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Topic Title: Companies Using Lean for Software Product Development
Topic Summary: WHat companies are applying lean to software development?
Created On: 01/24/2007 06:59 AM
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01/24/2007 12:36 PM
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AgileLogic
Paul Hodgetts



I have a talk to give, and some folks are asking for some proof of the credibility of the lean approach in the software world by citing some examples.

Can anyone help me assemble a list of companies that are applying lean to the development of software products (or products with a significant software component)?

Do they have any articles or case studies published? Pointers much appreciated.

Within that list, which ones are particulary successful or notable in some way? Why?

Thanks in advance for any help. I'll be happy to post back the list once I compile it.

Paul
01/29/2007 09:46 AM
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AgileLogic
Paul Hodgetts



I guess I'm a little concerned that no one has offered any example of companies using lean software product development. I'm wondering if that's because there aren't any, those that do want to keep it quiet, or people thought my question was inappropriate (it's not a homework assignment! ;-).

In any case, from my off-line research I've found the following:

Patient Keeper (www.patientkeeper.com) - Their CTO, Jeff Sutherland, is one of the creators of Scrum. From what I can see, and from what I've heard from Jeff, this is one of the most advanced and successful applications of lean to software development. Jeff talks about it a lot, so they seem to be willing to publicize their use of lean.

Xerox (www.xerox.com) - Obviously a bigger name. They have applied lean to manufacturing operations, and are now apparently applying it to software development for their high end document systems. Not much info, although I've heard a few things that I can't publish.

Helphire (www.helphire.com) - All I know about them is from a talk some of their folks gave called "Learning About Lean" so I can't tell how far along they are or what exactly they are doing with lean.

If anyone has any candidates to add to this list, I'd really appreciate it.

Thanks,
Paul
01/29/2007 10:21 AM
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Moderator
Rachel Regan



There is a book on Lean Software Development (by Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck) - I am not personally familiar with the book, but have seen the Poppendieck name around the lean community for a while.
02/02/2007 12:32 PM
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RalfLippold
Ralf Lippold



Hello Paul,

your question is really interesting and even though I am not directly working in the software busines I find it very compelling because as user and requester of IT solutions I am interesting in getting results in short time in perfect quality.

There is a "Lean Thinking" Group at http://www.xing.com/net/lean and a member asked the same question on that topic.

Seems to be pretty unused in IT environment at the moment but I think it is worthwhile to think about LEAN and Software Development (there could be so much MUDA programming something the user doesn't need in the end;-().

Best regards

Ralf
02/05/2007 10:55 AM
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Robert_Simonis
Robert Simonis



RE: Lean in Software development

Paul;

Are you familiar with the CMMI standard?

I would hesitate to call this a lean method but the CMMI standards for software design are focused on driving continuous improvement in SW design and can be applied to other areas as well.

Hope this helps.
02/05/2007 10:55 AM
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89437
Susan Schalk



Hi Paul,

Thanks for the examples. I think there is a growing desire to learn about the subject.

I've done some research on the "how to" side and have found two sources. There is the Lean Software Institute in San Diego. I've heard the owner Frode Odegaard speak and he seems to have a good grasp of Lean and how it can be applied to software development. He can probably direct you to actual applications.

Mary Poppendieck is also a leader in the field, as already mentioned. One of her lectures is on the web. Go to Google video and enter "competing on the basis of speed". Google has posted a one hour talk she gave to their engineers on Lean software development.

Good luck,
Sue
02/05/2007 10:56 AM
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AllanMees
Allan Mees



Originally posted by: Moderator

There is a book on Lean Software Development (by Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck) - I am not personally familiar with the book, but have seen the Poppendieck name around the lean community for a while.


http://www.poppendieck.com and the book "Lean Software Development - An Agile Toolkit" by Mary and Tom Poppendieck (ISBN 0321150783) This book describes the application of the Toyota Production System (TPS) System Thinking approach to Software Development. Mary Poppendieck argues that IT Development projects are not as unique as IT people think they are, like everything, they follow a process which is full of waste

We started experimenting with the "Poppendieck" approach at the beginning of 2004 and have some very successful "Lean" IT development implementations. For enhancement of existing systems - we have reduced the development time from 3 to 4 months on a typical project to 3 to 4 weeks. By only developing what the customer asks for the lead times shorten dramatically and the testing is much simpler. In fact by ensuring all the parts work as we build them, passing on "clean" code to the next stage, there is very little left to test at the end - because we know it will all work when it is put together.

In brief the Poppendieck Lean principles for software development are:

1. Eliminate waste - anything which doesn't add value to the end product
2. Increase feedback - iterate so you can get early feedback
3. Delay commitment - so you can decide with the best knowledge
4. Deliver fast - so you can afford to delay commitment
5. Empower the team - they're the ones closest to the information
6. Build integrity in - have an integrated product team, use refactoring to keep the code clean, and use test-driven development to make sure it's all tested and you have a reason for doing everything.
7. See the whole - measure UP not DOWN - measuring details encourages micro-optimisation which tends to give overall suboptimisation. If you measure at a level higher you get global optimisations.
03/26/2007 09:05 AM
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deecarri
Dee Carri



Hi Paul,

I'm new to this forum so your query may be answered already.

