Udi Dahan   Udi Dahan – The Software Simplist
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Archive for the ‘Management’ Category



Thoughts on Microsoft History and OSS

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

open sourceIt’s coming on 4 years now that I’ve been running NServiceBus. How the time flies. As it has worked its way into the critical infrastructure of many organizations, more and more managers have been asking me questions about how this .NET OSS thing works. In this post, I’ll try to answer that question based on the history of .NET.

Although I have been privy over the years to see behind the veil at Redmond, I will be focusing primarily on the externally visible actions of Microsoft and how the industry has reacted on average – specifically in the enterprise space, where I spend most of my time.

What managers are concerned about

When there will be problem with this technology, who will support us?
How will that change when the author of the technology moves on or loses interest?
How long can we expect to be using this technology?
How long will it take to learn it? When will we recoup our investment?

Traditionally, for companies on the Microsoft platform, choosing Microsoft as their primary technology vendor has been the safe bet. As a large company, Microsoft can afford to employ support engineers. These engineers are different from the ones who wrote the technology to begin with. Also, Microsoft has 10 year support guarantees. As a result, companies expected to use the technology for at least that long. With their size, Microsoft also had the ability to create copious amounts of documentation easing learning.

To turn the common phrase, nobody got fired for choosing Microsoft.

Open source seemed like risky business, at the time.

What changed?

It started with the Composite Application Block – CAB.

This technology was put out by the Patterns and Practices (P&P) group at Microsoft. After it came out, the gears of big marketing machines at Microsoft got to work, telling the industry about this great new thing at conferences, and the Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS) folks started using it with clients. CIOs at large companies sent developers to training on CAB by the dozen.

And then CAB was dead. Sorry. Microsoft prefers the word “done” to dead.
Just like Don Box said that COM wasn’t dead, it was done.

“What about that 10 year support thing?”, asked the CIOs (among many others).

You don’t understand, said Microsoft. You see, P&P are not a product group in Microsoft. They don’t have the resources to provide that kind of support. And the rest of the company isn’t obliged to support what they put out – since they’re not a product group.

You could literally hear the collective jaw of the Microsoft part of the industry drop.

This wasn’t supposed to happen (like housing prices in the US).

And then came .NET 3.0, and things seemed to go back to normal.

There were lots of wonderful things that came with it – like LINQ, and…

Linq to Sql

This was BIG.
Finally – after ObjectSpaces was promised at PDC ’03 and later shelved, then WinFS (same story), it had arrived.
The object-relational mapper (ORM) from Microsoft.

The marketing machine went into high gear – it was the v3 promise. Linq2Sql (L2S) came from a product group. This was serious. It was shown at conferences and user groups all over the world. Developers were sent to be trained on it.

And then Entity Framework (EF) was announced – and L2S was done.

CIOs were rubbing their eyes in disbelief. “But this is from a product group – you have to support it, right?”

Well, said Microsoft, yes. We will support it with our support org. It’s just that we won’t continue to develop new features for it in the product org. We actually have a different sub-org that will be working on EF and they’re under a different division (SQL Server) than the sub-org that made L2S.

Jaws were hitting the pavement. All that investment erased. Just like that. It turns out that support without active development doesn’t mean very much, no matter how many support engineers are involved.

But the industry picked itself back up, and got back to work on the new foundational pieces that came with .NET 3.0. If Microsoft is calling it “Foundation”, that must mean they’re committed to it.

And then came Workflow Foundation

Workflow Foundation (WF) was a dream-come-true. At last, Model-Driven Development (MDD) had come to the Microsoft platform. Drag-and-drop on a whole new level. Imagine the reuse. Imagine the maintainability. Programming at higher levels of abstraction. A marketers dream. This was the culmination of previous efforts of Whitehorse in VS2005 and the Software Factories Initiative – or so we were told.

And then came .NET 3.5 – and the new WF wasn’t backwards compatible with the old one.
And then it happened again with .NET 3.5 SP1, and again with 4.0 (no more state machine – no wait, it’s back again, but not in the box).

All those companies that had long-running workflows in production needed to manually migrate them each time.

But this had become old news to the folks using Microsoft in the enterprise.
With Microsoft – you really can’t be sure any more.

What about open source?

Well, it was beginning to look more and more stable in comparison.
Especially the larger, more established projects. Those with active development.
Log4Net. NHibernate. Castle. etc.

There was also the fact that most enterprises were heterogeneous anyway – doing both Java and .NET development. Open source tools and frameworks were common in the Java space, politically greasing the wheels for .NET OSS in those organization.

Boasting features and capabilities several years ahead of what was coming out of Microsoft, more companies gave them a chance, and were pleasantly surprised. And the virtuous cycle of OSS gained speed. With more use, they become even more stable and got even more features, driving yet more use. Blog posts about them bloomed all over the web. User group presentations were given. At a presentation I gave at TechEd Europe 2006, I used NHibernate in my demo.

OSS had crossed the chasm. No, not everybody used it, or knew of it, but a critical mass of the industry had grown to depend on it.

Microsoft’s actions over the years had done more for OSS adoption than I think many would have imagined.

On Pub/Sub, Messaging, and SOA

Interestingly enough, when the first version of WCF was still in the oven (then called Indigo) there were discussions on whether it would support publish/subscribe messaging. Here we are, 3 versions later, and still no pub/sub, but the discussions continue 😉

Message brokers were always important for enterprises in the Java space – IBM MQ; Tibco RV; Sonic; companies were paying millions for this stuff. Microsoft had MSMQ – finally at v3 with XP and Server 2003, but still with insignificant penetration to the market. BizTalk did have a good run, though, but not so much as a message broker, more as an integration and orchestration engine, unfortunately coming late to the Enterprise Application Integration (EAI) party.

Later, the SQL Server guys came with Service Broker – messaging in the database. But you could see that their heart wasn’t in it. The API was clunky. It still didn’t have pub/sub. There was no binding available for WCF.

After some time making noise in the SOA space with Oslo, that changed as well. Oslo is now Sql Server Modeling.

I imagine that some of the adoption pick-up with NServiceBus can be attributed to the vacuum Microsoft left behind when exiting the messaging/pub-sub/soa space. The way NServiceBus aligns with the principles found in the corresponding Java technologies makes it very palatable to enterprises working with both platforms.

The fact that there’s active development, a vibrant and growing community, and even training available definitely contribute as well.

In closing

I don’t fault Microsoft for any of this. There are a million things that they could have done. Choosing to do one thing means choosing not to do many others. The decisions they made were done with the best intentions. Hindsight is 20/20 of-course.

And that’s just it – we do need to take a look back.

