Improving Lean Software Development Productivity: The Contribution of Retraining and Coaching
40 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2018 Last revised: 11 Sep 2018
Date Written: August 30, 2018
I argue that lean software development firms become more productive when their developers are retrained and coached on lean production techniques. I conducted two experiments on software development teams that use lean and agile software development practices. One experiment focused on lean retraining and the other focused on lean coaching. In January 2017, a treatment group received a multi-day lean development retraining exercise designed to enhance existing skills while a similar control group did not receive any retraining. Cycle time, the average number of days to complete a story, decreased 81% for those retrained compared to a 23% reduction for the control group through April 2017. In the coaching experiment, a treatment group received monthly coaching from May through July, 2017. Six months following the initiation of coaching, the treatment group realized a 52% decrease in cycle time compared to a 15% decrease for the control group. The results of these two experiments demonstrate the value of using consistent lean retraining and coaching to realize the productive benefits of lean and agile software development processes.
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