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Lean Software Development: An In-depth Guide for Every Developer

Any developer should know the hurdles of developing software. With this in mind, they should also determine the best possible solutions as they go through different phases. In lean software development, you can accurately identify the threats or risks. The idea is to eliminate time wastage to smoothen the process.

Did you know that some lean principles came from a top-manufacturing company? Lean software development has adapted some of its practices from the Toyota production system. Experts have seen how the company refined its process using lean manufacturing. From there, software engineers and developers have modified their practices.

The methodology has gained its reputation in the IT industry in 2003– the same year when the infamous book, “Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit by Mary and Tom Poppendieck was published.

In this post, you will better understand how your development teams should apply the lean-agile system for their projects.

What is Lean Software Development?

Lean Software Development involves various principles applied in each phase of the development process. One of the overall objectives of any development team is to simplify programming and project management tasks. This should make the process more efficient by removing unnecessary codes and optimizing development time and resources. As a result, it helps your team members deliver fast and high-quality results.

Most tech teams apply seven principles of lean development in each phase of development. Within the process, your development teams should optimize processes, and allocate resources accordingly. This would generate greater customer value. It’s also one of the reasons developers describe lean as a customer-oriented approach.

What are the 7 Lean Development Principles?

Knowing the seven lean principles will help in decision making. The following items can be applied to software development:

Waste Elimination

Waste elimination is one of the things your production team must prioritize. Waste in this context can be anything that doesn’t add value to the developmental methods and the final product’s quality. Developers should also resolve any repetition or unnecessary items in the software development process. 

To give you more ideas, here are some of the things you should resolve: 

Building in Quality

Every software development team’s goal is to comply with the client’s quality expectations. For continuous improvement, the lean approach encourages flexible ways. This means every small iteration must be evaluated. There are several ways to ensure your project meets the client’s expectations.

These are the recommended actions: 

Amplifying Knowledge

Any aspect of technology requires learning, and lean development methodology is not an exception. It’s considered an ongoing learning process because developers gain more knowledge and improve their skills during the developmental phases. Developers don’t document clear codes on the first try; instead, they first detect errors, then write an improved version of the previous code.

Delaying Commitment

I know this looks like a bad idea, right? But then, keeping options open for a while is better than making unreliable choices. You don’t want your product to turn out to be unfit by the date of release. Postponing irreversible design decisions can provide some advantages. Lean methodology keeps room for modification by delaying irreversible decisions till all information has been analyzed. This makes the software flexible so that when fresh knowledge becomes available, engineers can make modifications without sabotaging what had been done initially.

Fast Delivery

Initially, long-term planning used to be a vital achievement in any development process. That isn’t the case anymore.

Lean development has come up with Minimum Viable Product(MVP), where you build software quickly, include little functionality, and liftoff to the market as fast as possible. The software can then be improved, consequently based on customer’s feedback collected.

Respecting the Team

One way of encouraging creativity among your code creators and other team members is to soften the management control. Everyone would wish to work freely without tight supervision.

Lean development boosts teamwork by empowering the team and providing a better working environment. Developers get permission to make important decisions based on their judgment. This principle boosts the morale of developers enabling them to work better.

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Optimize the Whole Value Stream

When your team is closely knit together, the project’s chance of success increases exponentially. The lean methodology encourages a whole value stream.

It ensures that developers suitable for a particular project are organized into a full and standalone team. This way, there will be no disruptions and miscommunication that can delay the product’s delivery.

Applying lean in the software development lifecycle

The lean principles can be applied in each production phase. Let’s see how the principles fit in during each phase of software development:

After getting information about a client’s software requirements and problems, developers apply the lean software development principles to incorporate all the necessary features and eliminate waste.

Since requirements keep changing as the project goes on, the principle of defer commitment comes in. It enables the developers to build flexible software that can be modified when new information is gathered.

Business requirements are dynamic; therefore, the product design should be flexible enough to accommodate future modifications.

Since the lean software development approach is repetitive, developers gain more knowledge during each itinerate. Therefore, they gain and improve skills from these repetitive tasks, leading to a better product. The principle of amplifying knowledge is in play here.

Testing is introduced in the early stages of the software development process to eliminate errors. It also ensures the client’s expectations are met. Here, you’ll apply the principle of waste elimination and build in quality.

When the product is released to the market, the customer’s feedback is used to improve and fix the software’s bugs. The principle of fast delivery is applied here.

Pros of Lean Software Development

Pros of Lean Software Development | Laneways.Agency

Lean development methodology possesses strengths that outdo the other software development methodologies.

The strengths are;

• It’s a simplified approach that enables your team to deliver more functionality in less time, hence saving time

• Excludes wasteful activities, resulting in a reduction of costs

• Grants the developmental team permission to make a judgment which boosts their morale hence enabling them to meet the client’s quality expectations

Cons of Lean Software Development

Even though the lean development methodology has several strengths, it has bottlenecks that hinder its performance.

The weaknesses are;

• The methodology heavily relies on the team involved; hence it’s not scalable as other frameworks.

• Depends on strong documentation. Failure to document each step could lead to errors in the developmental process.

Cons of Lean Software Development | Laneways.Agency

Can Your Team Adapt the Lean Approach?

Having analyzed the pros and cons of lean software development methodology, we can see that the strengths outweigh the weaknesses.

These practices will foster a simplified decision-making and agile approach in your team. You can deliver more functionality in less time, eliminating waste. However, the organization’s management needs to create an outstanding team that can work to ensure this approach is successful.

Wrapping Up

Lean software development practices have gained popularity since the industry borrowed this concept from the manufacturing world. It continues to enhance a customer-focused and flexible system. However, we should not forget that the main driving force behind any methodology is the development team. Therefore, when hiring people to develop your application, ensure that they possess the needed expertise and skills to deliver value in the shortest time possible.

Laneways.Agency has seasoned software developers ready to innovate your projects.

For more information, feel free to contact us!

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