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The Mikado Method [Paperback]

Ola Ellnestam , Daniel Brolund
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 27.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

17 Mar 2014


The Mikado Method is a book written by the creators of this process. It describes a pragmatic, straightforward, and empirical method to plan and perform non-trivial technical improvements on an existing software system. The method has simple rules, but the applicability is vast. As you read, you'll practice a step-by-step system for identifying the scope and nature of your technical debt, mapping the key dependencies, and determining the safest way to approach the "Mikado"—your goal.

About the Technology

The game "pick-up sticks" is a good metaphor for the Mikado Method. You eliminate "technical debt" —the legacy problems embedded in nearly every software system— by following a set of easy-to-implement rules. You carefully extract each intertwined dependency until you expose the central issue, without collapsing the project.

About the Book

The Mikado Method presents a pragmatic process to plan and perform nontrivial technical improvements on an existing software system. The book helps you practice a step-by-step system for identifying the scope and nature of your technical debt, mapping the key dependencies, and determining a safe way to approach the "Mikado"—your goal. A natural by-product of this process is the Mikado Graph, a roadmap that reflects deep understanding of how your system works. This book builds on agile processes such as refactoring, TDD, and rapid feedback. It requires no special hardware or software and can be practiced by both small and large teams.

Purchase of the print book includes a free eBook in PDF, Kindle, and ePub formats from Manning Publications.

What's Inside

  • Understand your technical debt
  • Surface the dependencies in legacy systems
  • Isolate and resolve core concerns while creating minimal disruption
  • Create a roadmap for your changes

About the Authors

Ola Ellnestam and Daniel Brolund are developers, coaches, and team leaders. They developed the Mikado Method in response to years of experience resolving technical debt in complex legacy systems.

Table of Contents

  1. Meet the Mikado Method
  2. Hello, Mikado Method!
  3. Goals, graphs, and guidelines
  4. Organizing your work
  6. Breaking up a monolith
  7. Emergent design
  8. Common restructuring patterns

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The Mikado Method + Kanban in Action
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Manning Publications; 1 edition (17 Mar 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1617291218
  • ISBN-13: 978-1617291210
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 19.2 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 973,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Ola Ellnestam is a coach and mentor for both business and technical teams. He loves to combine technology, people and business. He has developed complex computer systems within health care, defense, and on-line banking. He knows that software must be easy to use, extend, and deploy in order to be worth developing. More than anything else, he likes to share his discoveries and knowledge with others because he believes that this is how new knowledge and insight is created.

Daniel Brolund is a software developer that always sees things to improve—to the joy and grief of his fellow workers. He has successfully worked with global web sites deployed on hundreds of servers, desktop applications for just a few users, and on-line gaming applications, just to mention a few.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Mr G.
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book on the description it would help refactor large code bases. The suggestions inside are really obvious and any programmer with any experience would already know it.

I can save you buying the book:-

(a) Identify the problem (part of the system you want to refactor)
(b) Draw a diagram like a flow-chart showing how to get to your goal
(c) Follow a step in the flow-chart
(d) Record (tick or cross) if the step worked
(e) Try another step or draw a new branch on the diagram
(f) Repeat.

I strongly recommend getting a better book like the classic : Martin Fowler's Refactoring
Or watch any Youtube video for adding unit testing to legacy software.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can Change the Way You Develop Software 25 April 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
The Mikado Method was one of the more thought provoking books I have read about software development; it has significantly influenced my day-to-day work and has really made me re-evaluate the way I approach software development. In one sentence, I would say that the Mikado Method is a form of planning one's work that is somewhat similar to natural planning as described by David Allen in Getting Things Done that acts as an overlaying methodology to the techniques listed by Michael Feathers in Working Effectively with Legacy Code and Martin Fowler et al in Refactoring. A useful effect of the Mikado Method is that it allows one to accurately demonstrate visibility and progress in midstream during a large scale change to stakeholders. Another nice property of the book is that it contains the best description of technical debt that I have yet seen in software development literature.

In sum, this book was concise, it has proven extremely useful, and it was definitely a worthwhile read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dan and Ola identified how I worked when I was effective. 17 Aug 2014
By George Dinwiddie - Published on Amazon.com
I've practiced Test Driven Development (TDD) for years, and have, on numerous occasions, dealt with legacy code that has no unit tests. Over time, I learned to isolate parts of the code so that I could modify them using the techniques of TDD. This allowed me to work with more safety, and move faster with less worry about breaking things I didn't know existed.

When I first read this book, I realized that Dan and Ola had identified the root technique I used when getting legacy code under control. Only they had made it explicit and repeatable, where I was doing it in a "seat of the pants" "keep it all in my head" style. My style often worked, but it had many flaws. Sometimes the amount of stuff I had to keep in my head overflowed by memory buffer, and important details would get forgotten. Sometimes I failed to roll back a change that didn't work while dealing with a dependency, and would get to a point where I had too many things not working to effectively move forward. Too often I had to roll back a full day's work and start again, learning less from the experience than I could have.

Following the Mikado Method lets me deal with legacy code much more reliably. When helping people who are working on existing systems, I now recommend the combination of this book and Michael Feathers' Working Effectively with Legacy Code. The combination gives them the tools to make a great start in the right direction.
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