If you’re a manager making a technology related decision, or are working with managers in those positions, knowing the history of today’s technology can give you a more accurate representation of the risk involved in each choice. Also, understanding the vector that Microsoft has decided to take in various areas is critical, especially if you find out that your architectural choices aren’t quite aligned with some of those vectors.

In this post, I’ve tried not to take a stance on whether a certain approach (ORM, Pub/Sub, etc) is good or bad, or even getting into which cases it’s appropriate or not – just to describe Microsoft’s externally visible behavior in that space.

I hope that this short history lesson can help your organization make the right technology decisions in the future for its specific context. Your comments and thoughts are most welcome, as always.



On Design for Testability

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

keeping balanceAlmost at every conference, event, training, or consulting engagement someone asks for my opinion on the whole design for testability thing. I’m not quite sure why I haven’t blogged on this topic, especially at the time that a lot of the other bloggers were weighing in, but better late than never.

Before getting into that, I want to start with a slightly broader scope of discussion.

You see, I get asked about “best practices” on all sorts of things. And I try not to be the kind of consultant that responds with “it depends”, but the context of the question often makes the answer irrelevant. And the unspoken context of a best-practice question is:

Given infinite time and budget

The biggest problem that I see with well-intentioned, best-practices-following developers and architects is that they don’t ask the question “is this the right thing for us to be focusing on right now?” Understandably, that is a difficult question to answer – but it needs to be asked, since you don’t have infinite time or budget to do everything according to best practices (assuming those even exist).

About testing

The biggest issue I have with the “design for testability” topic is the extremely narrow view it takes of the word “testability”, usually in the form of more code written by a developer which invokes the production code of the system, also known as “unit tests”.

There are many different kinds of testing – unit, integration, functional, load, performance, exploratory, etc… where some may be automated and others not. Should we not discuss what “design for testability” means for not-just-unit-testing?

And what’s the point of testing anyway?

It’s not to find bugs.

Research has shown that testing (of all kinds) is not the most effective way of finding bugs. I don’t have the reference handy but I’m pretty sure that it’s from Alistair Cockburn’s work. Code reviews are (on average) about 60% more effective.

Don’t get me wrong – testing can provide indications that the software has bugs in it, but not necessarily where in the code those bugs are.

The purpose of testing is to provide quantitative and qualitative information about the system that can help various stakeholders in their decision-making processes. The relevance of that information indicates the quality of the testing. Here are some examples:

  • The system supports 100 concurrent users, with the expected user-type distribution (X% role A, Y% role B, etc), performing expected use-case distributions, and collaboration scenarios.
  • Time to proficiency for new users in role A is expected to be 3 days
  • Alternate #2 of use case #12 fails on step #3

As you can see, the relevance of the above information is dependent on what decisions the various stakeholders need to make. The bullet on load can help us decide if more machines are needed or if developers need to tune the performance of the systems. The bullet on time to proficiency can help us decide if larger investment in usability is required. Information like the last bullet can be used in conjunction with the first two to decide on the timing and type of a release.

The timeliness of this relevant information is critical to the success of a project.

Choosing which and how much of the various testing activities to perform when is something that needs to be revisited several times throughout the lifetime of a project, taking into account the current risks (threats and probabilities) and time and resource investment to mitigate them.

Let me reiterate – we’re not going to have enough time to do everything.

On iterations

If the only part of your organization that is doing iterations are your developers, you’re not agile.

In order to capitalize on the information that testers are providing, you need them in your iterations.

The same goes for the other roles involved in the project – business analysts, DBAs, sysadmins, etc.

I know that 99% of organizations aren’t structured in a way to do this.

I never said doing this would be easy.

On design

Figuring out what kind of design and how much to do when is just as important, and just as hard. Design for testability is one part of that, but not the only one, or necessarily the most important one at any point of time.

Within that design for testability topic is the “design for unit-testing” sub-topic which seems to be the popular one. Before getting into the design aspects of it, let’s take a closer look at the unit-testing side of things.

On unit-testing

The assumption is that having more unit tests will lead to a code-base with less bugs, thus requiring shorter time to get the system into production, which will pay back the time it took to write those unit tests to begin with.

In practice, what tends to happen is that as development progresses, testing code breaks as the structure of the production code changes. Now one of two things happens – either the testing code is removed or rewritten. In either case, we didn’t get the return on investment we expected on the first bit of testing code. Unfortunately, rare is the case where the relevant people in the organization understand why, resulting in the same situation repeating itself over and over again.

Those projects would have been better off without unit testing, though the organization as a whole might have used those experiences to learn and improve. It’s been my experience that if the organization wasn’t conscious enough in the context of the project to notice the situation, it is unlikely to do so at higher levels.

On fragile unit tests

The reason that a unit test ends up being rewritten (or removed) is that its code was coupled to the production code in such a way that it broke when the production code changed. This tendency to break (fragility) is a critical property of a unit test. A fragile unit test will slow down a developer doing work on some existing code – it actually makes the system less maintainable.

For a unit test code to be stable (not fragile) it needs to be coupled to stable properties of the production code. The question of whether the production code is designed in such a way that it has stable properties – is a design question. Is it a unit? If not, you will not be able to write a unit-test against it.

And anyway, who said that every class is a unit, or should be a unit? Domain models (when done right) are good examples of a unit, yet the classes that make them up may not be units. Unit-testing should only be attempted with things which are units.

I think too much weight is put on whether a dependency of a class is a concrete or interface type, and not nearly enough on the nature of the dependency. I wouldn’t blame the hammer for pounding my thumb, and by the same token I think that blame should not be directed towards tools like those from TypeMock.

On tools

There is so much more depth to both design and testability that needs to be more broadly understood. No tool has yet been created to handle either design or testing in such a way that humans can give up responsibility for the outcome.

Over the years I’ve noticed that tools are most significant when used by skilled practitioners, which makes sense in retrospect. Giving a novice carpenter a laser-guided saw probably won’t significantly change the outcome of their work. Ultimately, the skilled practitioners are the ones that create tools – not the novices. And no tool, no matter how advanced, will make a novice perform at levels like the skilled practitioner.

In the case of a project too big for a single skilled practitioner to complete in the time required (or at all), the balance of importance shifts away from tools to the project management topics described above.

In summary

I hope that this post has shed some light on the context in which decisions with respect to testing need to be made. Design is one activity that can support certain kinds of testing, but not the only one, or even the most important one for the given type of testing necessary at that time in the project.

Design is hard. Project management is hard. Testing is hard.

Getting the right mix of people that together have enough experience and skills in these activities isn’t easy.

Don’t expect that sprinkling some interfaces in your code base will be enough.
That doesn’t count much in the way of design, just as writing code in a testing namespace doesn’t count much in the way of testability.

