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Using Lean Software Practices to Eliminate Software Development Waste

All business processes result in waste. This is just as true in the world of software development as it is in any other industry. To reduce waste, many developers attempt to embrace what are referred to as 'Lean' software development practices.

When utilizing a Lean development model, software developers seek to eliminate wasteful activities. Time, as they say, is money, and in software development, there is no more precious a commodity.

Lean Software Practices Explained

Lean development cycle methodologies are always slightly different. The key in every case, though, is to be able to identify how, when, and why waste occurs in software development.

Common examples of waste include:

- Development of unnecessary application features.

- Delays bringing new software projects to completion.

- Defects in delivered applications that require fixing.

Waste in software development can also manifest in the form of scope creep, communication difficulties between decentralized development team members, excessive documentation, and excessive task switching.

How to Eliminate Software Development Using a Lean Development Model

Like with Agile software methodology, the easiest way to employ Lean software best practices is to prioritize customer satisfaction. In practice, this means streamlining and prioritizing communication between software clients and stakeholders.

Eliminate Excessive Documentation

Many software clients find it difficult to relate their software brief. Documentation provided by some clients can, therefore, be excessive and confusing. If this isn’t addressed pre-sale, this can lead to the development of unnecessary features, scope creep and interrupted development cycles.

To prevent waste arising as a result of excessive documentation, lead developers should ensure regular communication with customers. Development cycles should also be separated into short sprints, that customers are asked to review and give feedback on separately.

Excessive and Underused Software Features

Studies suggest that up to 60% of software features are rarely (if ever) utilized by software customers. This can happen as a result of excessive documentation. However, this can also come about as a result of developers not building in core software features first.

To eliminate unnecessary features, developers should always focus on delivering applications that are “good enough” to get a job done. Deliverable applications should always match the core functionality requirements of clients. However, developers should never add further features unless explicitly asked to do so.

Software Development Delays and Defects

As a general rule, defects will often be found in applications where developers rely solely on quality assurance testers to find bugs in code. When defects are found, delays will come about as developers are forced to address security and usability flaws.

When using a Lean development model, developers seek to eliminate defects and delays by building quality assurance testing into their development process.

Using a Lean Development Model Increases the Quality of Deliverable Software

When properly implemented, lean software practices result in the elimination of waste for developers during software development. This saves time, resources, and can expedite final deliveries. At the same time, Lean software practices improve end-client satisfaction.

With Lean development, end customers take receipt of new apps that perfectly match their core functionality requirements. Lean, therefore, boosts the efficacy of development processes for the benefit of both developers and software clients and stakeholders alike.

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