Lean software development is one of the innovative methodologies that has revolutionized the entire IT value stream.
The Lean methodology can be applied to considerably reduce programming effort, budget, and defect rates in software development.
It has been around for a long time, but only recently has Lean gained popularity in the service industry—in hospitals, banks, and software factories. Today, many software development companies opt for Lean Software Development to manage projects.
Therefore, this article will show you what are the main principles of Lean Development and how GitScrum can help you develop your organization with its features.
The inception of Lean Development
Lean Development is an agile framework that was crafted by Toyota—the Japanese automotive giant—in the early 20th century.
It is based on the philosophy of optimizing development time and resources in the manufacturing process while eliminating waste and maximizing customer value.
The term was first used in a book with the same name written by Tom and Mary Poppendieck in 2003. It aims to remove everything that is unnecessary or that does not add value to the final product.
The Lean approach also called the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) strategy, involves bringing a minimal version of a product to market, learning the user’s preferences, likes, and dislikes, and then iterations based on the feedback that eliminate extensive pre-planned specifications.
The 7 principles of Lean Development
Lean Software Development was the basis for Agile Software Development methods and its main representatives such as Scrum or Crystal Clear.
Lean development focuses on reducing 7 wastes in the manufacturing process – namely, overproduction, lead time, transport, processing, stocking, moving, and scrapping.
These principles started in manufacturing and were aimed at optimizing the production line to reduce waste and increase customer value.
Here are the 7 principles of Lean Development:
1. Eliminate waste
Provide technical and market leadership – the organization can be successful if it produces innovative and technologically advanced products, but it is important to understand what our customers value and to know the technology that is being used.
Partially done work – The famous “it’s done, just test it out”. Teams must create a good definition of “done/done” to avoid reworking theoretically finished items.
Extra Processes – Required “heavy” documentation that does not add value to the final software. See my thoughts on these types of extra processes in this article.
Extra features – The famous “Gold-Platting”, that is, to develop features not required by your client/end-user to please you.
Waiting – The team develops, performs the unit tests, performs quality assurance, and when the software has approval. The client does not have time to test. This wait is very costly for a software project, as development resources don’t release until you finish the project, but they are idle.
Communication Efforts – Large or geographically distributed teams require good communication management and good stakeholder management. Failure to do so can compromise the project and the time taken to get the project back on track can be considered waste.
Defects – What is worse than implementing buggy software for your customer? The team’s credibility goes down there, in addition to generating a quality cost for fixing these bugs and spending time that could be used in other projects.
2. Create knowledge
Create design and build teams – the development team leader has to listen to the members and ask them intelligent questions that prompt them to seek answers and come back as soon as possible with problems that arise, or with invented solutions.
Maintain a culture of continuous improvement – create an environment where people are continually improving what they work – they must know that they are not and should not be perfect – and that they always have some area that they can improve.
Teach problem-solving methods – development teams should behave like small research centers, establishing hypotheses and conducting several quick experiments to check their validity.
Synchronize – to achieve high quality in the software we must start to deal with it before we start writing a single line of code.
Automate – automate testing, construction, installation, and whatever else is routine. You have to automate smartly so that people can improve the process and change anything they want without worrying about whether the change will make things stop working.
Refactor, whenever the opportunity arises, refactor code, testing, and documentation to minimize complexity.
4. Postpone engagement
Schedule irreversible decisions until the last responsible moment – we must know where we want to go but we do not know the way at all, we discover it day by day – the most important thing is to keep the right direction.
Break dependencies – components should be as decoupled as possible so they can be implemented in any order.
Maintain options – develop multiple solutions for all critical decisions and see which ones work best.
5. Optimize the total
Focus on the entire value stream – focus on winning the entire race (which is the software). It is not necessary to spend effort in optimizing local inefficiencies, but in seeing the whole and optimizing the organization as a whole.
Deliver a complete product – teams need to have good leaders, as well as good engineers, salespeople, marketing specialists, secretaries, etc. Together they can deliver a great end product to customers.
6. Deliver fast
Work in small blocks. Reduce project size, shorten delivery cycles, stabilize the work environment (listen to what the speed tells you). Repeat the good, and eradicate practices that create obstacles.
Limit work to capacity. Limit the task queue to a minimum (one or two iterations ahead is sufficient). Don’t be afraid to remove items from the queue.
Focus on cycle time, not utilization. Add small tasks to the queue that cannot bog down the process for a long time – reduce cycle time and have a few things to process in the queue.
7. Respect people
Train team leaders. Give team leaders training, guidance, and free space to implement Lean thinking in their environment.
Moving responsibility and decision-making to the lowest possible level. Letting people think and decide for themselves. They know better than anyone how to implement difficult algorithms and apply state-of-the-art technologies.
Fostering pride in work. Foster passion and team involvement in what they do and how they do it.
A cultural shift
Lean thinking is revolutionary for Software Development, but it is not simple. It requires cultural change, absorption of principles, and transformation of ingrained attitudes in our companies.
Often, we see teams capable of implementing Scrum, but they leave with the feeling that something is missing: agile culture.
The study of Lean and its principles is one of the most valuable ways to absorb this culture because in it we don’t just define a working method but look deeply at the principles.
GitScrum supports your team to better and understandable self-organization!
Set your workflow and board to guide your Agile team, assign Tasks, Subtasks and keep in charge of the whole process evolvements. Allow your Agile team to collaborate.
Be able to adapt to workflow changes, use Kanban boards and Gantt Charts to monitor vital information and team performance.
Reach higher levels of efficiency, productivity, and deliverability with GitScrum. Work focused on prioritizing what’s valuable and tracking your flow to overcome results.
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