Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Carrying-Cost of Code: Taking Lean Seriously

[From the Archive: Originally posted at Jun 5, 2011]

A somewhat tardy response to a recent blog post by @mfeathers.

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@mfeathers /cc @markdalgarno

Re: The Carrying-Cost of Code: Taking Lean Seriously

I was with you all the way until your assertion that “code is inventory”. (And only dysfunctional Lean Software Development groups have “chosen to see tasks as pieces”).

In software development we are not “essentially working on the same car or widget continuously, often for years”. We are working on the *designs* for the same make or model of car, continuously, often for years. Regularly (as regularly as every couple of weeks, or even every couple of hours, for some web companies) we pass the latest design to the “factory” and another car instance pops out and passes into service.

To me, requirements (user stories in the product backlog) and everything downstream from there (including code, and even testing effort) is inventory. In fact, borrowing from Theory of Constraints’ definition of the term, I hold that inventory is “everything that a business spends money on (e.g. buying or building), that it might expect to sell again some time later”.

And inventory itself is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s the *carrying costs* of inventory that suggest we might do well to minimise it. Yes, code certainly has carrying costs. But so do many of the other assets/artefacts that arise during the process of software development.


P.S. Thanks for your patience. And I’ve posted here as your blog post seems to not want to accepts comments any more.


– Bob

10 Reasons CEOs Unwittingly Sabotage Innovation

[From the Archive: Originally posted at Jan 2, 2011]

An insightful list:

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There’s a huge gap between CEOs saying they want their companies to innovate and actually acting in a way consistent with what they say.

This lack of congruence drives internal change agents crazy, catatonic, or out the door. At the very least, it makes them cranky and unwilling to go the extra yard required to turn their inspired ideas into reality.

And so, as a public service to all of you out there whose CEOs are not walking the talk, here’s my TOP TEN reasons why not.

Choose one, align with some fellow change agents, and kick start the process of actually doing something about it.

  1. Innovation sparks dissonance and discomfort.
  2. Innovation is all about increasing variability. Most CEOs want to decrease variability and increase predictability.
  3. Results only show up long-term — not next quarter.
  4. CEOs conserve resources. Innovation requires more resources.
  5. Innovation flies in the face of analysis.
  6. Imbalance of right-brain and left-brain thinking.
  7. It’s not in the job description.
  8. Over-reliance on cost-cutting and incremental improvement.
  9. Inability to enrol a committed team of champions.
  10. Insufficient conviction that innovation will really make a difference.

– Bob

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