Mary and Tom Poppendieck on #Lean Software & More

Mary and Tom Poppendieck

My guests for Episode #391 are Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck, the authors of books including Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit, Implementing Lean Software Development, and The Lean Mindset: Ask the Right Questions.

In the episode, we'll hear their thoughts on Lean as “a way of thinking that values people” and how teamwork, problem solving, and customer focus are integral to Lean — in software or otherwise. How can we build capabilities for problem solving (“producing people”) and how can we “learn how to learn”?

I hope you enjoy the conversation like I did. You can listen to the audio or watch the video, below.

Streaming Audio Player:

Video of the Episode:

For a link to this episode, refer people to

  • How did you first discover Lean? How did you come to see the potential applications to software development?
  • You published Lean Software Development in 2003 — how do you define that term “Lean” and what does it mean to you?
  • How has your view of Lean evolved over those 17 years?
  • What have you learned about Lean / TPS from visiting Japan?
  • Your 2013 book is called “The Lean Mindset” — as the subtitle says, asking the right questions is important… why so? How do we know what the right questions are?
  • 2009 — Leading Lean Software Development — another provocative subtitle… “results are not the point” — what do you mean?
  • Their website:
  • Mary on Twitter

Thanks for listening or watching!


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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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