Chapter 2. Applying Lean to Software Development

image with no caption

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

Albert Einstein

Aren’t Lean and Agile just two names for the same thing?

This is a common question and a common misconception. The short answer is no, they are not the same. But you want the long answer, don’t you?

It’s easy to see why this misconception exists. Lean and Agile share the same goals: to increase the productivity of software development while simultaneously increasing the quality of the resulting software. To compound the confusion, the practices that make up the various Agile methodologies also support the Lean principles.

Agile has a different perspective from Lean and, generally, has a narrower focus. Conversely, Lean takes a wider view, preferring to look at the entire business context in which the software development is done. Lean views Agile software development methodologies as valid supporting practices of Lean software development.

Lean Software Development

In 2003, Mary and Tom Poppendieck published the first thorough mapping of Lean principles to software development in their book, Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit for Software Development Managers (Addison-Wesley Professional), and they refined this mapping in their second book, Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash (Addison-Wesley Professional, 2006).

Most subsequent ...

Get The Art of Lean Software Development now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.