Mary Poppendieck


Lean Software Development Thought Leader, Author of Lean Mindset & Lean Software Development series
Mary Poppendieck has been in the Information Technology industry for over thirty years. She has managed software development, supply chain management, manufacturing operations, and new product development. She spearheaded the implementation of a Just-in-Time system in a 3M video tape manufacturing plant and led new product development teams, commercializing products ranging from digital controllers to 3M Light Fiber™.

Mary is a popular writer and speaker, and coauthor of the book Lean Software Development, which was awarded the Software Development Productivity Award in 2004. A sequel, Implementing Lean Software Development, was published in 2006, and Leading Lean Software Development in 2009. A forth book, The Lean Mindset, was published in 2013.

YOW! 2014 Brisbane

The Scaling Dilemma


Stop me if you’ve heard this one: “We used to be small. We made great decisions, got product to the market fast, and were very successful. Now we are big. And slow. Our teams don’t work together very well. Our specialists are spread too thin. Our products are less than awesome.”

Getting teams to work well is hard. Getting teams to work well together is much harder. And the dilemma is, what works in a small organization is often counterproductive at scale. The question is – what do you have to do differently when you grow up?

For starters, scaling is fundamentally a complexity problem, so you should look for ways to reduce and deal with complexity. Second, scaling is a cooperation problem, and understanding what promotes and what destroys cooperation is essential for growing organizations.

Finally, scaling is an organizational problem, and there’s no shortage of models to study for patterns of how to scale organizations. There’s the lean model, the military model, and several unicorn models. These models confirm the fact that scale is possible, and are full of ideas for you to experiment with. But they won’t tell you which approach is best for you – you have to figure that out for yourself.

Lean Software Development


The world of software engineering has undergone dramatic change in the past several years – moving from waterfall processes to agile development to continuous delivery. Throughout the transition, lean thinking has provided consistent principles for making decisions about how to engineer software-based solutions creatively, rapidly, and reliably.

Lean thinking starts with customers, looks at how the organization delivers value to those customers, and probes that value stream for inefficiencies and opportunities. The first day of this workshop does exactly that – we look at the real value streams of people attending the workshop. We question whether the workflow is set up to build the right thing, build the thing right, and deliver value to customers as rapidly as possible.

The second day we create a vision of the future: What does genuine efficiency mean and how can you get there? How can you create an environment where mindful workers cooperate to help your organization be successful? What does it take to become a learning organization?