Facilitating the Spread of Knowledge and Innovation in Professional Software Development

Write for InfoQ


Choose your language

InfoQ Homepage News New Book on Lean Software Offers Practical Advice

New Book on Lean Software Offers Practical Advice

In 2003, Mary and Tom Poppendieck's Lean Software Development introduced development techniques that adapt the principles of Lean manufacturing and logistics (like the Toyota Production system, which revolutionized the automobile industry) for use in software development. 

Since the publication of the first book, the benefits of lean and agile software development have become widely known and appreciated, and the Poppendiecks have traveled around the world, visiting organizations as they implement these new approaches, and continuing to learn from their interaction with people working to improve the way they develop software.  Still, demand for further information has led to their second book, Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash, which offers a companion guide: a blend of history, theory, and practice which shows exactly how to implement Lean software development, hands-on.

The new book draws on the their extensive experience helping development organizations optimize the entire software value stream, an important approach which Mary practiced years ago at 3M, where software development is seen as as simply one part of the entire product development process, or "value stream". They present the right questions to ask, the key issues to focus on, and techniques proven to work.

In the exclusive InfoQ book excerpt, Chapter 2: Principles, the authors look at how manufacturing and supply chain management differ from IT, and how they needed to adapt Lean's basic ideas to the characteristics of software development. They then discuss each of the seven principles they developed: Eliminate Waste, Build Quality In, Create Knowledge, Defer Commitment, Deliver Fast, Respect People, and Optimize the Whole:

The authors point out that a lean organization optimizes the whole value stream, from the time it receives an order to address a customer need until software is deployed and the need is addressed.  They point out that, if an organization focuses on optimizing something less than the entire value stream, it's almost guaranteed that the overall value stream will suffer.  This is a major theme of the book, which offers the tools to root out sub-optimization and other forms of inefficient process.

Rate this Article