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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Don Reinertsen's Video on InfoQ - "Second Generation Lean Product Development: From Cargo Cult to Science"

Mike DuVall turned me on to this video the other day: where Don Reinertsen discusses framing many of our engineering problems in light of economic tradeoffs. One of the interesting things to see is how the ideas of lean manufacturing DON’T apply to product development (perhaps this is counter-counter-intuitive? J ). This presentation was made during the Lean and Kanban 2009 conference and I believe a number of folks have been discussing some aspects of this for a while, but I’ve also talked to a number of folks who also may not be aware of it.

I often find myself in conversations with teams who have adopted some of the practices of Scrum but are disappointed with the results that they are seeing. When I ask a few probing questions, I find out that they’re somewhat missing the point and have adopted neither the agile principals nor values on top of which the Scrum framework was based. I’m sure the same can be said for adoption of others’ successes where limited benefits are observed. The term “cargo cult” has been used to refer to this type of behavior and this video has a definitely serviceable explanation of the phenomenon.

It’s definitely a bit more of an advanced topic, but shouldn’t be difficult for most folks with a technical background to understand (although you may need to review a few of the bits a few times to get the full meaning). Not surprisingly, Don has a book, which is called _The Principals of Product Development Flow: Second Generation Lean Product Development_ ( I IMMEDIATELY ordered this book after watching the video and am now half way through it. By the way, Don Reinertsen wrote the intro to _Kanban_ by David J. Anderson and he is credited for a great deal of influence on this work.


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