the book is a very wonky, nerdy analysis of the academic methods, which gives the rest a lot of validity, but I give you permission to skip it if you would just like to take their word for it that the math is sound.

Part 3 is a case study of a company currently practicing a lot of the principles mentioned in the book. It may not be relevant to everyone, but it was a nice unpacking of how it could work.

Read if:
You are trying to convince your organization to become more devops-y, or if you want to understand what the benefit of that would be. Also if you would like some eyebrow-massive correlation numbers to use in arguments.

Skip if:
You will only pine because you can’t do this kind of transformation.

Also read:
The Phoenix Project
The DevOps Handbook

View all my reviews

Heidi Waterhouse

Heidi is a mercenary technical writer and travelling salesperson of better process and product thinking. She loves writing herself out of a job and teaching people to save themselves from future pain.

Upcoming appearances

Velocity Berlin
Minneapolis DevOps Meetup
DeliveryConf

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