Chapter 7. Gradual Process Improvement as an Antidote for Overcommitment

Imagine that you are a consultant that specializes in helping early-stage product companies overcome their growing pains.

Your newest client is a few months into a transition from a web development agency to a product-based business. Their core focus is on a product called TagSail, a mobile-friendly web application that helps people find nearby yard sales.

The business model for TagSail is straightforward: the site is free to use for anyone looking for yard sales to visit, but a fee is charged to anyone who posts a listing on the site. There are also premium features available to paying customers, but like many early-stage products, TagSail’s offering is a bit scattershot.

For months it looked like the product wasn’t going anywhere, but in recent weeks it has started to gain traction. This spike in activity has caused major strains at both the technical and human level, and the team is now at the point where they’re willing to try anything to prevent themselves from being swept out to sea.

Your mission is to help the TagSail team minimize waste while still delivering a steady stream of value to their customers. To make this happen, you’ll apply Lean-inspired process improvements—but custom-fit to the needs of the situation on the ground.

In this chapter…

You will learn some common anti-patterns that lead to struggles in software project management, and how incremental process improvements at all levels can ...

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