Lean Development Methodology: Principles, Benefits, and Implementation

The approach taken by Ohno and colleagues served as the basis for “lean manufacturing,” as popularized by James Womack and Daniel Jones in a series of U.S. books, including Lean Thinking [Womack & Jones 2003]. These books are widely cited by lean software development advocates including the Poppendiecks and David Anderson, the creator of the Kanban method. Overall, the lean software development methodology offers many advantages for teams looking to optimize their processes and create more effective systems.

Also, the team must be provided with tools for accurate waste identification in order to eliminate it correctly, which requires the right metrics that will measure muda. To successfully implement Lean, the team needs to be thoroughly educated and have a good understanding https://www.globalcloudteam.com/ of its goals and principles. It involves building a modern, coherent working culture, and this won’t happen overnight. The team must be trained in communication, teamwork, and work optimization, preferably as part of a structured and facilitated process.

How long does it take to implement Lean in a team?

At the same time, you should not get carried away with plans and regulations to keep flexibility. Planning is a critical stage that allows you to set the course for a project, assign tasks, and estimate costs. Management often requires performers to have a clear plan of activities. To avoid surprises, the team must constantly be in touch with the customer and perform early testing. Waste here means any actions that turned out to be useless, that is, they did not affect production in any way.

lean software development methodology

Founded in 2000, we create award-winning transformative digital products & platforms for startups and enterprises worldwide. In manufacturing and the Toyota Production System, the underlying principles are known as the Toyta Way. Lean development methodology borrows heavily from manufacturing, where “lean” became a process of eliminating “waste” – less human effort, less equipment, less time, and less space. This concept was first introduced by Toyota in the Toyota Production System, developed by Japanese engineers Taiichi Ohno and Eiji Toyoda. If you enjoyed reading this article on lean software development principles, you should check out this one about software development contract templates.

Eliminate Waste

Software development is a complicated process that can be made easier with lean principles. This way, teams can better use the resources and offer higher quality for customers. Constant software development process improvement is a must – and one of the proven approaches that can transform your work efficiency is Lean methodology. Explore what is Lean software development and find out how it can help you to drive your results. At MindK we delivered over 170 projects on time and within budget thanks to Lean methodology and Agile approach, which has come out of the Lean principles.

lean software development methodology

The members of the team should then be empowered to self-direct themselves, to “use their heads” to determine the best way to meet the goals. According to it, you can identify the problem after its occurrence or prevent its cause. Alas, the latter is not always possible, so experts recommend that you act immediately as soon as the problem arises. To do this, you need facts at hand, not just predictions and assumptions, and use the experience gained during the work on the project.

principles of lean software development

Waste-removal should take place iteratively until even seemingly essential processes and procedures are liquidated. This is basically analyzing if a feature (or even part of the development process) maps onto some product value or adds useless bloat instead. An example of such bloat are the features in the product you commonly use that you never knew about or those that irritate you, like ordering pizza from a banking app or video calls within IDE. Imagine you are improving the first-time setup experience of your product. The correct setup is crucial for your product, and you want to support customers as much as possible.

lean software development methodology

This increases customer satisfaction and decreases the frustration of having too much work. According to the World Health Organization, burnout syndrome is characterized by energy depletion, a negative attitude at work, and reduced efficacy. The Haystack survey shows that 83% of programmers reported suffering from burnout, and the COVID-19 pandemic made this problem even worse for many of them.

The Key Lean Software Development Principles

And as long and bitter experience teaches, however carefully we plan and schedule, it is likely that we will have to slip functionality to future releases as we get close to the end of development. Knowing the theme and the core value to be delivered allows us to focus on what is core to achieving that intent and be sure to get it built. Does this mean that software engineering is inherently unrepeatable? No, even large project or lean software development methodology job shops doing one-time engineering have defined processes, reusable components, and aspects of their production model that are quite repeatable. Given that both the lean school and the agile manifesto methods were influenced by the Toyota Production System, one would think the two camps would seem very closely aligned. Unfortunately, a minor difference has led to a perceived chasm between the schools in many people’s minds.

  • In their book, Mary and Tom Poppendieck describe two vicious cycles into which Lean development teams often fall.
  • Lean encourages teams to work together and remove waste from the process.
  • That’s why automating testing is considered a foundational part of the CI/CD pipeline, and CI enables to reveal more bugs and fix them at a lower cost.
  • There are many tools that can assist in amplifying learning, including user story mapping tools such as Featmap or Avion, automated testing tools, or team wiki tools such as Slab or Tettra.
  • To identify and remove waste from your software development process, you must avoid making elaborate plans in advance.

An agile software development approach can move the building of options earlier for customers, thus delaying certain crucial decisions until customers have realized their needs better. This also allows later adaptation to changes and the prevention of costly earlier technology-bounded decisions. Evaluating different options is effective as soon as it is realized that they are not free, but provide the needed flexibility for late decision making. Lean software development is a translation of lean manufacturing principles and practices to the software development domain.

Helps You Achieve Your Goals Faster

Each time the code is written, engineers reflect on it immediately and then incorporate, during the following iterations, the lessons they have learned. That’s true of whole lean software development and all agile methodologies. Implementing lean software development methodology often uses paired programming to ensure that particular knowledge isn’t accumulated exclusively by one engineer writing a specific code. Lean is the process of applying a scientific experimentation approach to find optimal solutions to user problems. On the other hand, the Lean Agile methodology focuses on the people who use your application.

The process of user requirements gathering could be simplified by presenting screens to the end-users and getting their input. The accumulation of defects should be prevented by running tests as soon as the code is written. The best way to achieve both aims at once is to run a collaboration session. We recommend using BRIDGeS — a decision-making and ideation framework for multi-context analysis — during these sessions.

Phase Wise Application of the 2 Principles

It simply means that the project team would have to deliver the modules according to the milestone plans. But lean might be just the thing if you’re a company looking to improve your software development process. The word “lean” comes from the production line for cars, which is where Toyota introduced this approach to manufacturing.