“Designing a Lean Software Development Process” by Mary Poppendieck

The first day of this conference was for tutorials, I choosed the Poppendieck session “Designing a Lean Software Development Process”.

Don’t want to be late, I choose to go there early. I’m too early that the staffs were just started to placing everything. However, then I got my name tag and the presentation handout. The logistics look good, hot water, bottled water, orange juice and apple juice, coffee, of course there were more during the breaks.

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There were really many people attending, during the break we gathered in the lobby talking, discussing, of course with coffee and snacks.

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Close to the end of morning, we had an exercise, which was look through our whole value stream, figure out all the steps or say stages, then compute the (value-added spent time / total time), which means sort of development process efficiency. And we had 3 groups, 2 as below.

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Then it’s our group, Mary was just guiding us, and I was taking picture…

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When all groups finished, we shared with each other. Mary said she will give the presenter a hard time, and she did 🙂 asked a lot of questions, challenging them why they did in that way and so on. In our case as below pictures, I had the question that “who is the right one to apply system thinking for the organization?”. Take the presenter as example, he was from development part, knows only this part, and made a lot of guess on how many time other parts cost. We can not make a decision based on many assumptions or actually hypothesises, but, do we have such a person or group of people who can do this? Or even should we have this kind of people at all?

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The 2nd group was chanllenged for their 2 weeks iteration which responsibles until the “DEV Deploy”, but the feature only took 1 week, then it comes to several steps later for about 1 week more, doing testing while they know they’ll most probably got no bugs. Also in the “Test VAT” step, it was said if it failed, it went back to the loop to develop and test again, and the ratio was 60%.

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The 3rd one was a CTO from one company. I can only remember the funny thing he said, which is, their feature delivery can be in 3 months or 2 years, and the customer was happy… Also he told that the customer had complained the fast delivery, because they couldn’t handle, so their bottleneck was before the “deploy” in the figure.

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The good thing about this exercise was, Mary didn’t just challenging people, also leading people to understanding the technique (obviously should do this …), and asked the audiences to give suggestions to the presenter.

Finally comes some pictures taken just in curiousity. 1st one was an example of Kanban system; 2nd was a comparisions of Kanban and iterations; the last one was Mary’s writing, that telling the way a company doing performance issue, and the “NPS” was a technique, there’s a book for that.

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About Kaveri, Yi XU

Agile Coach & Consutlant


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