May 31, 2013

Book Review - Scaling Lean & Agile Development

I haven't lately read that many books on Agile and software development, since I have felt that I learn more about software development reading about other subject than software development. Also some of the books have been quite boring, but I wanted give Craig Larmans and Bas Voddes book a change based on good reviews I had seen.

Too often books about Agile or Lean say mainly the same things that all other books are saying. Scaling Lean & Agile Development was a fresh exception. Although it did explain many of the basic things, but it did those with easy and compact form, so it wasn't disturbing.

Book goes thoroughly through many different aspects of Agile development in larger scale. It does concentrate on Scrum in it's name, but it does look the things from really from organizational perspective. It doesn't only look from certain layers, but it tries to cover many different aspect. It actually tells about the agile transformation and thinking tools also to get into scaled agile development.

It is easy and fun to read, but it does require background knowledge of agile development, scrum and lean to  get most benefits from it. So it isn't the first book to read about agile, but somehow I feel it never is the first book.

I enjoyed it a lot and highly recommend it to anyone who are in organization which have more than one development team doing software development.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

May 19, 2013

Sometimes good service is to tell to the customer they are not right?

I was recently at US on a business trip. At hotel restaurant I put the bill to my room bill. It was my first day there and I didn't remember my room number correctly, which I didn't notice. Then few minutes later the waiter came back being really sorry that She had made some mistake and I need to sign the thing again. I wondered a bit with the bill but eventually noticed that, the room number was actually the issue there.

For me, as a European and Finn, that's a bad service. I would have been much more pleased if the waiter would have just come to say, that she thinks that I may have entered the wrong number.

At the trip there was even a second similar thing that happened. I'm pretty sure I was at the wrong place and others had to make changes due to me, but others just kept telling, it was their fault.

I admire polite honesty on a customer service more than a fake pleasing. There's enough faking in the world.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

May 9, 2013

Book Review: Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Daniel C. Dennett

Evolution theory and all the things related to it, has been an interest for me. This time I wanted to dig deeper and read Darwin's Dangerous Idea by Daniel C. Dennett. It is highly appreciated book with good reviews.   It was a book I wanted to check out.

I had assumptions that this book dives in to the subject deep, but still I got amazed how deep it went. It started from old philosophic thoughts and then worked its way to Darwin and to latest thoughts in 1990's. All the topics were covered thoroughly with scientific way of comparing things from all perspectives.

Book covers subjects from the beginning of the whole universe to meme's. It talks about God and evolution theory. It covers philosophical thoughts. There is almost anything one can think that affect Darwin's original thoughts.

As an ordinary, non biology or philosophy expert, I was sometimes overwhelmed about all the information there was. Even tough sometimes I wasn't able to understand everything, I just kept going and tried to catch up later on.

I did enjoy the book. It was pretty hard to read, but the contents were such a valuable and brilliant, that it turned the book to positive experience. I did learn a lot during this book. It raised a lots of thoughts all the time I was reading it. For sure this wasn't the last book about these subjects I read. I need to know more sometimes.

I can recommend this book to people who are genuinely interested on Evolution theory, philosophy or biology overall. Without this interest, book might get too hard to read and follow. It is an excellent book, but pretty laborious to read. 

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

May 7, 2013

Book Review - This is Service Design Thinking

Service Design has been an interesting topic for me for a some time. Finally I wanted to get more understanding about it and its basic. That's the reason I got my hands on a book that was saying to be "the book" for service design -This is Service Design Thinking by Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider.

I was super excited to start reading about the wonderful world of service design. I read and read and read and became really bored. First hundred pages of the book the authors are trying to say WE ARE IMPORTANT. I knew it already, designing good services is important and doing it structured way with service design must be even more important. After this start, I wasn't anymore really sure. If someone needs to state in so many different ways that they are important, maybe they really are not.

In the middle section book got better. It told in short articles, bit like blog posts, methods to do service design. Unfortunately these were quite simplistic and didn't dig into most of those properly. If you think of a book like Gamestorming, that's about ten times more useful for these methods than this book.

My hopes was for the last section of the book, examples of service design. As the whole book, that turned out to be a disappointment too. Examples were not really interesting and the way those were presented was quite dull. In one of the examples the designed service never got in to use, but they stated project was still a success. I think the exact opposite. Service which was designed but never got live, is a failure, real big failure.

Book was planned by top service designers and that might have been that the reading experience also failed. They tried in top of everything to renew the concept of a book with coloring, icons and lines going here and there. That made the book complex to read. Maybe there would not have been need to renew a such a working concept that a book is.

I honestly don't recommend this book to anyone. I want to believe Service Design and the people behind service design. This book does no good to the practice. There must be better books about the subject than this one.

I don't think I learned anything about this book. At least not in the positive way. Do yourself a favor, mark this to the "no go" list.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen