Welcome!

Open Source Cloud Authors: Scott Millis, Elizabeth White, XebiaLabs Blog, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Java IoT, Microsoft Cloud, Linux Containers

Microservices Expo: Book Review

Book Review: The Incremental Commitment Spiral Model

Principles and Practices for Successful Systems and Software

Processes are not documented and reused by a set of individuals because they lead to failure. Like design patterns, they are documented and reused because they lead to success.

They are all put together by very talented people who have successfully used them to develop software multiple times. For them the process is easy to use and understand. The teams that have not used it have a steep learning curve ahead of them. Just looking at the diagram of a pattern or process, definitely will lead you to failure every time.

I have seen Waterfall, Spiral, RUP, OpenUP, and Scrum all fail multiple times each because project managers, architects, developers, CIOs, and IT managers have only gone as far as looking at the diagram of the process they choose to use. They apply practices and principles they already know to the models instead of the ones that go with the models. The principles and practices that are behind the model must be learned and used in order to succeed.

I assume this is a trick insanity plays on them. Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. They thought renaming and reordering what they already do was actually changing.

This book is required reading if you want to understand the Incremental Commitment Spiral Model (ICSM) and it's related diagrams. If you are not going to read the book, please do not attempt to use the diagram. After a very nice introduction it is broken down into five parts including the afterword. I have list each part and the chapters it includes below.

0. Introduction
Part I: The Four ICSM Principles
1. The First Principle: Stakeholder Value-Based Guidance
2. The Second Principle: Incremental Commitment and Accountability
3. The Third Principle: Concurrent Multidiscipline Engineering
4. The Fourth Principle: Evidence- and Risk-Based Decisions

Part II: ICSM Life Cycle and Stage I: Incremental Definition
5. The ICSM Life Cycle
6. Exploration Phase
7. Valuation Phase
8. Foundations Phase

Part III: Stage II: Incremental Development and Evolution
9. Development Phase
10. System Production and Operations

Part IV: Applying ICSM to Your Organization
11. ICSM Patterns and Common Cases
12. ICSM and Your Organization
13. Evidence-Based Life-Cycle Management
14. Cost and Schedule Evidence Development
15. Risk–Opportunity Assessment and Control

Afterword
Appendix A. Evidence Evaluation Framework
Appendix B. Mapping between ICSM and Other Standards
Appendix C. A Value-Based Theory of Systems Engineering

Don't make the mistake of looking at this book and saying "oh, it's that old model again", it's not the 1988 spiral model- A Spiral Model of Software Development and Enhancement. The 1988 spiral model began the long process leading to the spiral model in this book, the Incremental Commitment Spiral Model (ICSM).

Developing software correctly is easy. The hard part is having all the skills needed to do that. Since most teams do not possess the skills needed to easily execute a software development process, they usually have a hard time. Even those who gave it their best shot learning the practices and principles behind the 1988 model had a hard time succeeding.

Within a short time the feedback that reached Dr. Boehm lead him to claim "What we really need are process model generators". I agree 100%. Implementing a development process instance for a given project is the only way to correctly use software development processes. Just as important, if not more important, is the ability to understand what is happening with your project and to change the process as needed. Teams seem to have a much harder time with that. Luckily that is what we got with this book.

Software process engineering allows you to account for your team's skills and availability, your businesses needs, the tools you have available, the environment you are working in, the difficulty of the solution, the working environment - team member locations, greenfield vs. brownfield development, and many more things that are usually not taken into consideration at all. Software process engineering not only gives you the instance to work with, it also allows for tailoring the process to meet the needs of the project as circumstances change throughout the project.

People leave, laws changes, hurricanes happen (although that didn't stop us- dumb, dumb, dumb), people get sick, and so on. The point is your process must be as agile and resilient as your software. That means the process must be changeable.

I have sat in a room watching project managers and business users debate for hours about what to do now that they have discovered the next 3 sprints will take 3-4 weeks and not the 2 weeks they had agreed on.

1/2 of them wanted to split functionality (user stories) to meet the 2 week mark and add it back later with 3 more sprints but that would really mean 4 extra sprints because splitting the functionality adds complexity to the programming. Some of them wanted to borrow a few developers, while others just wanted to pretend they didn't know and just start the next 2 weeks after they got done this sprint. No deliverables or tests, just keep going and hope they weren't questioned. All of this is non-transparent nonsense, and is anything but agile.

This book is not a software development process. The author's say "The ICSM is not a single, one-size-fits-all process. It is actually a process generator…". The book did not meet my expectation of what that means to me. In order for it to be a process generator, it would need to reference one or more specific process asset repositories which can be configured into an instance of a process.

That does not detract from the value of the book, because we already have enough process asset repositories. My perception of the content of the book is that it is material that will help you audit, adjust, and manage a software process. That is needed more in today's industry. The rest of the sentence that begins the paragraph above is consistent with my understanding of the book's content- "… that steers your process in different directions, depending on your particular circumstances."

One very cool thing about this book is that the material is available online. The material has been published from Eclipse Process Framework. At least it looks like it to me. There are two sites, The Incremental Commitment Spiral Model (ICSM) and The Instructional Incremental Commitment Spiral Model (ICSM) Electronic Process Guide. The Instructional Incremental Commitment Spiral Model (ICSM) Electronic Process Guide is a version of ICSM which is tailored to fit the nature of CSCI577ab Software Engineering Class.

The one thing that drove me kind of nuts while reading this book is the very heavy use of acronyms. They probably drove me crazy because they brought back flashbacks of being in the Army and working for the State of PA.

The thing I liked most about this book is the honesty found in it. An example is found in the first paragraph of the Preface- "Rumor has it, however, that some people would rather deliver an unsuccessful system so that they can continue being paid to make it successful; rumor also doubts those people will read this book." They also present failure stories for each success story, which really helps to keep the book grounded in reality.

All in all I found this book an excellent read. It contains a ton of wisdom gathered over a very long period of time.


The Incremental Commitment Spiral Model: Principles and Practices for Successful Systems and Software

The Incremental Commitment Spiral Model: Principles and Practices for Successful Systems and Software

More Stories By Tad Anderson

Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.

@ThingsExpo Stories
According to Forrester Research, every business will become either a digital predator or digital prey by 2020. To avoid demise, organizations must rapidly create new sources of value in their end-to-end customer experiences. True digital predators also must break down information and process silos and extend digital transformation initiatives to empower employees with the digital resources needed to win, serve, and retain customers.
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
"Once customers get a year into their IoT deployments, they start to realize that they may have been shortsighted in the ways they built out their deployment and the key thing I see a lot of people looking at is - how can I take equipment data, pull it back in an IoT solution and show it in a dashboard," stated Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation; Alan Williamson, Principal...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.