Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash

by Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck

I’ve long considered Mary and Tom Poppendieck to be among the primary theoreticians in the agile software development movement. Their first book, Lean Software Development, provided insights into the theory behind agile software development. That first book has been widely praised for helping those of us doing agile software development know why what we were doing worked.

With their new book, Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash, the Poppendiecks move their ideas a giant leap forward. In this book they move very much from theory straight into what teams should do tomorrow to create better products. The book is full of practical, agile– or lean–minded, do–this–tomorrow advice on topics such as how to solve problems, how to structure compensation and recognition programs, how to get started on a lean initiative, how to write contracts for agile projects, and many more. The practicality of the book is reinforced by the “Try This” exercises that conclude each chapter.

The book starts out with a wonderful description of their seven principles of lean software development. For each principle they single out and dispel a common myth associated with the principle. Their description of the principle “build quality in,” for example, includes a highly effective argument against the myth that the job of testing is to find defects.

The book then moves on to chapters on value, waste, people, knowledge, quality, and partners before concluding with a chapter on the journey ahead for companies embracing the theory and the practical advice given in this wonderful book.