Insights Blog

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What is the Rapid Learning Cycles Framework?

by Kathy Iberle

The Rapid Learning Cycles Framework* is a synthesis of the best ideas from Agile Development for software and from Lean Product Development methods used in hardware. The framework is tailored for teams working on physical, chemical, and biological products – which includes mixed hardware/software projects. In these domains, Rapid Learning Cycles speed up the long, […]

Why Limit Work-in-Process?

by Kathy Iberle

“Work-in-Process” is a fancy name for jobs which are started but not finished. You may have a collection of half-finished projects on your desk, or in your garage, or your sewing area.  These are all Work-in-Process or WIP. At home, we usually realize that it’s not a great idea to have a dozen carpentry projects […]

Seven Wastes of Software Development – or Not

by Kathy Iberle

The seven wastes of Lean were originally used by Taiichi Ohno to categorize common sources of waste in a manufacturing process. A manufacturing process involves regular, fairly predictable chunks of work arriving in a fairly homogenous way.  In this sort of system, the seven wastes proposed by Ohno are common sources of waste. Software development, however, […]

Cadence – Why Rhythm is Good for You

by Kathy Iberle

One of the fundamental tools in Agile and Lean is cadence.  A cadence is a regular, predictable rhythm within a process.  For instance, your staff meeting is held every Monday at 10am, or your website is refreshed every 4th Tuesday. Agile sprints are another example of cadence. A regular, predictable cadence saves time by reducing time […]

What is the Improvement Kata?

by Kathy Iberle

The Improvement Kata is a pattern for making improvements.  It’s based on practices used at Toyota, where they apply the scientific method via a deliberate practice pattern or (in Japanese) a Kata. The Improvement Kata treats each change as an experiment.  Your hypothesis is that doing X will make things better.  Try it and see if that’s true!  Once you […]

Best Practices – Not!

by Kathy Iberle

There are lots of good practices for software development and testing, and I recommend practices all the time.  However, I’m very reluctant to call anything a “best practice” (except perhaps “Do unto others…”).  Here’s why. Practices are context-dependent.  They work when they fit the particular product, the starting point, the resources available, and the people.  We bake some dishes, […]

Reviewing papers for PNSQC

by Kathy Iberle

I’ve reviewed papers for the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference for many years.  I enjoy working with authors to help them develop a clear and coherent paper which advances knowledge in their field of interest. You can see a 2015 interview on this topic on YouTube, courtesy of PNSQC.