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The Power of Lean in Software Projects: Less wasted effort and more product results

Start small and get to value sooner

Kylie Castellaw
Maryam Aidini

If you’ve seen multiple products fail, work on a project that might be doomed, or have an idea for a product but aren’t sure how to make it a reality, it’s probably time to master Lean. Successful startups are nailing the concept, and larger organizations are beginning to catch on as well.

The Lean approach developed out of challenges with traditional waterfall and Agile methods. Maryam Aidini and Kylie Castellaw give you a hands-on introduction to fundamental Lean concepts and techniques. In just two hours, you'll learn how to make more informed decisions using build-measure-learn cycles. You’ll be able to identify situations in your own projects that could benefit from this approach, helping you avoid product failure and realize value sooner.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live, online course, you’ll understand:

  • The differences between a Lean approach and waterfall and Agile methodologies
  • The advantages of using Lean
  • How organizations can get to business value faster using Lean methodologies
  • The importance of failing fast (and what that means)

And you’ll be able to:

  • Identify latent assumptions about the success of a given project or product and apply techniques to learn from your assumptions
  • Create a small minimum viable product (MVP) that gets to the core of the product value proposition and the existing assumptions about its success
  • Make smart pivot decisions based on the results of Lean learning activities

This training course is for you because...

  • You're a team leader who needs to release software or products that actually achieve value for your organization.
  • You're a project contributor (developer, designer, etc.) who wants to make sure you're building the right thing.
  • You're a project stakeholder who needs a clear view of the likely scale of success for various projects in order to make wise prioritization and allocation decisions.
  • You're an executive who wants to expand your company's portfolio, and you need to identify which initiatives to invest in.


  • A basic understanding of the Agile methodology
  • Familiarity with terminology in the domain of the creation of digital products

Recommended preparation:

About your instructor

  • Kylie Castellaw has always loved science and art, and came to the Lean practice as a UX designer/researcher and cognitive psychologist. She is currently a lead consultant at ThoughtWorks San Francisco, where she coaches Fortune 500 and nonprofit teams to work leanly in portfolio planning, product development, concept ideation, and experience design.

  • Maryam Aidini started her career as a software engineer, and has worked with many teams over the years to deliver software products using Lean and agile practices. She is currently a lead at ThoughtWorks London and spends her time coaching enterprise clients in the portfolio management, product definition, and software delivery phases of their product life cycles.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Lean fundamentals (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: The definition and history of Lean; its advantages; its relationship to Agile—differences, similarities, and dependencies
  • Discussion: Share current Agile and Lean practices at your job

Lean in action (30 minutes)

  • Lecture: What Lean looks like in practice; case study—a Lean startup; basic Lean components and techniques—defining build, measure, and learn
  • Hands-on exercise: Reflect on what you're already doing that aligns with the build-measure-learn cycle or identify a project where you could apply it
  • Break (10 minutes)

Lean beyond startups (30 minutes)

  • Lecture: How Lean has been applied in enterprise contexts; case study—enterprise software products; case study—a management case; Lean in various roles—software development and testing, product idea validation, user research and design, portfolio management and leadership, and recruitment
  • Hands-on exercise: Using a template worksheet, conceptualize what build-measure-learn could look like in your own role or organization

Starting the shift to a Lean organization (20 minutes)

  • Lecture: Practical tips when shifting your organization to Lean; next steps to applying the framework in your role; challenges in rolling out Lean in an organization

Wrap-up and Q&A (10 minutes)