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Lean Software Strategies: Proven Techniques for Managers and Developers
 
 

Lean Software Strategies: Proven Techniques for Managers and Developers [Kindle Edition]

Peter Middleton , James Sutton
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Winner Of The 2007 Shingo Prize For Excellence In Manufacturing Research!

Lean production, which has radically benefited traditional manufacturing, can greatly improve the software industry with similar methods and results. This transformation is possible because the same overarching principles that apply in other industries work equally well in software development. The software industry follows the same industrial concepts of production as those applied in manufacturing; however, the software industry perceives itself as being fundamentally different and has largely ignored what other industries have gained through the application of lean techniques.

Lean Software Strategies: Proven Techniques for Managers and Developers, shows how the most advanced concepts of lean production can be applied to software development and how current software development practices are inadequate.

Written for software engineers, developers, and leaders who need help creating lean software processes and executing genuinely lean projects, this book draws on the personal experiences of the two authors as well as research on various software companies applying lean production to software development programs.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4960 KB
  • Print Length: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Productivity Press (27 May 2005)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004A16KGI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #761,266 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Way forward for software engineering 6 April 2007
Format:Hardcover
This book won the elite Shingo Prize for excellence in March 2007. It shows how lean manufacturers with a large software component in their products can use the same lean techniques to manage their software. Companies such as Lockheed Martin and General Electric are working on adopting this.

It takes Agile techniques to a higher level of scalability and rigor. It introduces software people to a whole new way of looking at their problems.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Biased towards safety-critical systems 4 Jan 2009
By a reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Lean Software Strategies is a book about applying lean manufacturing ideas to software programming. I believe there is a lot to learn from manufacturing and I was pleased to get this book. After reading it, I am somewhat disappointed. There is nothing wrong with the advice in the book. But I don't feel the authors have really described a lean process. I'll go in the details below. In short, the main technique suggested is to make the whole process more integrated and more rigorous using, for example, formal methods. This reminded me of the book The Cleanroom Approach to Quality Software Development which makes the same claim and ends up with similar results. Lean is more than cleanroom. I expected data about work-in-progress reduction for example but I didn't see that in the book.

Here are more details.
PROS:
- Good introduction to the lean concepts (value, value stream, etc)
- Some interesting ideas to implement lean, especially if you are following a waterfall model. If you have already moved to a milestone model or XP, some ideas will be redundant.

CONS:
- Lack of data regarding the advantage of lean. The projects mentioned are vague and the data presented does not make the case for lean (versus, say, cleanroom as mentioned above).
- Focus on a specific class of applications (safety-critical) without a generalization to other classes of applications. In particular, the use of formal methods may not translate well to other domains.
- Focus on technologies (UML, QFD, TRIZ) without a word on team dynamics, employee training, etc. The soft aspect of lean is ignored.

All in all, I would recommend reading the book; but do not expect that it will change your world.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If Midas had written a book... 2 July 2007
By Robert T. Mccann - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It would be pure gold like this one! This book won the Shingo Award: [...] The selection committee clearly knew what it was doing. The author has created an excellent exposition of how lean manufacturing methods can be applied to create abstract intellectual assets such as software and, by implication, systems engineering plans and designs.

Overall the book is an excellent, well written discourse on lean methodology with numerous examples of its application. The authors explain in clear detail how best to apply several lean tools to plan and to perform major systems and software projects, e.g., TRIZ, Analytic Hierarchy Process, SCR, Blitz QFD, Theory of Constraints, Agile practices, high integrity UML, language selection to support lean production (SPARC Ada), load leveling, and Kano Modeling. The cases where this approach was used provide consistent evidence of success; software productivity was significantly improved over previous practice by roughly a factor of four even though the requirements churn in those same contracts was significantly higher than in other successful projects. It is critical to note that software production was stabilized against serious requirements instability by the lean practices being described. Further, that stabilization was a major contributor to successful completion of the contracts!

In the first few chapters, the author spends some time explaining the niche in which lean methods live and work most effectively. In chapter 5 the author analyzes the SEI's Software CMM model to determine the manufacturing paradigm for software. One should note that, since the publication of the book, the Software CMM has been replaced by a newer model, the Software/System/etc CMMI that addresses several of the lean concerns: [...]

