Greetings, all!  In my recent software process readings, I came upon a great book.  It all started when I was doing some searching on the web and I stumbled upon this article in SD magazine.  It discusses how the Japanese used the concept of continuous process improvement to pass by the USA in the manufacture of many products in the 70's & 80's, esp. automobiles.  It then discusses how many of those principles have an application to software.  The article is by Mary Poppendieck, and I thought it was so interesting that I got the book that she and Tom Poppendieck wrote, called Lean Software Development.

I really like this book.  It's not preachy like many agile-related books & articles these days, and it's grounded in ideas that make a lot of sense once you think about it but which you probably wouldn't have thought of on your own.  It's also pretty well written & organized.

An inevitable result of reading a book like this is that you analyze your own work environment and try to figure out how to apply the principles.  In our team at Microsoft, we're "lean" in many ways, and already do many of the things that this book and faddish quality movements (six sigma, TQM, etc.) advocate in ways that are really impressive.  But in other areas, our processes are way less efficient than they could be, and I'm hoping to fix some of that in the coming months.  When you start to look at things from a perspective of eliminating waste and continually improving your processes, unnecessary processes that don't contribute to the bottom line stick out like a sore thumb.

Great book, highly recommended. -Chris