Looking forward to hearing your comments.



On Small Applications

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

smallI hear this too often: “X sounds like a great pattern, but it’s overkill for small applications”. Many patterns have been subjected to this including (but not limited to): SOA, DDD, CQRS, ORM, etc. Often the statement is made by a person without experience in the given pattern (though possibly experienced in other patterns). Let’s take a look at the second part – the “small application”, and ask:

What makes an app small?

Or inversely, what makes an app warrant the “enterprise” moniker?

If there’s one thing that the history of our industry has shown repeatedly, it’s that developers aren’t particularly accurate with their estimates. Like, orders-of-magnitude inaccurate. Knowing this, it’s surprising that the “small app” argument seems to win so many arguments. The same goes for justifications in the form of “we’ve got to have an X, this is a BIG project”.

So, what makes an app small?

Is it a small number of lines of code? Well, what if those lines of code are keeping planes in the air?

Is it a small number of developers? Same as above. Actually, history has shown that some of the most valuable bits of code written were done by small numbers of developers.

Is it that it will only be installed on a single machine?

Is it…

What could it be?

The real issue

The small app argument is a diversionary tactic.

Loosely translated, it means “I’m comfortable where I am and I don’t want to change”.

Moving on…

The real story of size

Once we actually look at the specific context of an app, we tend to see that someone cares a great deal about it, enough to finance its custom development – rather than buying an off-the-shelf alternative. The expected lifetime of business use is easily 3-5 years, if not 7-10, during which many enhancements will likely be requested. Thus, some non-functional properties of the code matter – at the very least maintainability.

In which case, if the given pattern or approach does significantly improve the desired non-functional properties of the app, it only makes sense to use it.

There is one class of software that might possibly be treated as “small” – the one-off script that’s written to automate some IT task. And even then, so many of these scripts end up living longer than the apps themselves that they should be engineered at the same level of quality.

In closing

Don’t counter a “small app” argument with psychology.
It will only make matters worse.

Instead, rephrase the issue around the lifetime of business use.

I’ve found that there are precious few cases where the harsh light of reality doesn’t help the appropriate decisions be made. If indeed this is a small-lifetime-app, just drag-and-drop until you’re done. Otherwise, the time it takes to understand and evaluate the applicability of the given patterns will definitely pay itself back many times over the life of the app.

And managers, keep your ears open for it. The technical risks behind that statement are icebergs waiting to sink your project.

* with thanks to Mike Nichols for pushing my buttons.



Unit Testing for Developers and Managers

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

image “We need to rewrite the system.”

Thus begins the story of yet another developer trying to convince their manager to adopt test-driven development (or any other methodology or technology). There’s a good chance this developer’s been reading all sorts of stuff on blogs (like those linked here) that have convinced him that salvation lies that way.

Don’t get me wrong.

There’s a good chance the developer’s right.

It’s just that that’s besides the point.

Developers and Managers

There’s a difference between how developers view a practice and how a manager (defined for the purposes of this post as someone in charge of delivering something) view that same practice. From a developer perspective, Ian’s point about unit testing is spot on:

“The problem is that the most important step is not doing it right, but doing it at all.”

Yet, as Ian himself points out in the title, this is a learning issue. If you want to learn to swim, there’s no replacement for jumping in the pool.

The manager’s perspective is a bit different.

Yes, we want our developers to improve their skill set. Yes, we understand that unit testing will ultimately improve quality. Yes, we know developers need to practice these skills as a part of their job. But, and it’s a big ole’ but, when it comes time to sink or swim, and we’ve got a deadline, those desires need to be balanced with delivering. Accounts of unit testing adoption efforts resulting in more (test) code to support with little apparent improvement in quality in the short term, well, they scare us. Arnon’s post gives more links supporting that feeling.

What’s a Unit Test anyway?

Is it any class that happens to have a TestFixture attribute on it?

If we are to “decouple” unit testing from good design, as Roy has described, that’s a not-improbable outcome. If the design of the system is such as there aren’t any real “units”, what exactly are we testing? Regardless of static or dynamic typing, replaceability of code, and other technological things, does the fact that all TestMethods in that TestFixture complete successfully mean anything? In other words, what did the test test?

It is clear that these tests cost something.

It’s more code to write. It’s more code to maintain.

The question is, what value are we getting from these “unit tests that any developer without design skills can write”?

The manager in me doesn’t like this return on investment.

By the way, TDD is as much the evolution of unit testing as the screw driver is the evolution of the hammer. But that’ll have to wait for a different post.

What’s Design Got To Do With It?

If you’re looking for the technical ability to write a test fixture and replace calls to other classes, then design has nothing to it.

If tests are to be valuable – design has everything to do with it.

The difficulty our developer is having unit-testing the system is a symptom of design problems. There’s a good chance that’s why he suggested a rewrite.

By the way, please do a search & replace in your vocabulary on the word “rewrite” with the word “redesign”. The code’s syntax isn’t the problem – it’s not the “m_”, camel case, or anything like that. It’s not that if the code was rewritten under the same design that all problems will go away.

Redesign, or do nothing.

The community’s been discussing the issues of coupling, interfaces, mocking, and tools at length in the context of testability. I won’t reiterate the debate here but I’ll tell you this:

If logic is duplicated, if the code is tightly coupled, if there is no separation of concerns, the unit tests will be useless – even if they “test” the class in isolation.

Cut the coverage crap

Metrics lie.

The fact that there’s a bunch of other code which calls 100% of the system’s code and doesn’t contain false assertions doesn’t mean that the code is high quality or doesn’t contain bugs.

In a well designed system, most “logic” will be contained in two “layers” – the controllers and the domain model. These classes should be independent of any and all technological concerns. You can and should get high unit test coverage on classes in these layers. Shoot for 100%, it’s worth it.

Testing domain models is all about asserting state. While using setters to get the domain objects into a necessary initial state is OK, setters should not be used beyond that. Testing controllers is primarily about interactions – mocks will probably be needed for views and service agents. Commands do not need to be mocked out.

Most other layers have some dependence on technology that makes unit tests relatively less valuable. Coverage on these layers is most meaningless. My guidance is to take the effort that would have been spent on unit testing these other layers and invest it all in automated integration tests. You’re likely to get a much higher return on investment. Much higher.

Much.

Everybody’s Right

Developers aren’t just born knowing good design, testing, or anything else. Universities, colleges, and most vendors do little to change that state of affairs. Books help, a bit, but when learning to swim, you’ve got to get your feet wet, and on the job training is, by and large, all there is. As such, lowering the barrier to entry is important.

