Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lean Product Development references


After yesterdays blog posting I had a comment from ‘Brave Heart’ asking for some references on Lean Product Development. I’m more than happy to help and normally I’d reply direct to Brave Heart. But... I can’t find your e-mail address on your posting or blog. So that means everyone is going to see my recommendations...

The only book I’ve read which is dedicated to Lean Product Development is Michael Kennedy’s Product Development for the Lean Enterprise. There is some additional information in Machine that Changes the World (little bit dated now), Lean Solutions and Thinking Beyond Lean (also getting a bit old) but not a lot. I believe there are a couple of other books dedicated to the Toyota Product Development System but I haven’t read them.

I think you would benefit from looking at some of the literature from the software community. In particular Mary and Tom Poppendieck’s books Lean Software Development and Implementing Lean Software Development.

From there you have to decide if you want to look at Agile software development. I think of Agile as an application of Lean, which I talk about in my own book, Changing Software Development. If you do then SCRUM is going to be of more interest than XP or some of the others.

This is because SCRUM has its roots in the knowledge management - specifically the theories of Nonaka - and these link up with the knowledge thinking behind Lean Product Development. Which brings us full circle back to Kennedy. As Kennedy points out, Lean Product Development might be better described as Knowledge Based Product Development.

As for research, you might want to go and watch some Agile or Lean teams in action. Its probably easier to find teams which consider themselves Agile than Lean. You’ll want to look at how their activities differ from ‘traditional’ product development.

I hope that helps.

Brave Heart, please drop me e-mail (with your address) if I can be of any more help.