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Pass the sick bag - but read it anyway.
on 8 January 2007
This is an important subject and there aren't many books that look at how you apply Toyota's lean manufacturing techniques to the software development business. Read some of the more general "lean" literature first before you get to this if you want to know what "lean" is all about.
Dissapointment is manifest from early on. We are told that one of the big problems of software development is that "customers just don't know what they want". I'm not really sure this adds anything new to the general debate on how software is built. I think it was okay for Brooks to take this tone when he wrote the Mythical Man Month in 1975 but surely not 30 years on.
But if you can make it through the trite homilies about the authors' children and how teams can achieve more than individuals there are actually some nuggets in here that are worth reading. In particular:
* do a value chain analysis on your development process and expect to be surprised
* recognised partially complete work as wasteful inventory
* don't plan for 100% developer utilisation
* look at your contract structure and make it cater for, rather than try to eliminate uncertainties.
I guess the ultimate irony is that this book itself needs to be subject to the lean treatment. Take out about 100 pages of wasteful waffle and it would be a good read - next time hire an editor, Mary!
So read this book - but keep that barf bag handy!