Keeping in mind the Dreyfus model of knowledge acquisition, it’s not about “dumbing down” software development, it’s about bringing novices up to speed:

“In the beginning [novices] learn to recognize objective facts and features, relevant to the skill. Characteristic of relevant elements are that they can be recognized context-free, i.e. without reference to the overall situation. The novice acquire basic rules to follow, acting upon those facts and features. The rules are also context-free, i.e. no notice is taken to the surroundings. On account of this the novice feels very little responsibility for the result.” (emphasis mine)

Managers are ultimately responsible for the result.

Managers shouldn’t necessarily sacrifice their projects on this altar of learning. Organizations need to find ways for developers to safely practice these techniques as a part of developing their “human resources”. First of all, this needs to be communicated to everyone – that the organization understands the importance of these techniques, the desires of developers to adopt them, and the projects that need to be delivered.

Some projects may be allocated additional non-functional requirements: the software will be developed test-first, there will be at least 80% unit test coverage, etc. It can make sense to have developers spend some time on these projects after finishing one more delivery focused project and before going onto another one. As more developers become proficient with unit testing and design, the delivery focused projects can start to benefit from these skills.

It’s a gradual process.

The Important Bit

No matter how you go about unit testing, do periodic test reviews.

Just like code reviews.

That’s it.

 


Related Posts

Business Process Verification

Self documenting and Test-Driven Alien Artifacts

SOA Testing



Hi. My name’s Udi, and I write crappy code

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

“I am human, therefore I make mistakes. If I make mistakes, then I cannot assume that I will write code that has no mistakes. If I cannot write code that has no mistakes, then I must assume that mistakes are rampant within the code. If mistakes are rampant within the code, then I must find them. But because I make mistakes, then I must also assume that I make mistakes trying to identify the mistakes in the code. Therefore, I will seek the best support I can find in helping me find the mistakes in my code.

Source: Ted Neward’s post: Welcome To The Shitty Code Support Group.

And I consider myself to be a top 10% kind-of-guy.

Imagine the kind of crap all those other people are putting out. Not you, the reader, of course. The fact that you’re reading my writing means you’re a top 10% kind of person too 🙂 

Having good design helps.

Helps decrease the impact mistakes in one part of the system have on other parts.

That way, when I’m working on one part of the system, I only have to deal with my crap. And that’s a good thing. Because I’ve gotten pretty good at fixing my crap over the years.

This movement is definitely a good thing, over all. Moving to a failure-oriented mindset will help us put the appropriate tools and processes in place to making more robust systems, maybe even Non-Stop Software.



Estimate Individually – Fail Globally?

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

After reading Derek Hatchard’s post, The Art and War of Estimating and Scheduling Software, I wanted to follow up on my previous post on the topic, Don’t Trust Developers with Project Management. The problem lies with individualistic thinking.

Developers, and managers too for that matter, by and large are concerned with “productivity”. Developers want the latest tools and technologies so that they can churn out more code faster. Managers create schedules trying to get the maximum efficiency out of each one of their developers. They consider resource utilization and other terms that sound manager-ish.

Fact is, on medium to large sized projects, if you look at the studies you’ll find that developer productivity when measured as total lines of (non-blank) code of the system in production divided by the total number of developer days comes in roughly at 6. Maybe 7.

7 lines of code a day.

Let that sink in for a second.

I can hear the managers screaming already. OMFG, what were they doing all day long?! It takes, what, 10 minutes to put out 7 lines of code? An hour even, if it’s complicated recursive code and stuff. And they say they don’t like us micro-managing them?! Now we know why. It’s because they’re goofing off all day long.

Well, managers, that’s not really the way it goes. You see, you have to take into account the time it took to learn the technology, tools, frameworks, etc. Add to that the time of understanding the requirements, which is really sitting through boring meetings that don’t explain much. Finally, our poor developer actually gets to implement the requirement. Maybe run the system a couple of times, trying out the feature they implemented, and checking the code in.

Well, that’s actually the easy part. Now comes the part which kills most of the time. After a bunch of features have been developed by the team, the testers start banging away at it and find a bunch of bugs. Now the developer has to reverse-engineer some bizarre system behavior and figure out which part of the system is to blame. That involves usually some educated guessing (unless they’ve just joined the team and have been put in the bug-fixer role to “learn the system”, in which case it is thoroughly UNeducated guessing). They change some code, run the system, which looks like its been fixed, check the new code in, and close the bug.

But the bugs keep coming. And as the project progresses towards production, more and more of the developers time is spent looking through code and changing existing code, that actually writing new code.

And the larger the system, the more bugs. And I don’t mean that the number of bugs linearly increases with lines of code, or number of features. It’s probably closer to exponential. If it’s a mission critical system, the performance bugs will be taking an order of magnitude more time to fix than other bugs.

So, as you can see, getting a system into production is a team effort. It includes the developers and testers, of course, but also management, and the customer, and how they manage scope. This is kind of a “duh” statement, but we’re getting to the punch-line.

If getting a system into production involves the entire team, isn’t that obviously true for each feature too?

In which case, why are we asking just the developers to estimate the time it takes to get a feature “done”? Why are we trying so hard to measure their productivity?

I know why. It’s so we can get rid of the less productive ones and give bonuses to the more productive ones!

Back to the main issue. I don’t “trust” developer estimates because I need to see the team’s capability to put features in production. The involves all aspects, and often many team members, in some cases multiple developers going through the same code. This involves all overhead and cross team communication, sick days, etc. It’s also why I try to get multiple data points over time to understand the team’s velocity.

While I care about the quality of my developers, and testers, and everybody on my team and would like them to be able to estimate their work as best they can, I’ve got a project to put into production. And the best way I’ll know when it’ll go into production is by having data that’ll enable me to state to my management:

“Our team is finishing 20 feature-units a month, we’ve got 200 feature-units to go, so we’ll be done in around 10 months.”

If I’m busy micro-measuring each developers estimates, I won’t have the time to see the forest. By first taking a harsh look at the reality of what the team can do, I can start looking for ways to make it better. Maybe the bottleneck is between analysts and developers, maybe we’re seeing the same bugs regressing many times, but until we know where we are, we can’t run controlled experiments to see what makes us better.

Focusing on the individual developer, getting them the latest and greatest tools may be great for their morale, but it probably won’t make a bit of difference to their actual productivity.

Next time – what to do when management asks you what it’ll take to be done sooner.



Successfully Applying Agile to Fixed-Bid Projects

Saturday, September 1st, 2007

Jeremy’s trying to answer some hard questions about agile. I wanted to tackle the issue of fixed-bids, since most of my clients work on those kinds of projects and I managed those projects full-time before becoming a consultant.

So, here’s the thing.