After some thought it is clear that the fundamental criticism of the Software CMM is that the implementation of any business model by practitioners of the manufacturing paradigm is the principle problem. Such practitioners will likely take a relatively low risk, evolutionary, incremental approach to introduce change. They will therefore initially implement a set of organizational processes that promote and support the manufacturing paradigm in a way that minimizes necessary change, the nearest "as is" state. Such processes should not be expected to be particularly lean until after performance needs drive significant changes to support a leaner approach, the "to be" state. This incremental approach, while fairly smooth and stable can take a decade or more to reach a lean paradigm even if that is the intended end state.

If the authors choose to write a second edition it would be useful to discuss how the CMMI model that has come into use since the writing of this book provides potential synergy with the lean approach. To understand what is improved over the software CMM, one should note that the new CMMI model includes systems engineering process areas rather than being focused exclusively on software. Like its predecessor the CMMI is a process framework and is thus process and performance agnostic. The model is not quite paradigm agnostic; it clearly votes against the craft paradigm by labeling such practices "initial" or "capability level 1". One might speculate that a fully integrated lean approach would garner capability level 5 ratings for the relevant process areas. Further, there is no performance aspect to the CMMI SCAMPI appraisal as there would be with a company performance audit model such as the (Malcolm) Baldridge National Quality Award[...]. The CMMI SCAMPI asks if there are specific and generic practices (documented processes) in place to address a set of basic business capability questions (goals), but it does not ask how well those processes perform. It is left entirely up to company management to track and manage process performance. In that respect the CMMI model is independent of the lean manufacturing approach. Synergy with lean methods is both possible and desirable. If the authors choose to write a second addition, it would be valuable to devote a chapter or two on how to develop such a synergistic approach in building and maintaining a comprehensive set of organizational business process assets.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding value 21 Jun 2007
By Barry Lee Hendrix - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have read "Software Lean Strategies" from cover to cover and believe it is of truly "outstanding value" I'm a highly experienced software engineering professional and each work day have the responsibility of ensuring complex safety-critical systems functionality controlled by software is of high integrity. I try to read, learn and see perspectives of all. It is refreshing to see a real world book with many examples and lessons learned in Software Lean Strategies. Why do I feel this is an outstanding book? First, it has given me a new perspective on how to integrate systems more strategically. It is all about the long haul software life cycle strategies and not about day to day tweeks and tactics. It is all about real world systems and the constant struggles in software. Also it is kind of like Fredrick Brook's famous book "Mythical Man Month" first written over 30 years ago about IBM and the 360 computer. Software Lean is more about software and systems integration developed a few years ago and how to apply the value stream and to focus on essential priority tasks and work products. Software Lean shows software development is still plagued with inefficiencies and the authors are not saying they have the silver bullet, but are only sharing some of their experiences, lessons learned and what seems to work best. When I look at Software Lean conepts in totality the authors are simply communicating and suggesting some areas to focus on for cheaper, better (higher quality) systems and higher technical integrity. I firmly believe folks who will read this book with an open mind will get new ideas. It stimulatated my thinking and helped me apply some of the principles to prevent costly rework. When compared to other books on the Lean subject this one has specifics and many principles and examples grounded in fact. It is truely non-fiction. Some other books on the subject are way off the mark and have some rather odd concepts that are counterproductive. I did learned to think more strategically after reading this fine book. I try not to slam anyone's opinions in books, especially when they are so open and honest about what works in software development and what does not. Software Lean "earned" a recent prestigious award. I read it a year earlier and touted it amongst software leaders, coworkers and collegues as a darn good read. Final point: I am normally a little critical of new concepts and fad books, but in this case found no fads and agree with 95% of what is written in Software Lean. It is somewhat innovation and very logical and I believe one can benefit by seeing many persopectives and not being so close minded. The other 5 % I disagree with is either what is lacking or perhaps simply philosophical differences based on my biases and inability to see the point. My hats off to this book that has helped to stimulate some actionable ideas. I've loaned it to a couple of enginners on my staff and they like it. The more we read, the more we learn. I keep "Software Lean Strategies" on my desk on top of The Mythical Manmonth and right next to several latest editions of software periodicals, such as Embedded Systems Design with the Star Trek crew, Maxwell Smart taling into a shoe phone, and others on cool covers to grab attention of software and systems engineering geeks like myself.

