#91 - Lean Software Development Principles and Mindset - Mary & Tom Poppendieck

Tech Lead Journal

Jun 6 2022 • 58 mins

"Pull, don’t push. Don’t tell people what to do. Tell them what results you want and let them figure out how best to achieve the outcome that’s needed."

Mary & Tom Poppendieck are the co-authors of several books related to Agile and Lean, including their award-winning book “Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit” published in 2003. In this episode, Mary & Tom shared about lean software development, its principles and mindset, and the concept of a pull system. Mary & Tom then pointed out the problems of having proxies in software development and how it is much better to manage by the outcomes by having the people directly figuring out the best way to achieve those outcomes. Later on, Mary & Tom talked about the concept of flow, why it is important to optimize flow, and how to optimize flow by analyzing the value stream map and minimizing approval process.

Listen out for:

  • Career Journey - [00:05:26]
  • Lean Software Development - [00:18:50]
  • Pull, Don’t Push - [00:23:34]
  • Proxies - [00:31:00]
  • Managing by Outcome - [00:37:10]
  • Optimizing Flow - [00:41:18]
  • Value Stream Map & Approvals - [00:47:00]
  • 3 Tech Lead Wisdom - [00:55:05]


Mary Poppendieck’s Bio
Mary wrote the now-classic book “Lean Software Development: an Agile Toolkit”, proposing an approach which focuses on customers, respects software engineers, concentrates on learning, and leverages flow. Mary is a popular writer and speaker. Sequels of her first book include “Implementing Lean Software Development: from Concept to Cash”, “Leading Lean Software Development: Results are Not the Point” and “The Lean Mindset: Ask the Right Questions”.

Tom Poppendieck’s Bio
Tom has over three decades of experience in computing, including several years of work with object technology. Tom holds a PhD in Physics and has taught physics for ten years. He is the coauthor of four books: “Lean Software Development” (2003), “Implementing Lean Software Development” (2006), “Leading Lean Software Development” (2009) and “Lean Mindset” (2013).

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For more info about the episode (including quotes and transcript), visit techleadjournal.dev/episodes/91.