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Leading Lean Software Development: Results Are not the Point Paperback – October 31, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0321620705 ISBN-10: 0321620704 Edition: 1st

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Leading Lean Software Development: Results Are not the Point + Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash + Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional; 1 edition (October 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321620704
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321620705
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #165,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mary Poppendieck has led teams implementing various solutions ranging from enterprise supply chain management to digital media. Mary is the president of Poppendieck LLC, which specializes in bringing lean techniques to software development.

Tom Poppendieck,
an enterprise analyst, architect, and agile process mentor, currently assists organizations in applying lean principles and tools to software development processes. The Poppendiecks are authors of Lean Software Development, winner of the 2004 Jolt Software Development Productivity Award, and Implementing Lean Software Development (both from Addison-Wesley).

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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Maurice Hagar on August 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anything by Mary and Tom Poppendieck is recommended reading but I'm not quite as impressed this time around. To be sure, there is much we can learn here about the application of lean principles to project management and software development. The discussion of value demand vs. failure demand is particularly good. And I couldn't agree more with their assessment of targets and "goals gone wild." Our systems, as well as our people, are what they are; targets will not change their capabilities. We're more likely to produce distortion and cheating than improvement. And "relative goals can motivate competitors to sabotage each other's performance. Thus ranking performance relative to peers can be damaging...if reward systems are based on this ranking." Performance rewards should be "shared equally among all competitors." A number of themes span multiple frames--a weakness of the "frames" construct--and the authors revisit this one several times.

More lessons from Toyota--the darling of every lean study--are helpful even if quotes such as this one now ring hollow: "One of the fundamental elements of TPS [the Toyota Production System] that management must be fully committed to is the `customer first' philosophy."

Frame 6: Quality by Construction is generally helpful but this is where I first began to notice some incendiary rhetoric and straw-man argumentation against waterfall or "sequential" development. For example: "not trying to find [defects] until the end of development" demonstrates "the distorted logic of the sequential frame of reference." Later, in telling the fascinating story of the Empire State Building's construction: "They did not break down the job into tasks" and the project "was not framed by cost, schedule, and scope.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Jeanne Boyarsky on November 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
Wow! I was blown away by how good it was. I expected it to be "light reading" as I'd read about many of the concepts elsewhere. Somehow the authors managed to present them all in a thought provoking way. Even the introduction had me scribbling in the margins. As a result, I only finished 5 chapters in a 6 hour flight. I promptly finished the remainder the next morning. A real page turner.

Each of the chapters follow the same format: detailed example of company applying concepts, 4 frames and brief portrait of how used. A frame is a point of view - like a camera frame. There were detailed examples throughout. Each chapter ends with questions to think about - these aren't classroom exercises - they really help. The frames really drew me in - each time I started the next one, I felt the mental shift.

I'm not sure what my favorite part of the book was - between the current examples (banking crisis, Captain Sully, Obama's website), historical ones (Empire State Building construction), clear diagrams, etc.

The beginning of the book really grabbed me. It explained why Southwest Airlines is so much more successful than the traditional airlines. The fact that I was on an airplane at the time helped, but the example stood on its own.

The fact that I didn't go more than 5 pages without writing a note or more than 1-2 pages without underlining something really speaks for itself. The book was great!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Clinton Begin on November 24, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book simply was not as good as Implementing Lean Software Development. I gave it three stars only because I feel it's a bit of a money grab. Same content, reorganized, new title, for no reason. I would tell my leaders to read Implementing Lean Software Development and to avoid this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Leading Lean Software Development is book three in the Poppendieck “trilogy” on lean software development, and I have read and reviewed the previous two. I can say with no hesitation that this installment covers valuable ground within minimal overlap with the previous books. However, I would highly recommend starting at the beginning. The previous books provide the foundations that you will need to truly get the most out of this one.

Leading Lean Software Development speaks to a variety of leaders in an IT organization. While managers will benefit greatly, architects will also find great value. Chapter One will appeal greatly to architects or chief engineers that are responsible for driving the vision of products. The great thing about the material here is that it ties everything to business value, and this provides the proper framing for making technical decisions. On the flipside, managers are expected to have a high degree of technical competence that directly relates to the people that they lead. This will be in direct conflict with the practice of many companies where managers come from pure project management or other non-technical backgrounds. While that doesn’t make them bad managers as a matter of course, it will limit their effectiveness in implementing the principles of this book.

There are many ways to skin the proverbial IT cat, and Lean is one of them. If your organization is considering a Lean implementation, read this book. It tells you what you need to know individually, and it will also help you evaluate your chances of success. The biggest warning that the Poppendiecks give is copying practice without understanding the principles behind them. Reading this book will help you (and hopefully by extension your organization) avoid this mistake. The material in here is pure gold. I highly recommend it.
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