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This is probably out of place, but are you OK? I burnt out about a decade ago, and would have agreed with a lot of what you're saying back then. It took me years to get back into a happy place with tech.

Dysfunctional teams and organisations produce this kind of cynical rage, not Lean.

Dysfunctional companies produce buzzword laden or metric based management. (As opposed to good software.)

Lean is not a software development methodology. It is made for factories and production lines, a terrible fit for most kinds of software. The only salvageable parts from it is iteration and listening to frontline workers to get process improvements. "Autonomation"/Poke Yoke as in automated tests. Which is not enough of a methodology.

The "Lean for software" page gives contradictory definition of waste - you're supposed to minimize defects while at the same time minimizing rework. I'd like a crystal ball that enables it. Plus you cannot apply it without absolute control over the whole development process. Any place that is a black box (say, both set of features and deadlines are given) the process. Thus it fails in corporate environment.

Likewise, general agile methodologies are easily perverted into what I just described - by skipping refactoring and redesign parts in service of deadlines. That model works only if you throw things away like startups do or the project is small and self-contained.

Usually small projects are low value or grow big. C.f. Twitter or YouTube when it started and now. Even worse if you get to interact with quickly changing parts controlled by another team you do not control in even a medium sized project.

I agree with everything you said, but I must point out that Lean comes from Toyota. While most people know about the production system, which is indeed applied to factories, Toyota applies this to the product development too. Product development is much closer to what software development is. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation on the topic, but there is a very good book, called "Toyota Product Development System", which describes how Lean is applied there. There is an insane amount of valuable information in there, every software company should be at least aware of those engineering practices.

Any project that has both features and deadline set by management is going to fail. That's a fact of software development. Lean/Agile doesn't solve that, or even attempt to.

It also doesn't attempt to minimise rework (it values iterative approaches), and is strong on exploratory prototypes.

Again, I think what you're criticising is "Agile as implemented in dysfunctional organisations" rather than actual Agile.

I'm building a startup, though. My definition of "good" software is probably different to yours (and that's as it should be).

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