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Leveraging Lean to Improve Software Engineering

Vimal Mani, CISA, CICA, Six Sigma Black Belt
| Published: 3/7/2016 8:27 AM | Permalink | Email this Post | Comments (0)

The inspiration for my recent Journal article came from what I have observed at previous employers, including Microsoft Corporation, Philips Electronics and Accenture Services. Reduced time to market and value for money are the primary goals of most of IT product and service companies. I have experienced that many companies keep experimenting with new models and methods to streamline their software engineering efforts to achieve shorter time to market and give the customer deliverables with optimized quality.

Scrum, extreme programming (XP), Rational Unified Process (RUP), Personal Software Process (PSP), Team Software Process (TSP), Lean Software Development and the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) are some of the well-experimented models. These models give organizations the extra mileage required to achieve shorter delivery cycles and defect-free deliveries. Applying Lean, Six Sigma and Agile methods in an integrated fashion may result in a reduction of delivery time, optimized delivery quality and repeat business from satisfied customers. Leveraging the Lean approach will help organizations identify and address the complexities in their business and software engineering processes, which is the key enabler in achieving shortened time to market.

Asking the following questions will reveal how Lean value-stream analysis can improve your organization:

  • What is slowing you down or getting in the way of doing a good job in your software development?
  • What would help things move faster, better and at a lower cost in the software development process?

But Lean will not be successful unless a substantial commitment is made from top executives. This commitment should include the following:

  • No-nonsense leadership from the top
  • Training of everybody in the organization
  • An upfront financial investment to get new models and methods into action
  • Rewarding people who successfully implement these models and methods
  • Recognition of the importance of streamlining business processes

Read Vimal Mani’s recent Journal article:
Optimizing Software Development With Lean Value Chain Analysis,” ISACA Journal, vol. 2, 2016.

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