In my experience most software development organizations who want to make substantial improvements in SW development tend to choose the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) Capability Maturity Model (CMM).  This is such a large investment, the methodology is so well proven that they tend not to overlay it with  Lean.   Personally I think that lean with CMM would be neat.

Dee

03/30/2007 12:55 PM
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aritikka
Ari Tikka



CMMI conflicts to some extent with lean SW development, and is considered not so effective. This is a bit longish story. Please consult Poppendieck's Lean Software Development mentioned above.

Ari
04/06/2007 10:41 AM
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joe_nj
Joseph Klock



Other than Mary and Tom Poppendieck's 2 books, there is little published on Lean Software development.  Some companies are doing it but it is a pioneering field.  As far as I can tell, the most advanced company may be Wipro Technologies in India.  They tell me that they expect to publish an article this year.  Meanwhile, there is a Harvard Case Study on them, "Lean at Wipro Technologies, Harvard case 607-032, October 2006"

CMMI is not an alternative to Lean.  Lean and Six Sigma can help you qualify for CMMI levels 4 and 5. The Poppendiecks caution against possible conflict between CMMI and Lean but so far, I have not found it to be a problem.  The military branches seem to have switched emphasis from CMMI to Six Sigma.

SWQual

04/13/2007 08:44 AM
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BertvL
Bert van Leeuwen



In my organization we are experimenting with Lean and 6 Sigma principles in development, also in SW development. Four years ago there has been an attempt to introduce CMMI.

One way to look at the CMMI is as a path to bring a development organization to a higher 'capability level'. This recipe for improvement is what I am missing in many books about Lean. These books often present solutions or success factors that cannot be simply implemented, because they require a fundamental mind shift in the development organization.

The highest CMMI level 5 is continuous improvement: Optimizing. The two generic practices of level 5 are about fulfilling business objectives and defect prevention.

In my opinion CMMI level 5 shares the idea of continuous improvement or learning with Toyota's lean development philosophy. The difference is that CMMI level 5 focuses only defect prevention and defects are only one of the 7 Muda's. So maybe CCMI is more 6Sigma than Lean.

BertvL
04/20/2007 12:36 PM
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LosAlamosKid
Richard Bollinger



I beg to differ. CMMI Level 5 includes Organizational Innovation and Deployment. Defect prevention is just one part of this. The CMMI is not 6Sigma or Lean. It is a model of good practices. To the extent an organization does not follow them, there is muda. To the extent an organization over-interprets them, there is muda. To the extent an organization tries adopt them all at once, there is muda. To the extent an organization misapplies 6Sigma or Lean principles from manufacturing to IT process improvement, there is muda. Relax. Don't create muda trying to plan perfectly. I am a member of the Deming Institute (www.deming.org). I try to keep my clients from doing silly things. I help IT organizations adopt the CMMI in an organic and fruitful way that solves their REAL problems.
05/07/2007 09:35 AM
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119584
John Novak



Originally posted by: AgileLogic I have a talk to give, and some folks are asking for some proof of the credibility of the lean approach in the software world by citing some examples. Can anyone help me assemble a list of companies that are applying lean to the development of software products (or products with a significant software component)? Do they have any articles or case studies published? Pointers much appreciated. Within that list, which ones are particulary successful or notable in some way? Why? Thanks in advance for any help. I'll be happy to post back the list once I compile it. Paul


Hello Paul,
Just came across your message. We are piloting SCRUM which in my opinion incorporates aspects of lean into SW development. In our Scrum Master training it lists a few case studies of companies with success. Wildcard systems, Yahoo, EasyTech, and Primavera were listed. Here's a suggested URL: Home of Scrum; www.controlchaos.com.  Good luck.
08/28/2007 11:03 AM
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MarkStover
Mark Stover



Hi Paul,

It's probably way too late for your talk, but I did find that the Corbis Corporation in Seattle (owned by Bill Gates) has been using lean principles to manage their software development resource scheduling. They have even put a slide show together on their work which I have attached.

I'm also interested in companies that have had success getting control of their software engineering resources to manage demand that can often be beyond capacity. Thanks, in advance,

mark


09/07/2007 09:13 AM
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Coco
Coco Kalinowski



I just read "The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering" by Frederick P. Brooks. It is a classic among software engineering books and although it does not address lean per se, many of the practices espoused in the book are definitely lean, such as:
1. Advocates employee ownership relative to the specific work that they do.
2. Speaks to flow (appropriate people touching the product at the correct time) and teamwork (rewards, interaction and stimulation along with team fusion) - also see the book Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister
3. Speaks to a system of incremental building (improvements)
4. The value is focused on the customer ("happy user" test)
5. Team approach to creating value rather than seeking credit; delegating power down and allowing teams to own the process - "...the quality of the people on a project, and their organization and management, are much more important factors in success than are the tools they use or the technical approaches they take."
6. Emphasis on interchangeable talent
7. Honesty and encouragement in disclosing status of work
8. Focus on milestone reports (value-added steps)
01/11/2018 08:05 PM
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CoveyCS
Lea Weir



Hey Paul,

The company I work for uses a lean approach to software. We start with business analysis to create a requirements document to create the best solution to fit their specific needs. We then develop an MVP to start minimizing waste, increasing revenue, reducing cycle or process time and improving quality as soon as possible.

You can find our stuff at coveycs.com. There are case studies and such that I can send your way as well.
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