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Lean Mindset, The: Ask the Right Questions

By Mary Poppendieck, Tom Poppendieck

Published by Addison-Wesley Professional

Published Date: Sep 20, 2013


What company doesn’t want energized workers, delighted customers, genuine efficiency, and breakthrough innovation? The Lean Mindset shows how lean companies really work–and how a lean mindset is the key to creating stunning products and delivering amazing services.


Through cutting-edge research and case studies from leading organizations, including Spotify, Ericsson, Intuit, GE Healthcare, Pixar, CareerBuilder, and Intel, you’ll discover proven patterns for developing that mindset. You’ll see how to cultivate product teams that act like successful startups, create the kind of efficiency that attracts customers, and leverage the talents of bright, creative people.


The Poppendiecks weave lean principles throughout this book, just as those principles must be woven throughout the fabric of your truly lean organization.



Learn How To

  • Start with an inspiring purpose, and overcome the curse of short-term thinking
  • Energize teams by providing well-framed challenges, larger purposes, and a direct line of sight between their work and the achievement of those purposes
  • Delight customers by gaining unprecedented insight into their real needs, and building products and services that fully anticipate those needs
  • Achieve authentic, sustainable efficiency without layoffs, rock-bottom cost focus, or totalitarian work systems
  • Develop breakthrough innovations by moving beyond predictability to experimentation, beyond globalization to decentralization, beyond productivity to impact

Lean approaches to software development have moved from novelty to widespread use, in large part due to the principles taught by Mary and Tom Poppendieck in their pioneering books. Now, in The Lean Mindset, the Poppendiecks take the next step, looking at a company where multidiscipline teams are expected to ask the right questions, solve the right problems, and deliver solutions that customers love.


Table of Contents

Preface            ix

About the Authors           xi


Introduction           1

Lean Is a Mindset   3

How Mindsets Work   4

The Fabric of Lean   6


Chapter 1: The Purpose of Business          11

The Rise of Rational Economics   11

Case: Who Are Our Customers?   15

The Rise of Rational Work Systems   19

Case: Working Together at Ford   23

Cooperative Work Systems   26

Case: When Workers Are Volunteers   32

Questions to Ponder   36


Chapter 2: Energized Workers          39

Full Potential   39

A Challenge That Changed the World   45

The Science of Expertise   55

When Can We Trust Intuition?   64

Questions to Ponder   69


Chapter 3: Delighted Customers         71

Ask the Right Questions   71

Solve the Right Problems   75

Design a Compelling Experience   81

Develop the Right Products   92

A Design Toolbox   96

Questions to Ponder   99


Chapter 4: Genuine Efficiency         101

What Is Efficiency?   101

Lessons in Flow: Ericsson   102

Lessons in Speed: CareerBuilder   110

Lessons in Learning: Lean Startup   115

Build the Right Thing: Spotify   119

Questions to Ponder   129


Chapter 5: Breakthrough Innovation         131

Seeing the Future   131

Focus   135

Change the Focus   141

An Innovation Checklist   155

Questions to Ponder   158


Epilogue         159


References         163


Index         169



Lean Mindset, The: Ask the Right Questions

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