What is Lean Software Development? [Definition + 7 Key Principles]

Lean software development is a structured approach to software development focusing on effectiveness, constant enhancement, and delivering value to customers while eliminating waste.

For example,

Assume you are developing banking software. Instead of creating the full software at once, you begin with the basic concepts, such as monitoring your balance. Once you have this basic part ready, you release it to a group of people and pay close attention to their feedback and suggestions.

Then, depending on what people find useful or not, you add further elements, such as paying bills. This is similar to constructing step-by-step and improving things as you go until you have really amazing software that people appreciate.

If you are looking to develop a software similar to banking using lean software development methodology, and want to know it in detail, here is a complete guide to lean software development. From this guide, you will know the history, challenges, and advantages of lean software in detail.

7 Key Principles of Lean Software Development

Here are the key principles of lean software development.

  1. Eliminates Waste by Streamlining Processes

    Focuses on identifying and removing procedures, activities performed, or features that do not directly add value for the customers. For example, streamlining documentation processes in a software project and avoiding building features users won’t use or try.

  2. Amplifies Learning by Incorporating User Feedback

    Highlights the importance of gathering constant feedback and learning from practical experiences. For example, you release a prototype of new functionality, gather user reactions, and modify it based on their input and feedback.

  3. Delay Decisions to Make Informed Choices and Maintain Flexibility

    Encourages postponing decisions that are irreversible unless your software development team has gathered sufficient and relevant information. For example, you avoid locking in particular design details in a software project until you have collected enough insights from user testing.

  4. Accelerates Delivery to Ensure Rapid Releases

    The goal is to swiftly release functional increments of the software in order to receive user feedback sooner. For example, you launch a basic version of the software first that allows users to access core features, and then you progressively add extra features as per their requirements.

  5. Empowers the Team to Foster Collaboration and Encourage Ownership

    Focuses on creating a collaborative environment in which all team members may make decisions and contribute to problem resolution. For example, you allow your developers to take total control of their work and identify how to best implement a specific feature.

  6. Prioritizes Quality Assurance to Ensure Reliability

    Quality assurance is prioritized here through continuous testing and integration to guarantee the final product is strong and reliable. For example, you use automated tests to identify and resolve problems early in the development process.

  7. Gain Holistic Insight by Adopting a System Perspective

    With this lean principle, you consider the complete system and its interactions, rather than the individual elements. For example, you address the challenges that may hinder the process of developing software.

9 Benefits of Lean Software Development

Here are 9 benefits of lean software development. There is no doubt that lean software provides numerous advantages and is one of the best methodologies for software development. However, if you are interested to know other top methodologies, here is our blog post that will give you detailed information about the top most popular software development methodologies.

Now, let’s discuss the top 9 benefits of lean software development.

  1. Helps you achieve efficient resource utilization by focusing on resource management and optimizing team capacity.
  2. Eliminates waste, identifies non-essential elements and focuses on elements that directly contribute to customer value.
  3. Shorter iterations and fast release cycle allows you to have more frequent updates which enables you to provide new features and stay ahead in the competitive market.
  4. Creates a culture of clear interaction and minimizes misunderstanding and errors.
  5. Provides flexibility that allows your team to adjust easily to the changing requirements and market conditions without disruption.
  6. Drives continuous improvement as teams regularly refine processes, address challenges, and boost efficiency.
  7. Helps you identify and eliminate the bottlenecks, and reduces delays which create smoother workflows throughout your projects.
  8. Prioritizes testing, validation, and customer feedback, which results in improved software quality, fewer defects and providing a reliable product that meets your enterprise standards.
  9. Aligns your features and functionalities with customer requirements and preferences.

Lean development offers a customer-centric approach that focuses on efficiency, value delivery and allows to eliminate waste. This lean approach enables the enterprise to change quickly, ensure quality, and create a software product that matches customer preferences by concentrating on efficient procedures and collaborative teams.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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