“Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit” by Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck

“Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit” by Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck was a time capsule book for us. Even though it was published in 2003, it’s still applicable and brilliant in so many areas of software and development.

On top of that, it’s full of interesting stories and side comments from Mary and Tom.
For Paul, it was the second time reading the book. It’s very interesting to see how useful it was back then and what changed during those 13 years. For Justyna, it was the first time reading the book, which gave her an idea how Scrum Masters, team members or Product Owners can benefit from it as well.

In the second part of this months podcast, our hosts are joined by the authors of the book.

About the book

Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit

  • Adapting agile practices to your development organization
  • Uncovering and eradicating waste throughout the software development lifecycle
  • Practical techniques for every development manager, project manager, and technical leader

Lean software development: applying agile principles to your organization

In Lean Software Development, Mary and Tom Poppendieck identify seven fundamental “lean” principles, adapt them for the world of software development, and show how they can serve as the foundation for agile development approaches that work. Along the way, they introduce 22 “thinking tools” that can help you customize the right agile practices for any environment.

Better, cheaper, faster software development. You can have all three–if you adopt the same lean principles that have already revolutionized manufacturing, logistics and product development.

  • Iterating towards excellence: software development as an exercise in discovery
  • Managing uncertainty: “decide as late as possible” by building change into the system.
  • Compressing the value stream: rapid development, feedback, and improvement
  • Empowering teams and individuals without compromising coordination
  • Software with integrity: promoting coherence, usability, fitness, maintainability, and adaptability
  • How to “see the whole”–even when your developers are scattered across multiple locations and contractors

Simply put, Lean Software Development helps you refocus development on value, flow, and people–so you can achieve breakthrough quality, savings, speed, and business alignment.

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About the authors

Mary Poppendieck started her career as a process control programmer, moved on to manage the IT department of a manufacturing plant, and then ended up in product development, where she was both a product champion and department manager.

Mary considered retirement 1998, but instead found herself managing a government software project where she first encountered the word “waterfall.” When Mary compared her experience in successful software and product development to the prevailing opinions about how to manage software projects, she decided the time had come for a new paradigm. She wrote the award-winning book Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit in 2003 to explain how the lean principles from manufacturing offer a better approach to software development.

Tom Poppendieck has 25 years of experience in computing including eight years of work with object technology. His modeling and mentoring skills are rooted in his experience as a physics professor. His early work was in IT infrastructure, product development, and manufacturing support, and evolved to consulting project assignments in healthcare, logistics, mortgage banking, and travel services.

Tom led the development of a world-class product data management practice for a major commercial avionics manufacturer that reduced design to production transition efforts from 6 months to 6 weeks. He also led the technical architecture team for very large national and international Baan and SAP implementations.

Tom Poppendieck is an enterprise analyst and architect, and an agile process mentor. He focuses on identifying real business value and enabling product teams to realize that value. Tom specializes in understanding customer processes and in effective collaboration of customer, development and support specialists to maximize development efficiency, system flexibility, and business value.

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