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on 4 May 2017
Nowhere near as good as Lean Product Development by the same authors.
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on 26 November 2013
The Lean Mindset is the latest book by two of my favourite authors, Mary and Tom Poppendieck. As expected from a continuation of their Lean series, the book tackles a topic much wider than just software delivery, but with great case studies that help put those things into a software delivery perspective.

One of the central concepts of the book is the move from process efficiency to product management and product delivery, which is probably the most important topic for organisations that have successfully adopted Scrum, Kanban or any of the related processes. Pushing software out of the door in a reliable and predictable manner is pretty much a solved problem now, and the next big improvement for many teams will have to come from somewhere else - and in my mind this is clearly by using that process effectiveness to remove bottlenecks in product management. Quoting one of the contributors to the book, "Our agile projects were consistently producing affordable, high-quality software with almost every customer priority included. [...] Stakeholders might have been satisfied with project performance, but rarely was the audience delighted, wowed, or blown away by novel innovation or creative design.". If you recognised your team or organisation in the previous sentence, then this is absolutely the book you have to read next.

The FBI case management story was particularly interesting as it shows one of the pitfalls of iterative delivery - that the pressure to show constant progress causes people to constantly select easy tasks until wicked problems requiring serious engineering surface. This is often caused by a disconnect between business objectives and technical delivery, and the authors list several tools and models that can help avoid that "Air Sandwich".

As the title suggests, this book is primarily about thinking models - or mindsets. It's no surprise then that it's packed full of references to psychology studies, especially around motivation, teamwork, expert decision making and intuition. Bob Marshall, in his review on Amazon, blasts the book for just recycling old ideas, but I see great value in this work as an overview that shows how all those ideas relate to eachother and together create a bigger picture. Readers new to those topics will find a worthy introduction to the works of Gary Klein, Dan Ariely, Chip and Dan Heath, Daniel Kahneman and get a good idea how that relates to the work of software thought leaders. Even though I was aware of all those names before, this book was useful to me as a portal full of references to lesser known works by other researchers, especially in the areas of organisation management and adaptive planning. Case studies explaining how those ideas were implemented on large scale firmware delivery in Intel, online service delivery at Spotify and Amazon and government projects at the FBI put things nicely into software delivery perspective, and will come in very handy when people in larger organisations need convincing that this isn't just for startups with no legacy software.

I'd recommend this book to all software delivery managers looking investigating the next step after adopting lean or agile delivery models. The book won't give you a detailed explanation of any of the tools you need, but it will give you a good starting point for further research into individual topics.
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on 18 October 2013
Confession 1: I've only read the first 2/3rds of the book so far on my Kindle. I haven't finished yet, but I had to write this review because I think the book is awesome.
Confession 2: I've known Tom and Mary Poppendieck, the authors, for about a decade now, so I am biased. I love the way they think, I love the way they write. Their first book changed my career direction (and, consequently, my salary). So, I'm biased.

This book is great. It's different to what I expected though, compared to their previous work - it's less hands on, more conceptual and high-level. It reminds of the interesting parts of my MBA, but better written, and more focused on product development. I'm familiar with many of the ideas in the book (because I read the same books, talk to the same people, and watch the same videos as the authors) but what they've done so well is to take a vast number of ideas & concepts & tools, summarise them, then group them into themes. The book isn't cheap so I recommend you take a look at the sample or look inside at the index.

My favourite story is Doug Deitz's, from GE Healthcare. Even if you don't buy this book, you really should google is TEDX talk from San Jose. I'm a gnarly old engineer, at heart, and I teared up.
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on 9 February 2016
This book is great from start to finish, full of pragmatic, evidence based advice and it doesn't do the hard sell for any specific methodology.
If you're a developer, designer, architect or leader involved in building digital products I encourage you to pick up a copy of this book, read it from cover to cover and hilight the best bits for future reference as I did!
Anyone looking to find some reasoning of why product is more important than technical detail and complexity, won't have to look past this book.
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on 9 September 2014
Simple and direct suggestions with loads of examples of how to use Lean to create value generating services, encourage people top down to be part of the adventure and motivate yourself to keep learning more.
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on 27 December 2014
Practical and nicely written. A good read
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on 9 April 2016
Summing up in a brilliant way.
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