Barry Hendrix
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Lean software development wave is only beginning 3 Mar 2009
By Corey Ladas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Much of the early traction of Lean thinking in software development has come from the Agile community. That is good news because it provides a ready-made audience and it helps the Agile community avoid stagnation. It's bad news because some of the Agile camp has been bent on reinterpreting Lean to rationalize practices that they already wanted to use.

In contrast, Middleton and Sutton's prophetic book describes a far more thorough interpretation of Lean software development which cannot possibly be contained by the limited world view of Agile. Again, there is good news and bad news here. The good news is that some of the benefits previously accorded to Agile methods are now more attainable by a broader slice of the total software engineering community. Lean software engineers can realize the benefits of short cycle times and workcell organization, without giving up the quality and product scope benefits of using superior engineering practices.

If you ask me how I personally practice Lean software development (see Scrumban - Essays on Kanban Systems for Lean Software Development), the answer is a great deal like the contents of this book.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If Midas had written a book... 21 Jun 2007
By Robert T. McCann - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It would be pure gold like this one. This book won the Shingo Award: [...] The selection committee clearly knew what it was doing. The author has created an excellent exposition of how lean manufacturing methods can be applied to create abstract intellectual assets such as software and, by implication, systems engineering plans and designs.

Overall the book is an excellent, well written discourse on lean methodology with numerous examples of its application. The authors explain in clear detail how best to apply several lean tools to plan and to perform major systems and software projects, e.g., TRIZ, Analytic Hierarchy Process, SCR, Blitz QFD, Theory of Constraints, Agile practices, high integrity UML, language selection to support lean production (SPARC Ada), load leveling, and Kano Modeling. The cases where this approach was used provide consistent evidence of success; software productivity was significantly improved over previous practice by roughly a factor of four even though the requirements churn in those same contracts was significantly higher than in other successful projects. It is critical to note that software production was stabilized against serious requirements instability by the lean practices being described. Further, that stabilization was a major contributor to successful completion of the contracts!

In the first few chapters, the author spends some time explaining the niche in which lean methods live and work most effectively. In chapter 5 the author analyzes the SEI's Software CMM model to determine the manufacturing paradigm for software. One should note that, since the publication of the book, the Software CMM has been replaced by a newer model, the Software/System/etc CMMI that addresses several of the lean concerns: [...]

After some thought it is clear that the fundamental criticism of the Software CMM is that the implementation of any business model by practitioners of the manufacturing paradigm is the principle problem. Such practitioners will likely take a relatively low risk, evolutionary, incremental approach to introduce change. They will therefore initially implement a set of organizational processes that promote and support the manufacturing paradigm in a way that minimizes necessary change, the nearest "as is" state. Such processes should not be expected to be particularly lean until after performance needs drive significant changes to support a leaner approach, the "to be" state. This incremental approach, while fairly smooth and stable can take a decade or more to reach a lean paradigm even if that is the intended end state.

If the authors choose to write a second edition it would be useful to discuss how the CMMI model that has come into use since the writing of this book provides potential synergy with the lean approach. To understand what is improved over the software CMM, one should note that the new CMMI model includes systems engineering process areas rather than being focused exclusively on software. Like its predecessor the CMMI is a process framework and is thus process and performance agnostic. The model is not quite paradigm agnostic; it clearly votes against the craft paradigm by labeling such practices "initial" or "capability level 1". One might speculate that a fully integrated lean approach would garner capability level 5 ratings for the relevant process areas. Further, there is no performance aspect to the CMMI SCAMPI appraisal as there would be with a company performance audit model such as the (Malcolm) Baldridge National Quality Award: [...] The CMMI SCAMPI asks if there are specific and generic practices (documented processes) in place to address a set of basic business capability questions (goals), but it does not ask how well those processes perform. It is left entirely up to company management to track and manage process performance. In that respect the CMMI model is independent of the lean manufacturing approach. Synergy with lean methods is both possible and desirable. If the authors choose to write a second addition, it would be valuable to devote a chapter or two on how to develop such a synergistic approach in building and maintaining a comprehensive set of organizational business process assets.
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