Lean Software Development Workshop with Mary & Tom Poppendieck

YOW! 2010I was cleaning up some old files, and came across my notes from a workshop I attended with Mary and Tom Poppendieck entitled Lean Software Development – Leaders Workshop at the YOW! 2010 Australia Developer Conference in Brisbane. Obviously the slides and commentary have a wealth of information, but here are some of the key takeaways I had.

  • stop doing stuff that does not deliver value, not laying people off
  • spend time doing the right stuff, not the wrong stuff
  • think systems, not software – Southwest think employees, customers and then shareholders
  • optimise the whole system (software is just a layer) – Amazon is structured around it services (2 pizza teams of 8-10 people)
  • a separate testing team is silly – just handoff / afterthought, need to build quality into your product
  • need to understand value before you deliver value – understand what your customers value, not what they want and build the right thing before building the thing right
  • setting up a new product is a set of learning loops
  • watch for what is making people uncomfortable
  • understand your customers not by bringing an idea but by taking the team to understand the problem
  • there is always demand in a service company – fix issues as fast as possible, but that is not the game
  • consumability – how much effort does the customer need to go through to get value?
  • customers decide value… and therefore decide waste
  • measure productivity on value delivered, not features
  • work in progress is waste – customers are not interested in your long list of things to do
  • good Agile teams have a low number of defects
  • map end-to-end flow to find the biggest opportunity in your end-to-end process
  • 40-90% of the cost is maintenance not delivery, the cost of quality is way higher than the cost of building quality in, don’t put defects on a list (track them, fix them immediately), root cause every escaped defect, determine why every one happened
  • problem with readable specifications is that the text is not refactorable – any text page will have hundreds of ambiguities
  • every organisation that calls itself professional should be doing TDD
  • legacy code is code without unit tests, use Martin Fowler’s strangler pattern or the Mikado method to refactor
  • expertise takes 10 years / 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, need a teacher to challenge, feedback and dedication (The Road to Excellence)
  • marketing leader – for a successful product you should be able to name this person
  • technical leader – keep two top engineers free to roam around and give guidance
  • Empire State Building – on time and under budget, had to manage the flow of materials not tasks, had two alternating mills to keep up schedule and remove failure point
  • people who have dome something before should know how to deliver within the constraints
  • when managing an organisation you need to manage the capacity, you need to have a stable flow
  • kanban – reduce work in progress to expose problems (don’t crash your boat on the first day, keep your limits high then lower your limits and remove your problems one at a time
  • kanban board – every column is handover to the next column, the next column (downstream process) gets to define done
  • 5 why’s – the cause of the cause of the cause of the cause…, The Team Handbook has good process improvement practices, as do the Six Sigma tools
  • delivering value – read Competitive Engineering by Tom Glib¬†and Value Driven Development
  • product-centric development – 54% of Fortune 500 companies are heading in this direction
Here is a picture of an exercise we did to map the cycle time of a particular company (it highlighted some of the issues they are having around approvals).
From Miscellaneous

Finally, a huge thank you to Nick Muldoon from Atlassian who helped me out with a space on this course. Also to one of my colleagues who reminded me that we should ask forgiveness not permission when I was dealing with some competing priorities!

3 thoughts on “Lean Software Development Workshop with Mary & Tom Poppendieck

  1. Pingback: Leaders Workshop – Lean Software Development « controlledagility

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