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Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit [Paperback]

Mary Poppendieck , Tom Poppendieck
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

8 May 2003 0321150783 978-0321150783 1

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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Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit + Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash (Addison-Wesley Signature) + Leading Lean Software Development: Results are Not the Point (Addison-Wesley Signature)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 1 edition (8 May 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321150783
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321150783
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 17.8 x 1.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 283,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit

Mary Poppendieck Tom Poppendieck

Forewords by Jim Highsmithand Ken Schwaber

  • 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: An Agile Toolkit

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.

About the Author

MARY POPPENDIECK, Managing Director of the Agile Alliance (a leading non profit organization promoting agile software development), is a seasoned leader in both operations and new product development with more than 25 years of IT experience. She has led teams implementing solutions ranging from enterprise supply chain management to digital media, and built one of 3M's first Just-in-Time lean production systems. Mary is currently the President of Poppendieck LLC, a consulting firm specializing in bringing lean production techniques to software development.

TOM POPPENDIECK was creating systems to support concurrent development of commercial airliner navigation devices as early as 1985. Even then, the aerospace industry recognized that sequential development of product design, manufacturing process design and product support was costly and non-competitive. His subsequent experience in software product development, COTS implementation, and most recently as a coach, mentor, and enterprise architect support the same conclusion for software development. He currently assists organizations that need to improve their software development capabilities apply the lean principles and tools described in this book.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for software professionals 26 Feb 2004
Format:Paperback
If you only buy one software development book this year, buy this one. It will change the way you think about your work.
Lean development was started by Toyota in the 50s when Ford was selling more cars in a day than they were in a decade. They looked at all their development activities to see how they could develop quicker and cheaper and get closer to what the customer wanted. They were so successful that now all car manufacturers have to follow the principles they developed just to remain competitive.
The Poppendiecks' book shows how to apply these lean principles to software development. The first chapter gives an overview, including listing the seven principles. They then take a chapter per principle, showing how to apply this principle to software development. The final chapter is a "warranty" and guidelines for applying the principles usefully (basically think about them, don't apply them blind).
The seven lean principles are:
1. Eliminate waste - anything which doesn't add value to the end product
2. Increase feedback - iterate so you can get early feedback
3. Delay commitment - so you can decide with the best knowledge
4. Deliver fast - so you can afford to delay commitment
5. Empower the team - they're the ones closest to the information
6. Build integrity in - have an integrated product team, use refactoring to keep the code clean, and use test-driven development to make sure it's all tested and you have a reason for doing everything.
7. See the whole - measure UP not DOWN - measuring details encourages micro-optimisation which tends to give overall suboptimisation. If you measure at a level higher you get global optimisations.
I found this book compulsive reading and difficult to put down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars New to Lean/Agile, then this is perfect 1 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a young professional with 2 years digital experience but 0 experience in Lean Software Development, this was the perfect introduction and start. Was able to instantly apply what I learnt from the book to my work.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good book 16 Jan 2010
By OP
Format:Paperback
Good book, very practical. Yet also a little verbose - like many of these books about Agile, sometimes too many words are used to state the obvious.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  53 reviews
67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book that teaches how to think agilely 1 Jun 2003
By Michael Cohn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Books written during the first phase of agile software development have been about very specific practices we should employ. There are some excellent books on the Extreme Programming, Feature-Driven Development and Scrum agile processes. These books teach us "do a, b, and c if you want to do Extreme Programming" or "do x, y and z if you want to do Scrum."
In the last year we've seen books by Highsmith (Agile Software Development Ecosystems) and Cockburn (Agile Software Development) that represent the second wave of agile software development-that of learning to think agilely rather than following a prescribed set of agile rules. Mary and Tom Poppendieck's book is the latest and best book for teaching how to think agilely.
The book contains 22 "thinking tools." The thinking tools are drawn from the world of lean manufacturing where they have helped improve product delivery speed, quality and cost. Each tool is presented as a guideline. Each thinking tool is described with enough detail that you can put it into practice; but, more importantly, the reasons supporting each are made explicit. So, instead of simply reading that it is good to "deliver as fast as possible" we learn how rapid delivery is supported by pull systems (where work is pulled into the current step from the prior step), how queuing theory helps us identify bottlenecks, and how to calculate the cost of delay (to see which bottlenecks are worth removing).
This book is the perfect blend of highly actionable instructions and descriptions of why those actions work. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to improve his or her software development process. The authors' ideas are applicable both to projects using agile approaches today and to more traditional, plan-driven projects.
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good, practical book 17 May 2006
By Mark Meuer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Our reading group at work recently read "Lean Software Development." There are several things I really like about this book:

1. Its thinking is clearer than most. The Poppendiecks make sharp distinctions between principles, tools, and practices. (More on this will follow.)

2. It presents an Agile approach without demanding that one follow all tenets of Extreme Programming (such as pair programming).

3. It recognizes that in the past it has been a mistake to think of software development as being roughly analogous to manufacturing. Creating custom software is not very much like assembling cars within a factory.. Software development is much closer to product development, much more like the work that goes into designing the car in the first place. Principles (not necessarily techniques!) that work well in product design can have a much more straightforward application in software design.

4. They specifically address the needs of safety-critical software, talking about how to apply these principles in environments that are heavily regulated or where a software failure may endanger lives.

