Scott Hanselman

Hanselminutes Podcast 118 - Lean Software Development with Tom and Mary Poppendieck

June 23, 2008 Comment on this post [6] Posted in Podcast
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image image My one-hundred-and-eighteenth podcast is up. In this episode, I sit down with Lean Software legends Tom and Mary Poppendieck and chat about their thoughts on the state of Software Development. Is Agile a fad? We'll also learn how my (and likely your!) definition of "success" is wrong.

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If you have trouble downloading, or your download is slow, do try the torrent with µtorrent or another BitTorrent Downloader.

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they have PDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is our sponsor for this show.

Telerik's new stuff is pretty sweet, check out the ONLINE DEMO of their new ASP.NET AJAX suite. RadGrid handles sorting, filtering, and paging of hundreds of thousands of records in milliseconds, and the RadEditor loads up to 4 times faster and the navigation controls now support binding to web services on the client.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple. Avoid wasting the listener's time. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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June 23, 2008 15:26
This is my favorite podcast today. it basically sum of the entire motivation for me creating Failing fast to learn a lot.

Real nice one.
June 24, 2008 9:45
Thank you so much for putting these podcasts together.
They've all been extremely interesting and inspiring and this one has touched on a subject quite dear to my heart, so double thank-you.

Just to let people know, there is a Google Tech video where Mary Poppendieck talks about "The role of leadership in software development".
I think it complements this podcast quite nicely.
June 25, 2008 5:32
really good episode.
the practical experiences from 3M are very useful and inspiring.
would love to read some of their books.
June 25, 2008 22:40
Great podcast Scott! Thanks a lot for putting this all together - you rock!
July 04, 2008 0:30
I find this podcast interesting from a corporate standpoint were developers are part of a business and there is a common mission because of the products or services the business provides. I work for a company that rights custom software and we are trying to apply agile principals to customers who are not part of our business (3rd-party agile). In this role we have to be very good at learning the business of each of our customers and sometimes find that even our customer doens't know their own business as well as they should. This leads to us having to be very selective with whom we work.

Anyway, if you have any thoughts on applying agile to outside customers I would live to hear them.

July 16, 2008 9:07
Great stuff, Scott. I don’t know if you made a conscious decision to expand the types of topics you tackle on your podcast, or if you are just following where your interests lead you. Regardless, you’re finding vital topics with unfailing accuracy.

I hadn’t heard of the Poppendiecks before they appeared on your show. They came across as thoughtful and thought provoking. I did have something to add to your discussion of consultants, though, having lived in that world for several years now.

The Poppendiecks asserted that organizations which rely heavily on consultants for their core business are either in trouble or asking for it. On the whole, I don’t disagree. A business lives or dies on being able to do something better than its competition. However, I think there are situations in IT where the consulting model makes sense. There are many companies that have periodic needs for applications. That is to say, they need to develop software to compliment their core business, after which they need to maintain and incrementally improve the software for many years. The nature of their IT environment changes – sometimes radically.

A company of this type is now faced with a choice. Does it use internal staff to develop applications and then maintain them? If the company orients its IT staff towards development, maybe the maintenance component isn’t as well handled. Or if it orients the staff towards maintenance, maybe the required development experience won't be there. Companies can bridge that gap by working with consultants who have relevant experience. When the IT environment changes, the consultants can be swept out the door.

There are other scenarios. Say that a company saw a great opportunity to develop an application with somewhat specialized technology -- say mobile. If that skill set is not on staff, it could be less risky to bring in a consulting company with relevant expertise...

I’m not trying to write an apologia for the profession of IT consulting, but if it didn’t make sense in the marketplace, there wouldn’t be consulting firms. And if I didn’t feel like I was adding value, I wouldn’t be in this line of work.

From your own commentary in blogs and podcasts, I get the sense that your experience with consultants has been hit or miss. Fair enough. I don’t think there’s any perfectly adapted system or approach in IT. But I've found that there are a lot of smart, hard-working people in IT in general and in consulting in particular.

That was another reason I liked Mary Poppendieck. She stood up for IT. To which I say, “go get ‘em.”

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.