Agile Zone is brought to you in partnership with:

Rob Williams is a probabilistic Lean coder of Java and Objective-C. Rob is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 170 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

In Utero: A Less-Than-Glowing Review of David Anderson's Kanban Book

11.02.2010
| 2637 views |
  • submit to reddit

Kind of ironic that the sophomore outing from one of the most successful bands of the last 20 years was a complete disaster. (There are 2 good songs on it: Dumb and Heart-Shaped Box.) Pregnancy is a process that you really can‘t fiddle with ‘we‘re not done with the new crib, can we push the birth a week?‘ Still pushing through the “Growing Objected Oriented” book (just read a great section about using static builders to create test data). But I also started a book called Kanban. There are some good things in this book, to be sure, but the overall tone has a flim flam factor that makes you want to check the spine for the Guthy Renker stamp.

The best part of the first section is discussion of how WIP focus is the key to kanban. The convincing part of the author‘s presentation is just the usual things you‘ve heard before, but made to realize that there are a lot of repercussions of leaving things undone. (In the absurd part of this book, the author starts blubbering about psychology, sociology, and philosophy I think, then just basically tells us, during one of his case studies ‘this system is so good, it produces results with bad people.‘ Yeah. What results? More efficiently hewn bad software.)

Anyway, ironically, after reading this for a while and thinking about the idea of having to push things through the birth canal, I had occasion to crawl back into my JEE6 work. First, to setup a MySQL data source for Glassfish, and then to make another JEE6 project for a new piece. The Glassfish piece was the usual stupid nightmare. Errors came up on the first em ops and then it turned out to be the mysql driver version. Then there were a bunch more stupid stuff. Then I used the Weld archetype. It failed. Forgot, you have to go change the persistence.xml if you are on glassfish (that‘s ok), but there‘s a typo in the main page template. How do things like this just go on? Today, I wanted to do a hibernate query that did an order by on a computed value. Found this hilarious thread. Gavin proclaiming ‘yeah, not a bug,‘ despite the hew of the crowd is so perfect (we had a few test failures today and found that the idiotic resource filters from m2 were in there). Repeating myself: the irony of development (for me these days, YMMV) is that the walled garden (Apple) works, not most the time, pretty much all the time, and the supposedly open bastion of choice is actually full of broken stuff.

So for the not repeating part: the 2 of these things really go together well. How does the Java world standup to the Kanban test? Horribly. I started using JSF in 2004. That article about JSP causing issues was in either 04 or 05, and JSF 2 is still not really out. How many releases in between? 1. The book talks about a team at Microsoft who became universally reviled for pushing deliveries to 150d. But on the WIP side, think about how much stuff is still in process. Meantime, an article appeared a few months ago saying that at Apple, teams move from product to product and push new things out then go to the next thing.

The author probably didn‘t realize that uncorking the old ‘I‘ll produce results with a crew of schlubbs‘ is the tail-wagging equivalent of saying “I‘m so good, I can turn a turd into gold.” I am pretty sure if this cat does break out any philo, I will end up lmao.

References
Published at DZone with permission of Rob Williams, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)