1.10.2012

Lean and Agile Software Development: How Do We Make It Happen?

Recently, I had the chance to speak in person with Michael Levine, author of a new book published this past December titled A Tale of Two Transformations: Bringing Lean and Agile Software Development to Life. His book provides entertaining and thought-provoking guidance on making organizational change.

I asked Michael about one of the paradoxes of bringing Agile software development into organizations -- Although Agile preaches the centrality of the self-managed team, in practice many Agile migrations are imposed top-down by strong-willed executives. Can this really work? Here is his response:

Organizations vary dramatically from each other, and these variations must drive the approach to introducing Lean and Agile techniques effectively. An organization that is performing adequately and for which the risk of disruption is high must be addressed differently than an organization that is performing unacceptably and for which change is urgent.

That is why I draw out two approaches to change: Drive People, a top-down approach focused on processes and tools, and People Driven, an enabling approach focused on people, learning, and organizational design.

Ultimately agile success depends on becoming People Driven – aligning the skills and perspectives of the team members to the work at hand, with broad understanding and embrace of Lean and Agile principles. Some organizations can begin their Lean/Agile journey with a low-risk, gradual People Driven approach from the start; others do not have the capability or the time and need the kick-start of a Drive People approach. Both can work, so long as the end-game is a self-sustaining, continually improving People Driven culture.

What do you think of Michael's points? Do any readers who work in software development have any opinions or experiences to share in regard to Agile software development in a Lean organization?

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Actually the lean development focuses on discovering and handling the consumer's needs of the items being designed by the business in an Agile manner. It goes beyond the procedure of merely taking out testimonies as they are experienced and attaching them together into releases.

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