Monday, November 24, 2008

Process refinement: Lean

Lean* is a buzz word I have been hearing for a while and know guys like Dave Laribee are right in to it, which is really reason enough to have a look. My knowledge of Lean was only anecdotal until I met  a lovely young lady in Melbourne  who was in fact a Lean specialist. She is old friends of my partner (Tori) and much to Tori's disgust we talked nerd a fair bit. It was cool to know that she actually had a Software and Manufacturing background and is applying Lean in the traditional manufacturing sense with a very large manufacturing company.

So after speaking to this Lean specialist and seeing her enthusiasm for the process I picked up a book I have glazed over a few time of the bookshelves: Implementing Lean Software Development. It is part of the Kent Beck series and all of the books of that series I have read so far have been worth the effort and cost, so I thought "why not?".

What I like about Lean is how it works well with Agile & XP practices, it defines things we already know work, but often the act of defining or providing a framework is in itself beneficial. It is something that can be easy for managers to understand and easy for dev's to apply. For the (second to) last project I worked on in the UK this book would have been a welcome addition to the library. Errors in our process were evident, but you still need to define and identify them to fix them, this book would have helped in this regard.

Anyway my understanding is still growing, but so far so good, the book is well written and should be done by the end of this week, just in time to swap with what ever book Gumble brings me from London... hint hint...

*Uber brief back ground for those not too familiar with Lean:

Toyota came up with some some cool ways to make stuff better, these principles and practices have lead Toyota to being one of the most efficient manufacturers in the planet. Core concepts have been extracted from Toyota, Lean is one of those by products. Since software dev has similar parallels to manufacturing some of this P&P have been applied to define Lean software development.

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