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Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit

(Agile Software Development Series)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  993 ratings  ·  56 reviews
Lean Software Development shows software professionals how to achieve breakthrough quality, savings, speed, and business value by adapting the seven lean principles that have already revolutionized manufacturing and R&D. Drawing on 25+ years' experience leading enterprise projects, the authors show how to use these principles to create agile processes that work - because t ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published May 8th 2003 by Addison-Wesley Professional
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Henri Hämäläinen
Sep 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
What I love about the book Lean Software Development by Mary and Tom Poppendieck is that even it's subtitle is Agile Toolkit, it isn't a such a toolkit that offers ready made solutions. I've never believed this one size fits all thinking which is sometimes pushed with Scrum and Kanban literature and this is refreshing exception to that thinking. This one offers explanations why things tend to go in some ways and what are the user or organizational problems these tools are trying to solve.

I'm act
Caroline Gordon
I'm working my way through the classics on Lean and Agile methods, I have met the great Tom and Mary and was extremely impressed and since this was selected for my book club, then here we are - another classic ticked off. This book is definitely essential reading for anyone involved in software development.

The premise of the book is that software development can learn allot from general product development principles. Much has been learned in Toyota about how to streamline product development an
Marcos Silveira
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All project managers and technical leaders should memorize the principles referred in this book

The book is must for project managers, technical leaders and everyone that has any intention of influence the software development process or the interaction with the client.
Main benefit for me it that it takes the discussion of project-level practices and explain the importance and the 'why's of those practices in a way that touches the mindset of high-level managers, directors, and even maybe the exe
Jun 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
Nice, concise overview of Lean in relation to software development. Lean is an agile management philosophy derived mostly from the Toyota Production System.

I didn't know anything about lean but stumbled upon it while researching scrum (another agile management philosophy). Now I know about lean and like it very much. Some lean principles overlap scrum principles and practices while others extend them. Ideal to reflect on scrum and agile from a different perspective.

Every chapter discusses one of
Henrik Warne
Jan 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In the last couple of years, I have heard many times about lean manufacturing (and in particular the Toyota way of manufacturing). I have also read a couple of articles by Mary Popendieck on the web, so I thought I would get this book and find out more.

I am glad I did. It is exactly the kind of book I like to read about software engineering - it is written by somebody with lots of hands on experience, it describes new and interesting techniques for producing high quality software, and it has ple
Ruslan Voronkov
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Solid agile fundamentals plus lot of anecdotes from other fields (other than software development).

Here are seven simple rules from this book:

Eliminate waste: Spend time only on what adds real customer value.
Amplify learning: When you have tough problems, increase feedback.
Decide as late as possible: Keep your options open as long as practical, but no longer.
Deliver as fast as possible: Deliver value to customers as soon as they ask for it.
Empower the team: Let the people who add value use the
Joni Kettunen
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Software developer, project manager, and software company managers
Recommended to Joni by: co-worker
I found this book very interesting since the first few pages I read. Then I flipped through the book and I was convinced.

Book contains 22 ways to improve software development practices. Each practice is explained thoroughly and most of them are highlighted with examples. Because lean principles are widely used in other industries, continuous improvement and holistic view is explained in wider perspective. Examples from car design and manufacturing reflect nicely to software projects.

At the end o
Aug 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, work
This is a somewhat poorly written and badly edited book intended to provide the basic grounding in so called "agile" processes for software development. While some of the basic ideas are sound, they are poorly presented, with a lot of repeated material and laboured examples. The whole book is based on an assumed model for a software project that is only narrowly applicable to real development. There is no help in applying the principles outside of the confines of a small single customer product ...more
David Allen
Jan 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An amazing survey of concepts related to agile software development. But not merely a survey - it ties it all together in a way that reveals the interconnectedness of all these different ideas. I gained a much deeper appreciation of the deepest principles of system thinking, organizational psychology, and software quality. The "Try This" sections at the end of each chapter are extremely practical. They serve as my personal coach in my efforts to improve. ...more
Deniss Ojastu
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is probably the best book on management of software development that I have read so far. I appreciate that Poppendiecks propagate the principles and certain mind-set and not some specific methods for agile development. The best of all, I see from my own work that many of these principles do work if properly followed and communicated to the rest of the team and to the clients.

Examples from the lean production are not always very illuminating, yet sometimes provoke interesting analogies.
Vitor Cavalcanti de Albuquerque
This book explains how to apply Agile with principles, practices and advice based on facts and historical experiences. A must-read for leaders, managers and people who want to learn more about agile and empowering teams.
Mar 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Toyota principles put in software development context in a pretty comprehensive way.
Aug 27, 2020 rated it liked it
An interesting book, that is not only a tool kit, but comes with many examples from the real world that help illustrate their points. Despite being almost 20 years old, the information and guidance doesn’t appear overly dated. It's overview of how the Toyota Production System influenced both the Lean Software movement, and changed the game in the automotive industry is insightful, and has inspired future reading.

