Lean Software Development For Startups

Here’s what I will be talking about at the Lean & Kanban 2009 conference in Miami this year.

Lean Software Development For Startups

(Or Why Agile Isnʼt Enough And How To Do More With Less)

Abstract:

If youʼre in a startup, then you know that statistically, the odds are heavily against you. Pretty much the only inherent characteristic of a startup that can be counted upon to help, is that of its small size. If the company can be nimble and agile, then it can hope to
gain some traction against its larger rivals.

In such an environment, using an Agile methodology is a given. Without some form of a hyper-iterative software process, it is impossible for a startup to create a successful product. Or even to determine what that product is!

In todayʼs climate, exacerbated as it is due to competition, lower capital requirements for software companies, the compression of Internet time, and the recessionary economic conditions, it is no longer enough to just use an Agile method. To stay
competitive, indeed to just survive, something more is required.

Lean Thinking provides just such an advantage.

A startup needs to ground its philosophy in Lean Thinking, Theory of Constraints, Critical Chain, Queueing Theory, Systems Thinking, and the like. It will obviously gain from the long-term focus, throughput-based accounting, and value-based constructs that these provide.

This presentation is about how Lean ideas when applied to standard Agile processes can make an organization super-productive even in the extreme short-term. Specifically, it draws on my experiences from having run multiple projects using this philosophy during my consulting career at ThoughtWorks, and more recently as a founding member of an Internet startup called Cinch.

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So, that’s what the talk will be about. I have a 45 minute slot – so I’m looking to finish speaking in about 20-25 minutes and the rest could be for a discussion. Hope to see you there!

Startup School 2008

I attended this year’s Startup School – and all eight of the talks were really awesome. I got to hang out with a ton of people who had either already started their companies, or people that were looking to do so. The energy and the buzz was fantastic. Most importantly, however, I got to see three of my heroes –

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Paul Graham – talking about the idea of being a benevolent startup.

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Jeff Bezos – talking about Amazon Web Services as a way forward for startups.

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Peter Norvig – talking about extracting data from the web, and leveraging it in startups.

Gotham Ruby Conference 2007

I attended GoRuCo 2007 yesterday, and it was a fine conference – where I met a bunch of old friends I hadn’t seen in a while. Here’s what the agenda looked like – I enjoyed the talks on Adhearsion, JRuby, and BNLs. And the conference took place in Google’s offices in NYC, and that was neat.

It was cool how many people knew of ThoughtWorks, and were interested in talking about what it was like to work there. (Probably less than the number that were interested in Google in the same way, but hey…) We ended the conference by finishing up with the afterparty in the wee hours of the morning. It was fun! Amazingly, both Deepthi and I won swag at the event – I got this neat laptop bag, and Deepthi got Rails Recipes. Oh, and here are some pictures.

You might want to read some live-blogging from the event.