Accelerate Book Summary - Accelerate Book explained in key points
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Accelerate summary

Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble, and Gene Kim

Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations

4 (100 ratings)
15 mins

Brief summary

Accelerate is an insightful book that reveals the key practices for achieving high-performing organizations. Based on extensive research, it offers practical strategies for accelerating software delivery, increasing stability, and fostering a culture of high performance and innovation.

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    Continuous delivery lets you make changes without disrupting your organization

    The Agile Manifesto was published in 2001. At that time, extreme programming – XP for short – was the go-to agile method for many in the industry. Unlike scrum, XP was highly technical in nature. It emphasized steps like continuously testing and integrating software during development. Continuous delivery takes this idea even further. It's like saying, “We need to have a good recipe and the right ingredients from the start if we want to bake a great cake.”

    So, what is continuous delivery in simple terms? Imagine having a toolkit that lets you make any kind of change to your software – whether it's adding new features, fixing errors, or trying out something new – and then being able to roll that out smoothly and quickly. 

    There are a few golden rules to this. 

    First up? Start with quality. The idea is that it's easier to start off right than to fix mistakes later.

    Second, break tasks down. It's like assembling a jigsaw puzzle, where you piece together the picture step by step, allowing you to grasp what's working and make adjustments along the way.

    Third, let machines do the repetition. Put differently, use your resources wisely. People are great at solving complex challenges, so let them do that. The boring stuff? Automate it! 

    Fourth, always aim higher. The best teams always look for ways to improve.

    Finally, teamwork makes the dream work. Everyone involved should work together, aiming for the bigger picture – not just their piece of the puzzle.

    Now, to make continuous delivery work, you need some solid foundations. We can also break these foundations down into three maxims. 

    First, have a solid blueprint. Every step in building, testing, and rolling out software should be automated. Only a few steps, like final approvals, should need a human touch.

    Second, keep merging. Teams should keep integrating their work and making sure it works to catch issues early.

    Last but not least, always be testing! Testing shouldn't be an afterthought; it should be happening all the time. Only once a job passes all its tests can it be considered “done.”

    In short, continuous delivery is all about getting good-quality software out there regularly and reliably. It's like a well-oiled machine where everyone from the coder to the designer to the tester works together seamlessly. And the benefits? Research says it not only makes software delivery better but also improves team spirit and reduces stress and deployment issues. But like any big change, it needs investment in time, tools, and a willingness to adapt. 

    If we dive deeper, we see that blending this into the bigger picture of company systems and software structures can be a challenge. And that’s what we’ll be looking at next. 

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    What is Accelerate about?

    Accelerate (2018) explores the intersection of software development and organizational performance. Drawing on rigorous research, it reveals the practices and capabilities that allow high-performing technology-driven companies to excel and achieve a competitive edge in the fast-paced digital era.

    Who should read Accelerate?

    • Tech leaders seeking performance optimization
    • Agile and DevOps practitioners
    • Business owners looking to improve software delivery

    About the Author

    Nicole Forsgren is a partner at Microsoft Research, where she leads Developer Velocity Lab – a cross-organizational effort to amplify productivity, community, and well-being. She’s been widely recognized for her work on understanding software delivery performance. 

    Jez Humble is in SRE at Google and is a lecturer at UC Berkeley. He’s also the coauthor of books like Continuous Delivery and Lean Enterprise.

    Gene Kim is an award-winning CTO, researcher, and author best known for The Phoenix Project, The DevOps Handbook, and The Unicorn Project.

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