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August 13th: Joe Roberts on SOA Vs Monolithasaurus + Agile – so what’s that all about then? with David Bryant

posted 23 Aug 2013, 06:00 by Royd Brayshay   [ updated 23 Aug 2013, 07:06 by Neil McLaughlin ]
Joe Roberts and his Monothithasaurus
Agile Yorkshire has been enjoying record registrations and attendance over the past few months and the August gathering was no exception. With all places gone within ninety minutes of registration opening and over thirty people on the waiting list, Agile Yorkshire is going from strength to strength. This is born out not just by the attendance but by the diversity and quality of speakers emerging from within the community. Representing polar opposites in terms of organisation size, Joe Roberts (@zefer) and David Bryant told the group how agile thinking was making a difference to how they work.

David Bryant, from the NHS Information Centre software senior leadership team, opened to a packed room with an honest and insightful account of the agile journey his organisation has taken over the past few years. He was followed by Joe Roberts the CTO of Magnolia Box, a tech start-up from Harrogate with customers including the National Gallery and the Science Museum in London. He spoke of the engineering path they had taken as the business evolved and strategy shifted from building up to scaling out and how tactics changed from a monolithic architecture to loosely coupled service orientation.

David Bryant on an agile journey.

Service Oriented Architecture has been talked about for a few years now and is generally more often associated with stories of expensive vendor middle ware and extensive enterprise architecture documentation. Joe of course, while acknowledging this view point, set about his debunking exercise by detailing his use of REST, Ruby and Rabbit MQ (or similar). Explaining how, with a tiny team they set about refactoring their “monolithasaurus” into a several, single responsibility services and in the process unlocked more value for their growing business through reuse. The real world example he cited was hydra.io, previously buried within their infrastructure, now exposed (and marketed) as a stand alone artwork printing service. His delivery was complete with a hand drawn slide deck Tony Hart would have been proud of.

When someone like David Bryant stands up in front of a room full of people at an event called Agile Yorkshire and declares their starting point as "agile skepticism",  you know the story that follows will not only be honest and candid; but probably resonate with much of the Agile Yorkshire audience  During the break and in the pub afterwards people could be heard comparing their own journey and moments of doubt. His message was the plain and simple – agility is a journey not a destination and nothing is more persuasive or influential than actually getting things done and being successful. Even in an organisation the size of the NHS patience and hard work can win the day.

As always, the evening finished with a prize draw with an array of prizes from some of our sponsors (O'Reilly, JetBRAINS and now Manning) to give away.


Finally, our gatherings would not be possible without the support of all our sponsors plus the time and effort freely donated by Agile Yorkshire's team of organisers and volunteers.

See you next month,

Royd.
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