Greetings, all! In my recent software process readings, I came upon a great
book. It all started when I was doing some searching on the web and I stumbled
upon this article in SD
magazine. It discusses how the Japanese used the concept of continuous process
improvement to pass by the USA in the manufacture of many products in the 70’s &
80’s, esp. automobiles. It then discusses how many of those principles have
an application to software. The article is by Mary Poppendieck, and I thought
it was so interesting that I got the book that she and Tom Poppendieck wrote, called
Lean Software Development.
I really like this book. It’s not preachy like many agile-related books &
articles these days, and it’s grounded in ideas that make a lot of sense once you
think about it but which you probably wouldn’t have thought of on your own.
It’s also pretty well written & organized.
An inevitable result of reading a book like this is that you analyze your own work
environment and try to figure out how to apply the principles. In our team at
Microsoft, we’re “lean” in many ways, and already do many of the things that this
book and faddish quality movements (six sigma, TQM, etc.) advocate in ways that are
really impressive. But in other areas, our processes are way less efficient
than they could be, and I’m hoping to fix some of that in the coming months.
When you start to look at things from a perspective of eliminating waste and continually
improving your processes, unnecessary processes that don’t contribute to the bottom
line stick out like a sore thumb.
Great book, highly recommended. -Chris