Lean Software Development

Lean Software Development: A recipe for success

How can Lean Software Development be described?

Lean Software Development is integrating the Lean manufacturing principles and practices with software development. The primary goal of this methodology is to reduce waste and optimize value. A disciplined approach that relies on collaborative team effort is followed to achieve this. The Lean method enables enterprises to develop better products and meet customer expectations.

Classification of activities

Every development process comprises a set of activities which are performed to achieve the output. These activities are classified into three types:

  • Value-added activities: These are essential as they add value to the products. These are what the customer pays for willingly.
  • Non-Value added activities: These are irrelevant activities and they do not add any value to the products.
  • Enabling Value-activities: These are similar to non-value added activities, but they are essential for the process continuum.

Value is something that is defined by the customer. The Lean method emphasizes identifying the numerous non-value added activities in the development process. Then, they are either eliminated or reduced by using tools like Just in Time, thereby maximizing customer value. According to Mary and Tom Poppendieck, there are 7 lean principles that are applicable to the software domain.

Apply these 7 Lean Principles in Software Development


Eliminate waste: While exercising Lean, anything that doesn’t add value to the product has to be considered as waste and needs to be eliminated.  The different types of waste in the software domain are:

  • Overproduction
  • Delays in the development process
  • Unnecessary/Unwanted storage
  • Defects
  • Partially completed work
  • Improper utilization of skill
  • Improper communication
  • Extra processing

Build quality in: Higher the quality, lower the waste. Try to implement the feature right in the first place. This gives less scope for defects. Even if    you encounter one, make it a priority and fix it as soon as possible. Also, make sure to ensure quality from the start; not while you test. Use          development tools like ‘Pair Programming’ for building quality.

Create knowledge: Continuous learning is very essential in the software development process. Try to learn as much as possible from everything you code, test, eliminate and deliver. Collect feedbacks and try to implement that knowledge in further iterations. There should be scope for change.

Defer commitment: Gather necessary facts before committing to a deadline. Your commitments should not be based on predictions, because it can  have a vile impact on the project. Understand the requirements, collect the necessary information and schedule irreversible decisions to the last      moment. This allows you to identify and correct mistakes early.

Deliver ASAP: Offer a simple solution to the customer as soon as possible. Collect feedback from the customer for further improvements. This will  let you gain a competitive advantage and also helps you to eliminate a lot of waste.

Respect & motivate people: Team members tend to get better results if they are well respected and motivated. A healthy collaboration will    definitely make a huge difference.

Optimize the whole: Optimizing each and every team of the development process is important. This should be done from the time the requirement
arrives until the product has been delivered.

Procure these Benefits with Lean Software Development

Enterprises can administer the Lean principles to build new products, give shape to ideas, and also for improving their internal workflows. However, the key benefits of the Lean methodology include:

  • Facilitates and simplifies the development process
  • Continuous and quick learning
  • Adhering to deadlines by depending on facts
  • Improving relationship with the customer
  • Avoiding overproduction

Final thoughts

The Lean method relies on effective team collaboration, with a primary focus to eliminate the non-value added activities. With an excellent team at your disposal, you can achieve outstanding results by applying lean principles. They let you build better and adaptable products by eliminating waste and increasing customer value. In a market that is constantly evolving, Lean Software Development would let your enterprise to meet business requirements.