Accelerate - Nicole Forsgren PhD, Jez Humble and Gene Kim
19 April 2023
Perhaps by good fortune, I have had the pleasure of working for some amazing companies over the years that have
incorporated many of the indicators that high performing organizations possess and that I now know in formal
detail, having read Accelerate by Nicole Forsgren PhD, Jez Humble and Gene Kim.
Although starting to fell a little dated in 2023, it is still a must read classic for anyone working in IT or
Here are some of my notes.
Chapter 2: Measuring Performance
Chapter 3: Measuring and Changing Culture
- Figure 3.1: Likert-Type Questions for Measuring Culture
- Strongly disagree, Disagree, Somewhat disagree, Neither agree nor disagree, Somewhat agree, Agree, Strongly agree
- Information actively sought?
- Messengers are not punished when they deliver news of failures or other bad news?
- Responsibilities are shared?
- Cross-functional collaboration is encouraged and rewarded?
- Failure causes inquiry?
- New ideas are welcomed?
- Failures are treated primarily as opportunities to improve the system?
- How organisations deal with failures or accidents is particularly instructive. Pathological organisations look for a
‘throat to choke’.
- Investigations aim to find the person or persons responsible for the problem, and then punish or blame them.
- Failure in complex systems is, like all other types of behaviour in such systems, emergent.
- Thus, accident investigations that stop at ‘human error’ are not just bad but dangerous.
Chapter 5: Architecture
- The fact that low performers were more likely to be using - or integrating against - custom software developed by
another company underlines the importance of bring this capability in-house.
- The ‘inverse Conway Manoeuvre’, which states that organisation should evolve their team and organisational structure
to achieve the desired architecture.
- The goal is for for your architecture to support support the ability of teams to get their work done - from design
through to deployment - without requiring high-bandwidth communication between teams.
- Architecture approaches that support this: bounded contexts, APIs, containerisation.
Chapter 11: Leaders and Managers
- The five characteristics of transformational leaders are:
- Has a clear understanding of where we are going?
- Has a clear sense of where he/she wants our team to be in five years.
- Has a clear idea of where the organisation is going.
- Inspiring communication
- Says things that make employees proud to be part of the organisation.
- Says positive things about the work unit.
- Encourages people to see changing environments as situations full of opportunities.
- Intellectual stimulation
- Challenges me to think about old problems in new ways.
- Has ideas that have forced me to rethink some things that I have never questioned before.
- Has challenged me to rethink some of my basic assumptions about my work.
- Supportive leadership
- Personal recognition
- Hold regular interval DevOps mini-conferences. We’ve seen organisations achieve success using the classic DevOpsDays
format, which combines pre-prepared talks with “open spaces” where participants self-organise to propose and facilitate
their own sessions.