Lean Software and Systems Conference, Atlanta

I’ve been invited to speak at the Lean Software and Systems Conference in Atlanta, April 21st to 23rd 2010.


BDD, often described as “TDD done well”, is strongly aligned with Lean
principles. It’s a pull-based approach to delivering software that
matters through the whole software lifecycle, from vision to code. It
minimises rework and over-delivery, bakes quality in, and is founded
on respect for people in their various roles and the language that we
use to collaborate and communicate. BDD has its origins in NLP and the
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis: the idea that the words we use affect the
cognitive model of our work. It decouples the learning associated with
TDD and Acceptance Testing from the word “test”, using the more
natural vocabulary of examples and behaviour to elicit requirements
and create a shared understanding of the domain.

In this talk Liz will introduce BDD, show how to model it using PDCA,
and talk about how its practices can provide quicker feedback and help
us to turn a vision into reality faster.


I’ve been working on this talk for a few months, and hope you enjoy it.

This has been a very special year for me. I’ve been fascinated by Lean principles for a while, but only recently had the opportunity to do some serious study into them and try out the related practices and tools. It’s also taken me some time to work out how strongly aligned Lean Thinking and BDD are. The community around the Lean and Kanban movement has been very welcoming and respectful this year, and I’d urge anyone who is interested to make their way over to the Limited WIP Society, where some excellent blogs, articles and examples of Kanban boards etc. have been collected for your accelerated learning.

We held a bag-stuffing event at Agile 2009, and used it as an exercise in applying Lean techniques. (Hugo Corbucci and Hamlet D’Arcy both posted excellent write-ups of this). One of my proudest moments this year was when some of the Limited WIP and Kanban community asked me to stand up afterwards as someone who could be approached with questions about Lean and Kanban. I’m an effective Agile coach, but my knowledge of Lean still felt new to me at that point. To have this kind of validation meant a lot to me.

I appreciate those of you who have helped me in this journey for your extraordinary patience in teaching me and providing feedback on my understanding. You know who you are.

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