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Lean development is the application of lean principles to software development and has become an increasingly popular approach to building software. But what is it? How can you apply it to your team’s processes? And why should you bother? Let’s explore the basics of lean development and how it can help optimize your software creation process.

What are Lean Principles in Software Development?

Lean principles got their start in manufacturing as a means to remove wasteful practices from the production line and streamline operations for maximum efficiency and value. Of course, there are some substantial differences between manufacturing and software development, the obvious being that manufacturing deals with the production of physical goods, while the value being created in software development is created within the mind of the developer; yet the same concept applies to software development. Lean principles focus on removing steps that don’t directly contribute to a quality product while emphasizing collaboration between teams to optimize each individual’s skills.

Lean principles are an important aspect of modern development, as they prioritize customer value. This means that customer needs should be carefully understood and evaluated before beginning a project and continues throughout the process. Feedback should be taken seriously, and adjustments made to ensure customer needs are being met in an efficient manner. Lean principles encourage continual customer engagement throughout the development process, which helps foster trust between customer and company while ensuring successful product delivery.

Why Use Lean Principles in Software Development? 

The goal of any business is to maximize profits while minimizing costs; this is especially true when creating software products or services. Lean principles provide an effective framework for businesses to ensure that projects remain on track with minimal waste of resources and time.

Lean principles facilitate meaningful collaboration between team members, lead to improved customer value, and allow organizations to respond quickly to changes. Lean embraces the idea of creating “value streams” by emphasizing a focus on delivering customer value instead of quantity or activities. Another benefit of lean development is it encourages continuous learning and improvement, clear communication channels between departments, thorough planning before implementation, eliminating distractions during work hours, and engaging in retrospective analysis after a deliverable is completed. Finally, leveraging lean principles gives you the ability to respond quickly to changes in customer needs or market trends without having to start completely from scratch or make drastic changes late in the game.

An Overview of the Seven Lean Principles in Software Development

Lean principles are an invaluable resource for software developers and DevOps teams alike. By utilizing lean principles, these groups can drastically improve the speed of their product cycles while substantially reducing waste, ultimately allowing software teams to stay agile within their processes and increase the success of their product launches. Let’s look at each of the seven lean principles in turn.

Eliminate Waste 

The first principle of lean development is simple: eliminate any activities or processes that do not add value to the customer. This allows developers to focus on tasks such as writing code, designing, and testing, which directly affect the product’s success. Developers can confidently and consistently guarantee effectiveness, quality, and customer satisfaction with their end products by ensuring that all processes are lean-oriented.

Build Quality In 

The second principle of lean development is building quality into your product from the beginning. Software developers should take an iterative approach to their work, which allows mistakes to be caught early and corrections to be made quickly. Quality assurance protocols should span the entire development process, from designing user interfaces to testing code. Organizations can minimize costly bugs and setbacks later on by taking steps to ensure higher quality during development.

Create Knowledge 

The third principle of lean methodology is to create knowledge by sharing information with others on your team. DevOps teams should encourage one another to ask questions and share information, allowing the collective team to benefit from the experiences and insights of one another. In software development, there is a necessity for an open-minded approach to tackling difficult issues to generate more effective solutions. Software developers can be better equipped for future endeavors by investing in creating knowledge through lean principles.

Defer Commitment 

Lean principles are essential for software developers to master, and being able to defer commitment until absolutely necessary is a key component of these. When deciding what action bests the project’s goals, having an agile mindset helps it be done quickly and efficiently so that resources are not wasted. Making measured commitments allows for faster adaptation when something doesn’t work or a lack of movement if the course set is successful. Lean development promotes a nimble decision-making process, ensuring progress toward the project’s ultimate success without putting too much stock in any particular outcome.

Deliver Fast

Lean’s fifth principle, to deliver fast by taking small, incremental steps forward rather than one giant leap all at once, allows for steady progress as opposed to a heavy workload that can easily lead to burnout. The efforts must be maintained to keep everyone motivated throughout the process. Moreover, with rapid deliveries come moments of momentum that can showcase successes and carry the team through any predicaments encountered during the journey.

Respect People

It may seem hackneyed, but for DevOps teams, their people are their greatest asset. Lean principles emphasize the need to respect people, regardless of their role in the organization. Software developers, for example, have valuable contributions that shouldn’t be overlooked just because their position doesn’t carry a certain level of seniority. Every individual has something valuable to contribute– whether it be insight from experience or fresh ideas from a new angle– and respecting people will allow those contributions to flow naturally into the work environment.

Optimize the Whole

Optimizing the whole means looking at how different parts work together internally in an organization or team structure and externally with stakeholders rather than having them work independently. When the lean philosophy is applied across the board, and all efforts are aligned toward common objectives, beneficial outcomes are more likely to be achieved. As lean methodology emphasizes long-term success above all else, it should be integrated into all stages of a project’s timeline and consider customer needs and wants at every step.


Lean principles provide a framework for software developers and DevOps teams alike when it comes time to build products efficiently while still delivering maximum value for customers on time without compromising quality while respecting those involved throughout this journey too!

By following these seven lean principles, developers will have all they need to begin creating better products faster while minimizing wasted effort and resources along the way!

At Striano, our qualified software developers are leaders in Lean Product Development principles. Whatever your goal, contact us today and see how we can apply Lean principles to make sure you achieve it with enthusiasm. Our inspired team of specialists is ready to help unlock the unique potential of your company.

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