The Emergence of the Lean Development Concept
Lean software development can be defined as the application of lean manufacturing propositions and practices to the software development industry. From the original Toyota Production System (TPS) that generated the “lean manufacturing” concept, it’s been adapted to the software and product development market, and it’s rising as a trend among this sector’s specialists and Agile enthusiasts.
The denomination lean software development first appeared in the book “Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit”, written in 2003 by Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck. This book demonstrates traditional lean principles and a set of 22 tools that they compare to agile practices. The author’s dedication to the agile software development community, participating as a keynote speaker at Agile conventions, has helped to spread the word about the concept and conquer reliability on its advantages.
Nowadays, working in industries means dealing with the lean production concept and applying it. It’s growing with more and more supporters and consolidating as a successful model to be learned by software businesses of all sizes. We’re talking about one of the major productive methods in the world, which is said to revolutionize companies with its application, benefitting their work processes and skyrocketing their productivity.
In this context, lean development became famous for several additional assets, which make it practicable by many types of enterprises.
Lean brings agile organizations a concrete theoretical framework, basis, and good practices. The fact is many software industries are interested in the lean concept, but they still don’t know how to apply them.
Naturally, more and more professionals are carrying out studies and specializing in this topic every day, which has also become a business opportunity for consultants, counselors, and technical experts, who work helping companies to implement new methodologies. It’s a fact that project management features are not only helpful in this process, but they are essential. So, lean experts are expected to know them and teach how companies can take advantage of them.
How to Apply the 12 Lean Principles to the Software Industry
Learn the principles that consultants are teaching software industries and related businesses, aiming to increase their results and profitability. Notice that all these principles can only be demonstrated, practiced, and monitored with the help of a smart project management tool like GitScrum.
Lean Development Consultancy is usually a process that lasts a determined period set in months. In order to ensure that the client/contractor can complete the whole training process, application stages and then become fully responsible for their continuity, the professional consultant must interact closely and obtain credentials to access the client’s progress on the same project management tool they are using to manage production.
Lean philosophy considers everything that’s not extremely relevant or adding value to the customer as waste – interrupted or partially work, extra features, relearning, task changes, waitings, handoffs, damage and excessive administrative work.
The first step to eliminate waste is to identify it. Any task that’s not essential to the delivery of the product, tasks that could be skipped without results impacting are waste. Features that are not used by customers, switching people’s assignments all the time, or abandoning partial work is waste. Then, the next step would be spotting sources of waste to eliminate them and review the analysis periodically to eliminate all waste and keep only valuable work.
Consultants can help companies with this process by elaborating a value stream mapping, or a product development roadmap, for iterative application and waste elimination.
Code writing in software development is a continuous iterative process, while software design and UX involve problem-solving and code increments based on learning. To ensure value delivery in software, it’s necessary to prioritize usability and promote constant learning from end-users.
A very useful resource to help this come true is GitScrum User Stories. User stories are short forms to help you catch end-user’s needs and preferences. They are sent to developers, designers, and the customer service team so that the company can establish a list of priorities and accomplish relevant upgrades to their apps.
Decide as late as possible
This principle is about planning the software development considering its high adaptability to changes and future requirements. Since we assume the company, the market, and customers’ needs are always evolving and being acknowledged, there must be flexibility to implement changes and make big decisions after more data is available. This way, companies are led to run projects and develop software in a way that allows them to postpone definitions about product features and interface, for instance.
Planning different versions of a product scope for later decisions is a must for companies that need to be flexible to change requirements and follow constant learning, with the objective of offering the best possible product.
GitScrum Mind Mapping helps you plan and compare product scope.
Deliver as fast as possible
Work in short time-boxed milestones to deliver value frequently. To release the best software, you need to adopt a positive vision about ideas coming any time from the company’s learning process – whether it’s from customer surveys, tests, training, or benchmarking.
Work with weekly “sprints”, associating development tasks to project objectives. This project management feature will help the company accomplish value delivery standards.
Empower the team
Demonstrate to your lean development clients that the agile principles of building projects around motivated individuals and granting the team’s autonomy are vital to building trust among developers and top management, so the team feels comfortable and eager to really contribute to projects, rather than just finishing tasks.
Forming purpose-driven teams is a long but worthy challenge that can result in better products and services. Prioritizing internal communication, transparency, and caring about the team members’ experience while participating in the projects are some of the ways to motivate them.
Build integrity in
Consider the customer’s experience as a whole. The perceived integrity includes all the stages of releasing a product – the way it is advertised, delivered, deployed, accessed, used, purchased, and how well it performs and solves problems.
Optimize the whole
Reach projects’ sustainability and success with a broad view of them, not only product parts together. Help companies create a lean corporate culture, with all collaborators and clients working together and contributing to generate shorter feedback loops and value release.
You can encourage the company’s team to create internal, helpful content in order to foster inspiration, innovation, and cross-functional collaborations.
Finally, besides teaching all lean principles and helping companies put them into practice, consultants also recommend that the software CLIENTS needs to be prioritized (factories, stores, offices, retailers), so it’s a wise idea for the software industries to offer a customized client support interface. Developers can focus on their core products and hire a ready-to-customize cost-effective client platform. Instead of developing an entire tool, they can simply customize GitScrum with their logo and domain to turn their project management tool into their clients’ VIP area.
GitScrum White Label is your premium feature to impress your clients