The book does suffer at times from and affliction common to this genre: over-enthusiasm. There can be a sense that all we need to do is follow what they say and all will be well. But, for the most part, the authors provide reasonable, realistic guidance for those looking to improve the way they go about creating software.

Now that we have the overview, let's look at the meat of the book: Agile principles. There are seven Agile principles which should govern a group's software development process:

1. Eliminate Waste

2. Amplify Learning

3. Decide as Late as Possible

4. Deliver as Fast as Possible

5. Empower the Team

6. Build Integrity In

7. See the Whole

A chapter is devoted to each principle. In each, the principle is described, examples are given from both product and software development, and a number of "tools" are suggested as ways to apply the principle in software development.

The principles are valid within any development effort, software or otherwise. For example, a good process will always seek reasonable ways to eliminate waste. In product development and manufacturing, waste may include scrap material that does not end up in a product. In software, the definition of "waste" will include things like partially done work, extra processes, extra features, waiting,

etc.

It is very important to keep the distinction between principles, tools, and techniques in mind. Principles must be reasonably applied to a given environment. The authors put it quite well: (pp. 179-180)

* Eliminate waste does not mean throw away all documentation.

* Amplify learning does not mean keep on changing your mind.

* Decide as late as possible does not mean procrastinate.

* Deliver as fast as possible does not mean rush and do sloppy work.

* Empower the team does not mean abandon leadership

* Build integrity in does not mean big, upfront design.

* See the whole does not mean ignore the details.

"One team's prescription is another team's poison. Do not arbitrarily adopt practices that work in other organizations; use the thinking tools in this book to translate lean principles into agile practices that match your environment."

I strongly recommend this book.
58 of 69 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Principles based on Bad Assumptions 7 May 2007
By R. Lampereur - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I am a senior software systems engineer working for an aerospace company. I recently read the Poppendicks' book and have mixed feelings about it. Overall they present some great lean development principles and tools that appear to be useful in boosting productivity in my software engineering organization. On the other hand, their understanding of CMM/CMMI is so off-base that it is hard for me to take them seriously as authors.

They misrepresented CMM several times in the book, so they either do not understand what CMM is and how it works, or they are intentionally misrepresenting it to "scare" people into using their lean software tools. The reality is that agile software development principles and tools fit perfectly into the CMM/CMMI models and the Poppendicks would have a much stronger book if they realized that. Rather than bashing CMM to make their tools seem more useful, they might do better if they realized that CMM/CMMI and lean software development can work perfectly together.

My advice to people interested in buying the book is to only read the book if you can take what the Poppendicks say with a grain of salt. Read about the lean principles/tools and think of how you could apply them in your software development environment. In the spirit of implementing the primary principle of lean development (i.e. eliminate waste), I would ignore the anecdotes they include in the book. They appear to be intentionally sensational while offering little value.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning from Lean Manufacturing 4 July 2003
By Steve Berczuk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is an excellent discussion of how the principles of Lean Manufacturing apply to Software Development. The authors explain why the usual metaphor of software as manufacturing is not quite right, and why the metaphor of Lean Manufacturing is something we can learn from. The book is clearly written and the authors provide examples and anecdotes to help you to understand their points. This was a fairly quick read, and I am likely to refer to it often.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for Agile Development 22 Jun 2004
By Mike Tarrani - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Although this book is from the Agile-series, the approach and advice extends to any methodology from the heavy (and still used) waterfall SDLC, to XP and agile methods.
Key steps in this book will show you how to streamline your development methodology in accordance with lean thinking:
- Eliminate waste by cutting the fat out of processes, reducing rework, viewing your SDLC as a value stream.
- Amplify learning, with an emphasis on iterative planning, feedback loops and team communications.
- Decide as late as possible, which is enabled by concurrent activities, depth-first versus breadth-first problem solving, and other effective tools and techniques.
- Deliver as fast as possible, based on analogies between manufacturing pull systems and scheduling, and how to accomplish the same in development.
- Empower the team, which is a fundamental element of lean thinking. The tools and techniques presented in this section of the book are a mixture of common sense, leadership and management.
- Build integrity in. If ever there were a direct connection between the lean thinking approach to manufacturing and software development, it is here. Tools and techniques given include model-driven development, refactoring and testing techniques.
- See the whole, which emphasizes system thinking, metrics, optimization, and the supporting tools and techniques.
Any or all of the above can be effectively applied to any SDLC or methodology and produce results. Lean thinking was developed by Toyota as a manufacturing paradigm, which has been extended through that company and is applied to business processes outside of the manufacturing domain. That this team of authors has applied it to software development is not as unnatural as it may seem at first glance given how vastly different software is to create versus cars, for example. But, the paradigm has been proven outside of manufacturing before this book was written, and the basic philosophy and principles can be applied - which this book evidences.
If you want to look at development from an entirely unique perspective purge the words agile, XP and any other methodology from your mind while reading this book. I can almost guarantee that you'll find something in every chapter that you can put to immediate use in your own organization. As an aside, a book on software testing that is consistent with lean thinking in many ways, and closely aligned to the content of this book is "Software Testing Fundamentals: Methods and Metrics" ISBN 047143020X.
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