Lean software is so 2008

The reason to pull together a bigger picture is so you can think about how you might move in the future, but it's based on what we were seeing doing inquiries from clients.

Bigpicture image from leansoftwareinstitute.com
John Rymer of Forrester Research called yesterday, both to wish y'all a Merry Christmas and to explain what his work on "lean software" is all about.

"People who are close to tactics appreciate a bigger picture," he said. The term was coined after studying what a lot of IT shops are already doing, trading development suites for lightweight systems like Spring.

(The buzzword has been around a while. This picture was published in 2007 at the blog of the Lean Software Institute.)

You can think of Rymer's work as interviewing people about the alligators they're battling and then showing them the swamp. The idea is to build a feedback loop, showing that what seemed like tactical moves are part of a broader development trend.

"We went through a cycle starting with Web platforms in 1994, which led to Cold Fusion and APG. By the time we got to 2000 we had J2EE and Dot Net, and those platforms have expanded.

"Now we're tapped out on that approach, and many are going back to basics."

Rymer's point is to support smart development shops, and show upper management there is strategy behind the tactics.

"People always appreciate someone saying there's a bigger picture here. Some clients who are pushing these new tactics and techniques appreciate seeing the bigger picture."

What next? "We're seeing people trying to convince management to run applications in the cloud." The lean approach supports the cloud by stripping out layers the cloud handles automatically.

Rymer's main point was that he's not a futurist.

"I don't like looking into the future. I like responding to evidence, and seeing patterns. The reason to pull together a bigger picture is so you can think about how you might move in the future, but it's based on what we were seeing doing inquiries from clients."

Or, to put it more simply, Forrester didn't start the fire. If people seem to be dancing to their tune, it was in their heads already.

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