The one lesson that really stuck out for me was using cost benefit analysis to help
Oct 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I took this book in order to better understand how to be productive in my day to day activities at work - this book is not for that. Although I think after reading it, most developers would gain some additional insight on how to be more productive (or maybe just be more at peace with agile & co.), this book is for managers that strive to create the best environment for continuous delivery and costumer satisfaction.
The best feature of this book is that it relates core lean values to the software
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I should have read this when my former company implemented "lean". I'm probably going to carry this around as a reference manual. Mary explains concepts clearly and it's obvious that she's had tons of real world experience. I had several light bulb moments where things just started making sense. This book reinforced the things I intuitively do right and highlighted the areas where I need to improve. If you've read Toyota Kata and are looking for a link to bridge the gap between manufacturing and ...more
Diego Maye
Nov 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
An amazing book from Mary Poppendieck one of Agile Alliance founders, she has led teams implementing solutions ranging from enterprise supply chain management to digital media, she built one of 3M's first Just-in-Time lean production systems. Book helps to understand JIT in manufacturing and how to map it to software industry throw agile. I really enjoy, more at least than PMBOK the other book I read this year. It talks the importance to amplify learning, eliminate waste & empower the team, this ...more
Wojtek Erbetowski
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I finally have got the chance to finish the book that altered the agile part of the IT!

Although if you are familiar with Lean from conferences, workshops and/or company, you might find many of these ideas obvious. On the other hand (like me) you might want to read the source of the Lean in software dev, which gives a nice perspective.

I enjoyed the book a lot and still got several lessons out of it.
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
This strenght of this book is that it is able to translate lean/agile theory in some real practical tools you can apply if you're involved in product development. The tools provided are no checklist you need to follow blindly, but they give you some direction and inspiration on how to make your product better, make your customers & team members happier. Next to that, in contains some real life examples showing one way on how the tools can be applied in practice. Recommended read ! ...more
Christoph Kappel
This is probably the default reference for the combination of lean and software development. I highly suggest everyone to read it at least once of twice.

It consists of 22 tools that can help to bring lean thinking to your company, always along with quick examples from the history of one of the authors.

I am not entirely sure about the P&L (profit & loss) part of the book, for me this was rather out of scope for my tasks, but is probably another side of the whole thing, too.

Michael Stafford
Jun 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Probably would give it 4.5 stars, but much of the teachings are in place fairly well where I work. Excellent foundational book about developing software using a lean approach. Also contains good examples of the history of lean in the Toyota Production System.
Eric Lemes
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really interesting book with a lot of new knowledge (for me) about the analogies between manufacturing and software engineering. It is more an abstract high-level set of principles than actually a structured process. It works really well with existing agile practices (Scrum, XP) and improves them.
Stein Karlsen
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book on agile principles and thoughts on how to implement them into your organization. The book really shows the Poppendiecks grasp on the topic. Looking forward to the other books by the authors.
Oct 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great reminder about the origins of Agile software practices and how lean fits into the big picture. Despite, or maybe because its age, it feels like a refreshing view on a more productive way to develop software.
Brian Bohanon
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a classic. Because it is based on principles and not practices, the information is still relevant and meaningful.
Crispy Hazelnut
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I flew through this book. I loved its organization, agreed with lots of its content. Wore the book out.
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A great historical perspective on translating lean for software development. Full of great organizational insight as well, reaching far beyond both lean and software development.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lean Software Development by Mary and Tom Poppendieck is a great refresher for those of you who have adopted and are practicing agile development. However the book goes further in enlightening the reader on how to eliminate waste from any development activities. Mary and Tom start by describing the origins of lean thinking at a small company named Toyota back in 1940s. Taiichi Ohno who was the father of the Toyota production system is credited as the driving force behind the lean movement. The b ...more
Oct 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm historically on record as being very scathing about this book, particularly when I first read it. My strong criticism was that Mary validates Lean as being a subset of Agile. My intellectual background was in Lean, so to me, it was exactly the other way round - Agile as an industry specific instance of Lean.

My view of Agile hasn't significantly changed, but my understanding of the context of this book has.

The audience is the Agile community at that time, who were significantly opposed to t
Sep 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: programming
A pithy but important book that takes the principles of Lean Agile Software Development and dives deeper into their overarching philosophy. It focuses more on principles than practices; taking a more holistic view of describing the state of ideal organizations than contextually applying practices. There are a few anecdotes that are a bit weak, and some of the charts are laughably and almost insultingly unscientific, but the general principles are sound. I'm curious to try value stream mapping an ...more
Johan Abildskov
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great overview and tools

Reads easily, has tons of instantly applicable advice. Is the agile reference I wish I had read before.
Great warstories, and backed by sound arguments and research. Must read for anyone involved with code.
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