Before implementing lean software development in your organization, it's essential to break down the principles. The main aim is to minimize waste and maximize value throughout the production line. Whether you outsource software development or do it internally, you need to understand the principles and workflows during the development process. The principles of lean software for software development include the following.
1. Waste elimination
In the process of software development, anything that does not bring value to the final product or the business needs to be eliminated. This contributes to building quality, as the unwanted processes or materials are disposed of. This can be on the basis of feedback, experience, and the ability of the development team to eliminate waste during the development process. For instance, these are some of the issues that may be eliminated during the development process,
Code errors, repeats, unwanted sequences
Partially done work
Extra features that add to unnecessary complications
2. Incorporating quality
This is the process of scrutinizing the development stage. Removing the wastes may not be enough unless coupled with strict detection of any lack in quality. When the waste goes undetected, it may hamper the development process later. Some of the ways of building quality include,
Implementing inspection processes
Resolving issues immediately
Root cause analysis to solve defects
Aim to create error-free products
Encourage knowledge sharing within the team
While the main aim should be to build a quality packed product, the process should also improve in quality over time. Developers need to emphasize and incorporate a quality-backed development process throughout.
3. Distribute and amplify learning
There are three areas within which a developer can learn newer features, relearn, document and implement. Learning new technologies, new skills or a new area of improvement to boost customer satisfaction. This part of the process encourages the need to document, save time during relearning and implement new technologies.
Some of the methods of documenting and sharing knowledge are through knowledge hubs, upskilling, collaboration, mentorship, community events within the team and so on.
In lean development software, the learning process is supported by short feedback cycles. The concept of testing small experiments such as A/B testing is prominent in Lean methodology. Automated tools or testing tools are also used to receive feedback on processes faster to identify defects and figure out possible solutions at the earliest.
4. Encouraging & maintaining a healthy team
Lean software development principles emphasize the importance of healthy competition and a strong team rapport. In lean methodology, respect within your teams is by fostering mutual trust and by encouraging teamwork such that each individual reaches their full potential in the development process. Rather than micromanagement, here are some tips to keep in mind,
Set up a collaborative atmosphere
Create a work atmosphere where problems are viewed as a source of progress
Open, honest communication between team members
Any setbacks due to experimentation is taken upon in a positive manner
Encourage individual autonomy and accountability
Platforms that encourage teamwork, where members come together to resolve issues and contribute to the overall process is one of the main principles of lean development methodology.
5. Constant experiment and removal of uncertainty
The goal of lean is to remove as much uncertainty as possible by constantly sourcing feedback. By testing and experimenting, the team can notice areas of improvement or defects that can be attended to immediately, rather than having them locked in during further development. This is against the principle of traditional project management that only takes feedback once the product is rolled out.
In lean software development, making a rigid decision is put off until the end. The team is open to new ideas and considers the software as flexible, with room for improvement at every stage. This avoids making critical software decisions that may be hard to change later on.
6. Faster delivery
In lean software methodology, the entire process is optimised to encourage faster delivery of the final product. This supports the reason behind its name as 'minimum viable strategy' product. A simple solution or product is delivered, with incremental improvements of the products based on customer feedback over time.
Customer feedback is the most important process post-deployment. The process of longer planning periods in traditional development is replaced by this process of faster delivery. These products have less functionality and depend on user feedback and customizations to develop the product over time, to best match customer requirements.
7. Optimize the development process
All the components of the lean development process optimize the overall workflow. The efficiency of the workflow is boosted and any form of inefficiency is rooted out and eliminated before it creates a barrier. This greatly reduces the complexity of the product and the team involved, as lean development focuses on understanding the team and their processes of development.
The main principles of open communication, feedback and efficient testing serve as the pillars of adopting lean software methodology, like in kubernetes engineering. The entire process is optimised this way, leading to developers having an open mind and checking every nook and corner of the development process. All the possible risks and solutions are considered in the process, making lean development a knowledgeable, reliable process for developers and the company alike.