Monday, October 16, 2006

Book Review: Implementing Lean Software Development

Implementing Lean Software Development, Tom and Mary Poppendieck.  (Addison-Wesley, 2007, ISBN: 0321437381)

This book is a great follow-on to the Poppendieck's "Lean Software Development" book.  That book gave readers "an Agile Toolkit" for understanding what lean and agile are all about.   This book is similar to its predecessor both in tone and content with practical examples of what works and what doesn't.  Much of the book is still framed by lessons learned from Toyota's manufacturing system and Mary Poppendieck's experience at 3M. 

That said, the book isn't just a rehash of the earlier, seminal work.  This book seems to have a solid core of how to get the most out of development teams with two sections specific to people and partners.  There are also terrific sections on knowledge-sharing, speed, and how to get the highest quality while delivering in a rapid and lean fashion.  Some things aren't covered at all, such as the fundamentals of value streams or Pareto charts, but those areas are by far the minority.

I’ve seen comments remarking about the lack of anything specific to Extreme Programming in this book, but I think that's missing the point a bit: this book isn't about a specific implementation of agile/lean/whatever, it's about the general approach to the principles of lean development.  The book guides readers to explore what's not working in their own environment and alter bits and pieces to improve production.  An example of this is the closing section to each chapter where a "Try This" section guides readers to examine how their own environment is working or not working.

Folks who have done plenty of reading on agile/lean concepts may not find anything earth-shattering in this book, but it's a terrific read for anyone regardess of their exposure to and involvement in agile.  Well-steeped readers will find lots of head-nodding stories and a few provoking exercises and topics.  Newcomers will have their eyes opened by a wealth of riches.

1 comment:

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