More Poppendieck on Lean

Here’s a new interview with Tom and Mary Poppendieck on the topic of lean software development. Thanks to Rickard Johansson for the tip!

Around 25 minutes into the interview, the topic of RUP appears. Tom points out the amount of knowledge available in the RUP, but also how it has often been implemented with a focus on the specific practices, rather than on the principles that lie behind the RUP: iterative, incremental software development.

This problem is not entirely unexpected, since people who need the guidance provided by the RUP manuals are probably not yet at a skill level where they can work from principles. When learning something new, we need rules and practices. Unfortunately, in projects and management, the same rules and practices will not work for everyone. A skilled practitioner knows this, and works from the principles he believes in to deduce practices that are useful in the current context. When people “implement” the RUP by copying practices without knowing why, problems are likely.

At around 36 minutes, Mary discusses the difficulty of applying lean and agile over company borders. This is an interesting question, but one that needs some care. Any project run over company borders is challenging. Lean and agile have the nasty and necessary habit of talking openly about uncertainties and risk, and recommending transparency. Obviously, this will put a strain on any relationship between parties who are used to contracting defensively with each other.

Published by Tobias Fors

I'm a software management consultant. I help other people succeed with software development. In my work, I help teams and organizations be more effective and ship software.