Chapter 8. Lean, Eliminating Waste, and Seeing the Whole

Lean is a mindset—a mental model of how the world works.

Mary and Tom Poppendieck, The Lean Mindset: Ask the Right Questions

So far in this book, you’ve learned about Scrum and XP. Each of those methodologies has practices that you and your team can put in place, and values and principles that help everyone on the team reach an effective mindset. You can tell that you’re on a team doing Scrum because you’re attending a Daily Scrum, using sprints, and working with a Product Owner and Scrum Master. The same goes for XP: if you’re refactoring mercilessly, doing test-driven development, continuously integrating, and doing incremental design, your team is using XP.

But one thing that XP and Scrum have in common is that if you and your team don’t understand their values and principles, then you’ll end up going through the motions and getting better-than-not-doing-it results. As Ken Schwaber pointed out, if you don’t understand collective commitment and self-organization, you don’t “get” scrum, and the Scrum values help you understand those things. Ditto for XP: without understanding its values like simplicity and energized work, you’ll end up treating the practices like a checklist—your team won’t truly embrace change, and you’ll end up with complex software that’s difficult to maintain.

Lean is different. Unlike Scrum and XP, Lean doesn’t include a set of practices. Lean is a mindset, and just like with the mindset for Scrum ...

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