The only way to win on fixed-bid projects, is to bid low, and then rack up the change-requests. This is why people spend so much time documenting requirements, and then getting the client to sign off. It’s so they can prove that something is an actual change request, and thus they don’t have to do it. So, if the client wants to do whatever, they have to pay more money.

The problem is that it pisses off the client.

There’s another, subtler problem. It’s that clients get wise to this game, and front-load every possible requirement requesting total flexibility in everything.

This leads to another problem. We can’t bid low anymore.

Which leads to another problem. The client doesn’t have the budget to pay for the longer list of requirements.

Which leads us back to square one.

Fixed bids are a lose-lose proposition.

You see, if you bid rationally, taking into account the fact that some requirements will change, others will appear mid-way through, and so on, you’re bid will be significantly higher than the other guy who low-balled it. That means that the client will have a very hard time explaining to his management why he wants you to do the project.

So, the only way to win is for the client to realize this and game the system. This is sometimes a fine-line, possibly bordering on illegal when it comes to government contracts.

Once you have a client who understands that the fixed-bid is not in their interest, they will work collaboratively with you to get a reasonable system out the door within the given budget. There will be a lot of give-and-take but it can work. After a system goes into production successfully, it’s a lot easier to get management buy-in for the next version.

Fact is, upper management doesn’t really know all the specific requirements. So, if you don’t do them all, you’re OK, and so is your client.

In these circumstances, agile development is not only possible, but likely.

I know that it’s not really fixed-price, fixed-time, fixed-scope this way. But that’s what makes it successful 🙂



Don't trust developers with project management

Monday, August 6th, 2007

What with all the warm and fuzzy feelings around trusting developers (here, here, and here) I just have to tone it down a bit. The title takes it a bit far – but less than you might think. Just today I had a talk with one of the team leads on the project I’m consulting on. It boiled down to this:

Developers don’t know how to estimate.

Or more specifically, the variance in the actual completion time of a feature from the estimate given by a developer increases probably exponentially with time.

For example, if the estimate is a day, you can expect it to be finished in around a day. If the estimate is a week (5 works days), it will probably vary between 4-10 work days. If the estimate is a month, in all actuallity the developer probably doesn’t know enough to say but will answer when pressed.

This is why Ron (the team lead) asked me if I wasn’t worried I was putting myself in a lose-lose situation by changing the project structure. There were two “teams” when I came in – developers and testers. All the team leads had “committed” to “finishing” the project in 6 months. When I originally proposed the change to more feature-driven teams, mixing skilled and newer developers and testers together on the same team, came the cry:

“It’ll take us twice as long this way.”

“It’s so much less efficient than before.”

And on, and on. What was funny to me was that 3 of the “6” months were already gone and not a single feature worked. We were half “gone”, and nowhere near half done.

The thing is that Ron was sure I was cooking my own goose with upper management. What he, and most other developers don’t know is that upper management has gotten used to the state of things. If developers say one month, management has seen enough history to know that it’ll really be 3-4 months. So when I come in and do things different from what developers are used to, upper management is thrilled – that’s why they brought me in the first place.

The difference is that by working based on features, and measuring project progress by feature-units completed per iteration, I drive down variability. This creates solid data about progress saying when we’ll be done (more or less). This is quite different from the “normal” course of many projects:

“OK, so it’s been 8 months now on your 6 month project. When will you guys be finished already?”

Without the data, your only strategy is hope: “Umm, I hope the developers will be done this week(?)”

Don’t get me wrong. I trust my developers and testers deeply. But it’s not their job to know how to estimate and manage projects. PMs who take developers estimates as is and stake the project on that being correct are setting themselves up for failure – with only themselves to blame.

Now back to your nice warm-and-fuzzy blogging… 🙂



Self-Documenting, Test-Driven Alien Artifacts

Monday, April 16th, 2007

How much, and what kind of documentation do we need to create even if we have “self-documenting code”? Or is that kind of code enough all by itself? I for one yearn for the day where the code really will be enough, and I think that Scott and Ayende do too. First of all, I think that as time progresses, the size of systems that the average developer works on is increasing substantially. And the larger a system is, the more we find a kind of code/design dialect that developers use to talk about that system. I think that these dialects are significantly different between framework/open source code, and application code. So, when a new developer comes in, do we tell them to “just read the code”? Or if the application has gone into production some time ago and now needs to be enhanced but the original team is long gone, what can be done?

What I usually suggest (and practice) is to have some kind of documentation explaining “language” of the system – what things go together, how, and why; and just as importantly, what things must be kept apart. This can be a Software Architecture and Design document, or even videos of the design sessions where things were first discussed. The relevant requirements should be a part of this as well. We need to know that the reason asynchronous messaging was used was for the strenuous scalability requirements, otherwise we might start adding the high-productivity Visual Studio Web Services we like so much.

Continuous integration is a boon to projects who use them. But developers who are only familiar with building solutions in Visual Studio may not be used to working that way, keeping code checked out for weeks at a time.

Test-Driven Development and Architecture will help those who know about it. We should probably write something up about how the system should be enhanced. Side-effect or not, developers and testers will need to know how we test the system – what tools are used in which way and at which stage of the development lifecycle. We could reference existing methodologies as well as in what ways we deviate from them and why.

What sustainable business value do we provide by leaving behind us alien artifacts and practices? I’m not saying not to use state-of-the-art designs, techniques, and practices. On the contrary, I think that they are the key to sustainable business value. Necessary, but not sufficient. Documentation, of whatever flavor you find most suitable to each specific thing you are documenting, should be considered by the team as a whole, and the conclusions presented to stakeholders. The famous Chrysler C3 project’s long-term business value is shaky as the result of those stakeholders decision that documentation wasn’t necessary – in no way was the Agile process faulty in that respect.

Finally, you may be surprised the holes you find in your own thinking when forced to write down and explain to someone just coming in “how we do things around here”, I know I was. I can tell you that in the cases where I did that exercise, several stupid, costly mistakes were avoided. Fleshing out your thinking isn’t necessarily big design up front (BDUF), it’s just smart.



Communication, Risk, and Your Career

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

Over on the Real-World Software Architecture blog I just read a great post, “I want what I want when I say I want it”. Does this sound like one of your customers/managers?

I wonder if these people go into Burger King, order a # 5, and finish the order by saying, and I would like that done in 60 seconds. Then do they proceed to ask every 10 seconds if the order is done? When they hit the 60 second mark do they start screaming at the top of their lungs “I told you I wanted that order in 60 seconds. If you don’t have it to me in the next 15 seconds I want my money back and the order for free.”?

