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How To Implement Lean Framework In Software Development? Best Practices

How to implement lean framework in software development?



For centuries companies have always been looking for ways to optimize their processes to reduce costs and increase revenues. The digital age we live in now has brought about new ways of managing business activities. One such way is by adopting lean manufacturing principles which we discussed in the previous blog. However, it's not only the manufacturing sector that discovered the benefits of lean. 


Lean principles have found their application in software development, too. In this article, we will explore what lean software development is, how lean principles apply in custom software development and compare lean with other traditional software development methods. So, get a cup of your favorite coffee and read on.



Lean Software Development: Definition and Origins


The definition of lean software development is similar to that of lean manufacturing. It is an agile methodology that focuses on delivering value to customers with minimal waste. The term originated from lean manufacturing principles which promote continuous improvement, respect for people, and optimization of the whole system rather than individual parts. 


The focus of lean software development is rather the software development process itself than the software product. The goal of lean software development is to create a more efficient and effective software development process by focusing on delivering value to customers and eliminating waste. 


While lean software development has been invented to help software development teams optimize their development workflow, the end beneficiary of this approach is still the customer who gets an efficient, high-quality software product.

How To Implement Lean Framework In Software Development? Best Practices



How Are Lean Principles Applied In Software Development?


Lean software development has taken the 5 principles of lean manufacturing (value, value stream, pull, flow and perfection) as the basis for its methodology. These principles aim to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the software development process. So, here are seven  lean software development principles:


Waste elimination

Just like in manufacturing, in the realm of software development, it is important to identify and eliminate activities that don’t add to the value of the end product. This can include unnecessary features, codes or processes.


Continuous learning

This principle involves amplifying the knowledge to improve the software development process and the product.


Fast delivery

The key point of this principle lies in delivering the software in small incremental releases to get feedback early on and improve the product as the development process progresses.


Deferring commitment

In lean software development, it is often favorable to delay making a particular decision. By deferring commitment, development teams can avoid making premature decisions which can lead to wasted effort and time.


Team empowerment

Giving the development team the freedom and autonomy to make certain decisions and solve problems has proven to have a positive effect on the quality of the software.


Optimize the whole

The key aspect of this principle is in optimizing the entire software development process to improve the overall efficiency and quality of the software.


Respect for people

This principle is about respecting all the people, including developers, customers, and stakeholders, involved in the software development process.


Applying these principles in software development helps build a functional product that meets the expectations of the customer.



How Does Lean Software Development Work?


Lean software development starts with identifying value streams. While identifying value streams and wastes in manufacturing is relatively easy, with software development where there are no physical assets, this process is a bit more complicated. Development teams have to start with mapping the value streams visually through value stream mapping. This process helps visualize the software development process and spot areas that produce no value during the process.


Once the bottlenecks have been identified, developers begin to track how long it takes to complete a particular task and look for ways to improve the process.


Another important aspect of lean in software development is to introduce the product in small solutions. This approach allows software developers to identify issues early in the development process and fix them early on, while also gaining experience that can be used in future software development projects.

How To Implement Lean Framework In Software Development? Best Practices



Lean Software Development vs. Traditional Development Methods


Traditional and lean software developments are different in several key areas: approach to planning, flexibility and defining the value to be delivered to the customer. 


Approach to planning

In the traditional approach to software development, the project starts with developing a detailed plan that covers every aspect of the project, from requirements to testing. In lean, the emphasis is put on the ability to adapt to changing requirements.



In the traditional approach, the team follows a rigid plan with minimal changes allowed. In the lean approach to software development, the team embraces the changes and adapts to the changing requirements quickly, which often results in a product that fully meets the needs of the customer.


Delivering value

In the traditional approach, the focus is placed on meeting predefined specifications, often ignoring the actual needs which often change during the development process. With lean, delivering value to the customer is the ultimate goal with continuous improvement and customer satisfaction being the interim targets.



What Are The Advantages Of Lean Software Development?


Lean software development has proven to be a more efficient approach to building software. It allows every custom software development company to improve collaboration between teams and facilitates continuous improvement. Among other advantages of lean software development are:


  • More efficient and productive software development process.
  • Elimination of unnecessary activities which results in reduction of the development and overall project costs. 
  • Development teams are encouraged to make decisions. This motivates them to find better solutions to problems.
  • The software development process is overall more flexible, simplified, and transparent, resulting in a product that better caters to the needs of the customer. 



The Takeaways


The lean approach to software development has proven to be as efficient as it is for the manufacturing industry where it originated from. Software development and manufacturing have a lot of similarities in terms of the production cycle, including repeatable workflows and adherence to project requirements. These commonalities allowed software developers to adapt the lean approach to the software development process and reap its benefits. 


With the lean approach, software development teams are able to identify wastes and bottlenecks, optimize their workflows and develop unique and truly tailored software solutions that suit their customer needs like never before. 


The software development team at Vestra Inet, Toronto’s premier custom software company,  keeps pace with the most recent custom software development trends and follows the lean approach to software development. Our products are custom-built and tailored to our client’s specific needs. Our software development process is flexible and considers the customer’s requirements at every step of the development process. Want to see for yourself? Schedule a free consultation with our experts today. 






1. What is lean software development?


Lean software development is an approach to developing software products that focuses on delivering the maximum value to customers with minimal waste produced throughout the development process. The focus of the lean approach is to optimize the software development process by eliminating all activities that do not add value to the product. 


2. What are the 5 principles of lean?


The five principles of lean in manufacturing are:

  • Value
  • Value stream
  • Pull
  • Flow
  • Perfection