Scrum Agile Project Management

Book Review: Implementing Lean Software Development

“Implementing Lean Software Development” is a book from Mary and Tom Poppendieck that helps to apply the lean manufacturing approach to the software development activities. After a presentation of the way Toyota designed its lean approach for manufacturing and product development, the book describes how these principles could be translated in the software development world.

The main part of the book describes how the lean approach can affect elements of the software development process (value, speed, people, …). Finally, the “Implementing Lean Software Development” provides a transition path to evolve towards a leaner approach. The strength of the book lies in the good presentation of the lean philosophy in the software development context, balancing concepts presentation and concrete examples on how to apply them. Lean is a state of mind, so you will not find in this book explicit processes saying “to get A, do B, then C”. Instead, Mary and Tom Poppendieck provide material to think with a different and interesting perspective about every software development activity and how to improve it.

Reference: “Implementing Lean Software Development”, Mary and Tom Poppendieck, Addison Wesley, 276 pages

Implementing Lean Software Development”, Mary and Tom Poppendieck


Every organization we encounter has more work than it can possibly do. However, we generally find that far more work can be done, faster and with higher quality, by simply removing the enormous waste seen in most value stream maps.

The cost of complexity is not linear, it is exponential, and the cost of complexity eventually comes to dominate all other costs in most software systems. Complex code is brittle and breaks easily, making it almost impossible to change safely. Wise software development organizations place top priority on keeping the code base simple, clean and small.