I recently had the pleasure of working with a customer who “got it”. First of all, they understood that they couldn’t really set scope, time, and cost. Or rather, if they did, then quality – the main property that they had the least power over, would suffer. This could manifest itself in terms of an ugly or unusable user interface, or poor scalability – resulting in sky-rocketing operations costs. In short, they understood that in order to get what they really wanted, they had to give up “control”, or rather the illusion of control. By working collaboratively with the development team, they were able to get a good looking and workable prototype out in time for a tradeshow, as well as do a load test early in the project to see that the architecture was scalable.

Risk is an inherent part of all projects, to a lesser or greater degree. We need to manage risk by including risk-reduction activities (like load tests) into the project schedule. Some customers don’t understand that. It is therefore our responsibility to explain that, although this isn’t a value-creating activity, it is still necessary – or rather what cost could manifest later as a result of ignoring the risk (sky-rocketing operations costs).

But at the end of the day, the buck doesn’t stop here, I’m afraid. It’s not the development team’s money. If the customer chooses to make decisions that increase project risk, it is their choice. It is our responsibility to make them aware of the ramifications of their choices. It is good practice to document these decisions so that if (when) they come back to bite us, we can show that we communicated the possible outcomes ahead of time. I can tell you that it is a huge relief when you have an email record to counter “This system is slow. I thought you knew how to make a system that could handle this many users! Now you’re going to tell me that you have to take down the whole system to fix it – do you know how much that costs?!”

I don’t know why customers behave these ways, I just know that they do. I also know that I have to protect myself and my team from it. But, so as not to end on a doom-and-gloom note, I have found that by communicating more with my customers, I find out all sorts of interesting things. For instance, it’s not that they don’t want us to load test, it’s just that they don’t want us to do it now – they need to get something ready for the tradeshow. They just didn’t think it was important to tell us that.

So, reach out. I know I was surprised by the amount of illogical behaviour that disappeared once I started communicating, despite the customer’s apparent inapproachability. It just might save your project, or your career.



   


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Recommendations

Bryan Wheeler, Director Platform Development at msnbc.com
Udi Dahan is the real deal.

We brought him on site to give our development staff the 5-day “Advanced Distributed System Design” training. The course profoundly changed our understanding and approach to SOA and distributed systems.

Consider some of the evidence: 1. Months later, developers still make allusions to concepts learned in the course nearly every day 2. One of our developers went home and made her husband (a developer at another company) sign up for the course at a subsequent date/venue 3. Based on what we learned, we’ve made constant improvements to our architecture that have helped us to adapt to our ever changing business domain at scale and speed If you have the opportunity to receive the training, you will make a substantial paradigm shift.

If I were to do the whole thing over again, I’d start the week by playing the clip from the Matrix where Morpheus offers Neo the choice between the red and blue pills. Once you make the intellectual leap, you’ll never look at distributed systems the same way.

Beyond the training, we were able to spend some time with Udi discussing issues unique to our business domain. Because Udi is a rare combination of a big picture thinker and a low level doer, he can quickly hone in on various issues and quickly make good (if not startling) recommendations to help solve tough technical issues.” November 11, 2010

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“Udi, one of the great minds in this area.
A man I respect immensely.”





Ian Robinson Ian Robinson, Principal Consultant at ThoughtWorks
"Your blog and articles have been enormously useful in shaping, testing and refining my own approach to delivering on SOA initiatives over the last few years. Over and against a certain 3-layer-application-architecture-blown-out-to- distributed-proportions school of SOA, your writing, steers a far more valuable course."

Shy Cohen Shy Cohen, Senior Program Manager at Microsoft
“Udi is a world renowned software architect and speaker. I met Udi at a conference that we were both speaking at, and immediately recognized his keen insight and razor-sharp intellect. Our shared passion for SOA and the advancement of its practice launched a discussion that lasted into the small hours of the night.
It was evident through that discussion that Udi is one of the most knowledgeable people in the SOA space. It was also clear why – Udi does not settle for mediocrity, and seeks to fully understand (or define) the logic and principles behind things.
Humble yet uncompromising, Udi is a pleasure to interact with.”

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“I have known Udi for many years having attended his workshops and having several personal interactions including working with him when we were building our Composite Application Guidance in patterns & practices. What impresses me about Udi is his deep insight into how to address business problems through sound architecture. Backed by many years of building mission critical real world distributed systems it is no wonder that Udi is the best at what he does. When customers have deep issues with their system design, I point them Udi's way.”

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“I have been following Udi’s blog and podcasts since 2007. I’m convinced that he is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced people in the field of SOA, EDA and large scale systems.
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“Udi is one of the outstanding software development minds in the world today, his vast insights into Service Oriented Architectures and Smart Clients in particular are indeed a rare commodity. Udi is also an exceptional teacher and can help lead teams to fall into the pit of success. I would recommend Udi to anyone considering some Architecural guidance and support in their next project.”

Ohad Israeli Ohad Israeli, Chief Architect at Hewlett-Packard, Indigo Division
“When you need a man to do the job Udi is your man! No matter if you are facing near deadline deadlock or at the early stages of your development, if you have a problem Udi is the one who will probably be able to solve it, with his large experience at the industry and his widely horizons of thinking , he is always full of just in place great architectural ideas.
I am honored to have Udi as a colleague and a friend (plus having his cell phone on my speed dial).”

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“Everyone will tell you how smart and knowledgable Udi is ... and they are oh-so-right. Let me add that Udi is a smart LISTENER. He's always calibrating what he has to offer with your needs and your experience ... looking for the fit. He has strongly held views ... and the ability to temper them with the nuances of the situation.
I trust Udi to tell me what I need to hear, even if I don't want to hear it, ... in a way that I can hear it. That's a rare skill to go along with his command and intelligence.”

Eli Brin, Program Manager at RISCO Group
“We hired Udi as a SOA specialist for a large scale project. The development is outsourced to India. SOA is a buzzword used almost for anything today. We wanted to understand what SOA really is, and what is the meaning and practice to develop a SOA based system.
We identified Udi as the one that can put some sense and order in our minds. We started with a private customized SOA training for the entire team in Israel. After that I had several focused sessions regarding our architecture and design.
I will summarize it simply (as he is the software simplist): We are very happy to have Udi in our project. It has a great benefit. We feel good and assured with the knowledge and practice he brings. He doesn’t talk over our heads. We assimilated nServicebus as the ESB of the project. I highly recommend you to bring Udi into your project.”

Catherine Hole Catherine Hole, Senior Project Manager at the Norwegian Health Network
“My colleagues and I have spent five interesting days with Udi - diving into the many aspects of SOA. Udi has shown impressive abilities of understanding organizational challenges, and has brought the business perspective into our way of looking at services. He has an excellent understanding of the many layers from business at the top to the technical infrstructure at the bottom. He is a great listener, and manages to simplify challenges in a way that is understandable both for developers and CEOs, and all the specialists in between.”

