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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Lean Software Development

Advantages of Lean Software Development

  1. The elimination of waste leads to the overall efficiency of the development process. This is turn speeds up the process of software development which reduces project time and cost. This is absolutely vital in today's environment. Anything which allows Organisations to deliver more projects in the same timeframe is going to be popular!

  2. Delivering the product early is a definite advantage. It means your development team can deliver more functionality in a shorter period of time, hence enabling more projects to be delivered. This will only please both your finance department, but also the end customers.

  3. Empowerment of the development team helps in developing the decision making ability of the team members which in turn, creates a more motivated team. This benefit really cannot be overstressed enough. Developers hate nothing more than being micro-managed and having decisions forced upon them. This way they can determine how best to develop the functionality which will usually result in a much better end product.

Disadvantages of Lean Software Development

  1. The project is highly dependent on cohesiveness of the team and the individual commitments of the team members. In most professions this could be a really major factor, but in IT working long and unsociable hours is the norm so it shouldn't really be a huge disadvantage. And of course if you didn't realise that IT developers and testers work long, long hours then you are in for a rude awakening. For example I manage large projects and programmes and last weekend I worked 33 hours of the 48 hours available in leading the diagnosis and fixing of a major issue affecting my project.

  2. Success in the project depends on how disciplined the team members are and how exceptional are their technical skills. If you don't have a team of individuals with good skills which complement each other, then you have an immediate problem.

  3. The project sponsors and clients need to know what they want and make decisions they will stick to. In lean software development these decisions can be made later than say when using waterfall methodologies, which should be an advantage. But the problem is that project sponsors tend to be paralysed by fear when it comes to making the tough decisions. And in lean the whole objective of using this over say agile methodology is to enable your development to be done faster and cheaper than would otherwise be possible. This of course means decisions have to be made promptly when required and stuck to.

  4. The role of a business analyst is vital to ensure the business requirements documentation (BRD) is understood properly. If you don't have a person with the right business analyst skills then you could quickly find this become a cause of scope creep.

  5. In lean you allow the software requirements specification (SRS) to evolve. However this causes problems of it's own. Flexibility is great, but too much of it will quickly lead to a development which loses sight of it's original objectives and which never finishes.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Lean Software Development - Tip

If you are dealing with project management stakeholders who are unable to make fast decisions and stick to them, or else are managing a project team who are less than stellar, then do not use lean methodology. It is a process which in certain circumstances works well, but for the majority of projects which encompass a software development life cycle it is too restrictive to work as intended which leads to dire consequences.

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