Must-Read Books on Microservices and Agile IT

Posted by Markus Merz on September 30, 2020


LeanIX uses microservices to faster deliver and manage its innovations to the world of enterprise architecture. Month to month, 1.5 million updates occur in LeanIX inventories globally, and since 2015, a flexible microservices infrastructure has been built to handle the company's internal needs atop those of its customers.

But technological marvels aside, microservices are a practical way for LeanIX as a business to do three specific things very well: (1) accelerate time-to-market, (2) scale and grow, and (3) operate efficiently. And as explained in his EA Connect Days 2020 presentation, it’s a subject that Dominik Rose, LeanIX Director Customer Success Engineering, advises others to read as much as they can about in order to utilize successfully.

As recommended by LeanIX’s Dominik Rose, here are five must-read books on microservices and managing Agile IT in organizations:

1. “Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps”

By Gene Kim, Nicole Forsgren, and Jez Humble


In coordination with Puppet, a configuration management and deployment tool, “Accelerate” offers insights on continuous delivery from three authors who have spent years studying high-performing technology organizations. Of note, Humble and Kim collaborated previously on the “The DevOps Handbook”, and with this thematic sequel co-written by Nicole Forsgren, survey-based research is used to qualify emerging best practices on software delivery. Based on the enterprises studied, key takeaways include building up cultures of experimentation while nonetheless anchoring everything to technical and management capabilities. Point being, continuous delivery will only guarantee continuous improvement based on the frameworks of the work environment itself.

2. “Monolith to Microservices: Evolutionary Patterns to Transform Your Monolith”

By Sam Newman

monolith_to_microservicesLondon-based technologist Sam Newman has become a guiding light on the subject of microservices architectures for enterprises worldwide. In “Monolith to Microservices”, the author covers nearly every element of transitioning to microservices, including migration patterns, database transitions and decompositions, and synchronization strategies. What’s particularly useful about Newman’s book is that it offers scenarios at each stage of the migration from monolithic to microservices architecture to better help readers of any industry and company size contextualize their needs.

3. "Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win" / "The Unicorn Project: A Novel about Developers, Digital Disruption, and Thriving in the Age of Data"

By Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford

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It’s not often that books about Agile IT methodologies are described as entertaining, but Rose has assured us that these are two legitimately fun novels written by Gene Kim on the subject of DevOps and disruption. Beginning with “The Unicorn Project”, Kim has written a business-novel about a software developer learning the best practices of Agile IT organizations first-hand. Encountering challenges such as automated QA, democratized access, and work-life imbalances, the story faithfully captures both the dynamism and idiosyncrasies of DevOps environments. The same can be said about “The Phoenix Project”, which Kim co-wrote alongside Kevin Behr and George Spafford. In this fictionalized account of a CIO attempting to meet an impossible corporate target, Kim shows just how much success with continuous software delivery is based on intangible elements such as risk appetite and top-down cultures of innovation.

4. "Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders"

By Jurgen Appelo


Jurgen Appelo’s book is a re-affirming look at the importance of traditional management principles in the age of Agile IT. Mixing ideas sourced from biological science, chaos theory, organizational psychology, and Agile and Lean methodologies, Appelo presents welcome solutions on how to motivate individuals through tools and communication in order to stimulate repeatable forms of innovation. A major takeaway is that team leaders and development managers must be willing to accept that leadership has fundamentally changed in the 21st century, and Appelo shows how bosses can retain control while nonetheless enabling new forms of excellence.

5. "The Deadline: A Novel About Project Management"

By Tom DeMarco


Though not a perfect book on microservices, Tom DeMarco’s novel is a good-humored story that deconstructs many conventions about project management and software development. DeMarco’s writing focuses as much on the processes underlying modern IT management as it does the people itself, and at the centre of the book is a plot involving numerous crazed experiments offering readers plenty of chances to draw parallels to the way projects are perhaps conducted inside their own organizations. 



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