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“Udi has a unique, in depth understanding of service oriented architecture and how it should be used in the real world, combined with excellent presentation skills. I think Udi should be a premier choice for a consultant or architect of distributed systems.”

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One simple sentence saved us from implementing a wrong product and finding that out after years of development. No matter whether our former decisions were confirmed or altered, it gave us great confidence to move forward relying on the experience, industry best-practices and time-proven techniques that Udi shared with us.
It was a distinct pleasure and a unique opportunity to learn from someone who is among the best at what he does.”

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“Udi is a respected visionary on SOA and EDA, whose opinion I most of the time (if not always) highly agree with. The nice thing about Udi is that he is able to explain architectural concepts in terms of practical code-level examples.”

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“Having followed Udi's blog and other writings for a number of years I attended Udi's two day course on 'Loosely Coupled Messaging with NServiceBus' at SkillsMatter, London.

I would strongly recommend this course to anyone with an interest in how to develop IT systems which provide immediate and future fitness for purpose. An influential and innovative thought leader and practitioner in his field, Udi demonstrates and shares a phenomenally in depth knowledge that proves his position as one of the premier experts in his field globally.

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I cannot recommend Udi, and his courses, highly enough.”

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You are an excellent speaker and trainer, Udi, and I've had the fortunate experience of having attended one of your presentations. I believe that you are a knowledgable and intelligent man.”

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“Udi has provided us with guidance in system architecture and supports our implementation of NServiceBus in our core business application.

He accompanied us in all stages of our development cycle and helped us put vision into real life distributed scalable software. He brought fresh thinking, great in depth of understanding software, and ongoing support that proved as valuable and cost effective.

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With Udi's attention to details, and knowledge we avoided pit falls that would cost us dearly.”

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“Udi delivered a 5 hour long workshop on SOA for aspiring architects in Norway. While keeping everyone awake and excited Udi gave us some great insights and really delivered on making complex software challenges simple. Truly the software simplist.”

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“I know Udi very well from our mutual work at KorenTec. During the analysis and design of a complex, distributed C4I system - where the basic concepts of NServiceBus start to emerge - I gained a lot of "Udi's hours" so I can surely say that he is a professional, skilled architect with fresh ideas and unique perspective for solving complex architecture challenges. His ideas, concepts and parts of the artifacts are the basis of several state-of-the-art C4I systems that I was involved in their architecture design.”

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Awesome. Just awesome.

We’d been meaning to delve into messaging at Eleutian after multiple discussions with and blog posts from Greg Young and Udi Dahan in the past. We weren’t entirely sure where to start, how to start, what tools to use, how to use them, etc. Being able to sit in a room with Udi for an entire week while he described exactly how, why and what he does to tackle a massive enterprise system was invaluable to say the least.

We now have a much better direction and, more importantly, have the confidence we need to start introducing these powerful concepts into production at Eleutian.”

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“A thinking person. Brought fresh and valuable ideas that helped us in architecting our product. When recommending a solution he supports it with evidence and detail so you can successfully act based on it. Udi's support "comes on all levels" - As the solution architect through to the detailed class design. Trustworthy!”

Chris Bilson Chris Bilson, Developer at Russell Investment Group
“I had the pleasure of attending a workshop Udi led at the Seattle ALT.NET conference in February 2009. I have been reading Udi's articles and listening to his podcasts for a long time and have always looked to him as a source of advice on software architecture.
When I actually met him and talked to him I was even more impressed. Not only is Udi an extremely likable person, he's got that rare gift of being able to explain complex concepts and ideas in a way that is easy to understand.
All the attendees of the workshop greatly appreciate the time he spent with us and the amazing insights into service oriented architecture he shared with us.”

Alexey Shestialtynov Alexey Shestialtynov, Senior .Net Developer at Candidate Manager
“I met Udi at Candidate Manager where he was brought in part-time as a consultant to help the company make its flagship product more scalable. For me, even after 30 years in software development, working with Udi was a great learning experience. I simply love his fresh ideas and architecture insights.
As we all know it is not enough to be armed with best tools and technologies to be successful in software - there is still human factor involved. When, as it happens, the project got in trouble, management asked Udi to step into a leadership role and bring it back on track. This he did in the span of a month. I can only wish that things had been done this way from the very beginning.
I look forward to working with Udi again in the future.”

Christopher Bennage Christopher Bennage, President at Blue Spire Consulting, Inc.
“My company was hired to be the primary development team for a large scale and highly distributed application. Since these are not necessarily everyday requirements, we wanted to bring in some additional expertise. We chose Udi because of his blogging, podcasting, and speaking. We asked him to to review our architectural strategy as well as the overall viability of project.
I was very impressed, as Udi demonstrated a broad understanding of the sorts of problems we would face. His advice was honest and unbiased and very pragmatic. Whenever I questioned him on particular points, he was able to backup his opinion with real life examples. I was also impressed with his clarity and precision. He was very careful to untangle the meaning of words that might be overloaded or otherwise confusing. While Udi's hourly rate may not be the cheapest, the ROI is undoubtedly a deal. I would highly recommend consulting with Udi.”

Robert Lewkovich, Product / Development Manager at Eggs Overnight
“Udi's advice and consulting were a huge time saver for the project I'm responsible for. The $ spent were well worth it and provided me with a more complete understanding of nServiceBus and most importantly in helping make the correct architectural decisions earlier thereby reducing later, and more expensive, rework.”

Ray Houston Ray Houston, Director of Development at TOPAZ Technologies
“Udi's SOA class made me smart - it was awesome.

The class was very well put together. The materials were clear and concise and Udi did a fantastic job presenting it. It was a good mixture of lecture, coding, and question and answer. I fully expected that I would be taking notes like crazy, but it was so well laid out that the only thing I wrote down the entire course was what I wanted for lunch. Udi provided us with all the lecture materials and everyone has access to all of the samples which are in the nServiceBus trunk.

Now I know why Udi is the "Software Simplist." I was amazed to find that all the code and solutions were indeed very simple. The patterns that Udi presented keep things simple by isolating complexity so that it doesn't creep into your day to day code. The domain code looks the same if it's running in a single process or if it's running in 100 processes.”

Ian Cooper Ian Cooper, Team Lead at Beazley
“Udi is one of the leaders in the .Net development community, one of the truly smart guys who do not just get best architectural practice well enough to educate others but drives innovation. Udi consistently challenges my thinking in ways that make me better at what I do.”

