Implementing Lean Software Development, by Tom & Mary Poppendieck, is part of the Kent Beck Signature Series from Addison-Wesley. All of the books I’d read in that series have been excellent, so it was no surprise that this book was also a great read.
As a newcomer to Lean principles, I was looking for something that would explain its essence, and how it can be applied to working environments, and I found Implementing Lean Software Development satisfied all those requirements. I have a background in Scrum, and there were enough references to shared practices (respect for people, short iterations, defer responsibility) to make it pretty easy to draw parallels between the two approaches.
Implementing Lean Software Development is peppered with examples and real world application of Lean principles in software and non-software settings which makes the ideas behind the approach easy to digest and to apply to one’s own situation. It’s obvious that a lot of care has gone into producing this book: there are very few wasted pages, which — considering the subject — shouldn’t be that surprising!
Many of the principles presented in the book are also principles shared by Scrum. However, it’s easier for a Scrum adoption to fail in an organisation because the practices are often presented before the principles: many more people would be able to describe the ceremonies of Scrum, but none of the principles. There is a much more obvious philosophy to Lean which makes me feel it would lead to fewer false starts for organisations attempting to transition to an Agile software development structure, but that is merely conjecture at this point!