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The Lean Software & Systems Conference 2010 Underway In Atlanta

by Mike Bria on Apr 22, 2010 |

The Lean Software & Systems Conference kicked off Wednesday in Atlanta with a great diversity of exciting talks and activities.

There was plenty of buzz in hallways and around twitterverse regarding Don Reinertsen's opening keynote in which he, among other things, examined and challenged many the growingly common thoughts around the application of Lean to the software industry. A key theme from his conference opening talk asked attendees to be mindful to avoid treating Lean concepts as gospel, most specifically stressing to focus on "synergistic patterns" of methods rather than methodologies themselves and to draw judgement on these patterns by looking at other domains like traffic control, warfare, or even Economics.

From there the day moved onto four sets 1 hour talks across the 3 tracks of "Business & Management", "Engineering Practices", and "Kanban". Among these were talks was LSSC president Alan Chedalawada on "Standard Work and The Lean Enterprise", LSS board member Alan Shalloway on "Using The Right Vision To Manage Transition", as well as other featured speakers like Mary Poppendieck, Joshua Kerievsky, the duo of James Shore and Arlo Belsheee, and more.

Shore & Belshee teamed up to introduce their unique views on kanban application like Belshee's "naked planning" (essentially meaning stripped of "lies, like estimates") and a Kanban board with an "In Progress" section that acts more like a multi-facted "detective's blackboard" than a swim-lane based "card wall". They talked about the lean team as a "work cell", operating with the application of "rigorous, modern XP" methods, and cautioned the audience to watch for "false flow" (of non-value adding work packets).

Mary Poppendieck's talk, as always, came packed with a wealth of experienced-backed advice and guidance regarding abandoning "management by targets" in favor of "management by Challenges", which among other things leverages the power of having "respect for people", a strong lean mantra; doing so taps into the use of intrinsic reward systems to motivate people. Paul Rayner's "Lean Principles for Effective Metrics" talk contained a related message about using metrics as information to drive process improvement (ie, of "the system"), rather than as a means of motivating workers. He offered the interesting analogy of using metrics "like a drunk uses a lamp-post, for illumination and support".

Joshua Kerievsky's talk about joining the "Limited Red Society" introduced the idea that you can think of minimizing "work in progress" even at the coding level. His live coding session and ability to show detailed metrics about his coding session highlighted that we can equate having failing tests or uncompilable code, aka "being in the red", as "work in progress" (something we want to minimize) and demonstrated techniques to limit it.

This of course is just a taste of the interesting day one activities at the conference, stay tuned for my information as the conference kicks continues into day two. For more info now visit the official conference website, and follow along live with the twitter hashtag #lssc10.  Also, InfoQ is on site recording many of the sessions as well as sitting down personally with many of the presenters, so look forward for great video coverage after the conference.

Below are the most recent 50 Twitter #sgus comments, for your viewing enjoyment:

 

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