Liron Levy, Team Leader at Rafael
“I've met Udi when I worked as a team leader in Rafael. One of the most senior managers there knew Udi because he was doing superb architecture job in another Rafael project and he recommended bringing him on board to help the project I was leading.
Udi brought with him fresh solutions and invaluable deep architecture insights. He is an authority on SOA (service oriented architecture) and this was a tremendous help in our project.
On the personal level - Udi is a great communicator and can persuade even the most difficult audiences (I was part of such an audience myself..) by bringing sound explanations that draw on his extensive knowledge in the software business. Working with Udi was a great learning experience for me, and I'll be happy to work with him again in the future.”

Adam Dymitruk Adam Dymitruk, Director of IT at Apara Systems
“I met Udi for the first time at DevTeach in Montreal back in early 2007. While Udi is usually involved in SOA subjects, his knowledge spans all of a software development company's concerns. I would not hesitate to recommend Udi for any company that needs excellent leadership, mentoring, problem solving, application of patterns, implementation of methodologies and straight out solution development.
There are very few people in the world that are as dedicated to their craft as Udi is to his. At ALT.NET Seattle, Udi explained many core ideas about SOA. The team that I brought with me found his workshop and other talks the highlight of the event and provided the most value to us and our organization. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to recommend him.”

Eytan Michaeli Eytan Michaeli, CTO Korentec
“Udi was responsible for a major project in the company, and as a chief architect designed a complex multi server C4I system with many innovations and excellent performance.”


Carl Kenne Carl Kenne, .Net Consultant at Dotway AB
“Udi's session "DDD in Enterprise apps" was truly an eye opener. Udi has a great ability to explain complex enterprise designs in a very comprehensive and inspiring way. I've seen several sessions on both DDD and SOA in the past, but Udi puts it in a completly new perspective and makes us understand what it's all really about. If you ever have a chance to see any of Udi's sessions in the future, take it!”

Avi Nehama, R&D Project Manager at Retalix
“Not only that Udi is a briliant software architecture consultant, he also has remarkable abilities to present complex ideas in a simple and concise manner, and...
always with a smile. Udi is indeed a top-league professional!”

Ben Scheirman Ben Scheirman, Lead Developer at CenterPoint Energy
“Udi is one of those rare people who not only deeply understands SOA and domain driven design, but also eloquently conveys that in an easy to grasp way. He is patient, polite, and easy to talk to. I'm extremely glad I came to his workshop on SOA.”

Scott C. Reynolds Scott C. Reynolds, Director of Software Engineering at CBLPath
“Udi is consistently advancing the state of thought in software architecture, service orientation, and domain modeling.
His mastery of the technologies and techniques is second to none, but he pairs that with a singular ability to listen and communicate effectively with all parties, technical and non, to help people arrive at context-appropriate solutions. Every time I have worked with Udi, or attended a talk of his, or just had a conversation with him I have come away from it enriched with new understanding about the ideas discussed.”

Evgeny-Hen Osipow, Head of R&D at PCLine
“Udi has helped PCLine on projects by implementing architectural blueprints demonstrating the value of simple design and code.”

Rhys Campbell Rhys Campbell, Owner at Artemis West
“For many years I have been following the works of Udi. His explanation of often complex design and architectural concepts are so cleanly broken down that even the most junior of architects can begin to understand these concepts. These concepts however tend to typify the "real world" problems we face daily so even the most experienced software expert will find himself in an "Aha!" moment when following Udi teachings.
It was a pleasure to finally meet Udi in Seattle Alt.Net OpenSpaces 2008, where I was pleasantly surprised at how down-to-earth and approachable he was. His depth and breadth of software knowledge also became apparent when discussion with his peers quickly dove deep in to the problems we current face. If given the opportunity to work with or recommend Udi I would quickly take that chance. When I think .Net Architecture, I think Udi.”

Sverre Hundeide Sverre Hundeide, Senior Consultant at Objectware
“Udi had been hired to present the third LEAP master class in Oslo. He is an well known international expert on enterprise software architecture and design, and is the author of the open source messaging framework nServiceBus. The entire class was based on discussion and interaction with the audience, and the only Power Point slide used was the one showing the agenda.
He started out with sketching a naive traditional n-tier application (big ball of mud), and based on suggestions from the audience we explored different solutions which might improve the solution. Whatever suggestions we threw at him, he always had a thoroughly considered answer describing pros and cons with the suggested solution. He obviously has a lot of experience with real world enterprise SOA applications.”

Raphaël Wouters Raphaël Wouters, Owner/Managing Partner at Medinternals
“I attended Udi's excellent course 'Advanced Distributed System Design with SOA and DDD' at Skillsmatter. Few people can truly claim such a high skill and expertise level, present it using a pragmatic, concrete no-nonsense approach and still stay reachable.”

Nimrod Peleg Nimrod Peleg, Lab Engineer at Technion IIT
“One of the best programmers and software engineer I've ever met, creative, knows how to design and implemet, very collaborative and finally - the applications he designed implemeted work for many years without any problems!

Jose Manuel Beas
“When I attended Udi's SOA Workshop, then it suddenly changed my view of what Service Oriented Architectures were all about. Udi explained complex concepts very clearly and created a very productive discussion environment where all the attendees could learn a lot. I strongly recommend hiring Udi.”

Daniel Jin Daniel Jin, Senior Lead Developer at PJM Interconnection
“Udi is one of the top SOA guru in the .NET space. He is always eager to help others by sharing his knowledge and experiences. His blog articles often offer deep insights and is a invaluable resource. I highly recommend him.”

Pasi Taive Pasi Taive, Chief Architect at Tieto
“I attended both of Udi's "UI Composition Key to SOA Success" and "DDD in Enterprise Apps" sessions and they were exceptionally good. I will definitely participate in his sessions again. Udi is a great presenter and has the ability to explain complex issues in a manner that everyone understands.”

Eran Sagi, Software Architect at HP
“So far, I heard about Service Oriented architecture all over. Everyone mentions it – the big buzz word. But, when I actually asked someone for what does it really mean, no one managed to give me a complete satisfied answer. Finally in his excellent course “Advanced Distributed Systems”, I got the answers I was looking for. Udi went over the different motivations (principles) of Services Oriented, explained them well one by one, and showed how each one could be technically addressed using NService bus. In his course, Udi also explain the way of thinking when coming to design a Service Oriented system. What are the questions you need to ask yourself in order to shape your system, place the logic in the right places for best Service Oriented system.

I would recommend this course for any architect or developer who deals with distributed system, but not only. In my work we do not have a real distributed system, but one PC which host both the UI application and the different services inside, all communicating via WCF. I found that many of the architecture principles and motivations of SOA apply for our system as well. Enough that you have SW partitioned into components and most of the principles becomes relevant to you as well. Bottom line – an excellent course recommended to any SW Architect, or any developer dealing with distributed system.”

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