36 Mind Blowing Mary Poppendieck Quotes

Mary Poppendieck spent a career in IT and process control programming. From manufacturing to product development, Poppendieck has written several books and is a known speaker among the software development community. Here is a look at some of the best Mary Poppendieck quotes available.

“A mature organization focuses on learning effectively and empowers the people who do the work to make decisions.”

“A Standish Group study found that 45 percent of features in a typical system are never used and 19 percent are rarely used.”

“Attempting to maximize utilization is a self-defeating process. Optimal utilization can be achieved only by concentrating on flow.”

“Because the belief system has no doubt led to success in the past, so it will fight back with many varieties of self-fulfilling prophecies.”

“Designing the effort to fit the constraints, rather than computing the constraints from the design, is absolutely the most effective way to achieve reliable delivery.”

“Direct developer-customer interaction delivered more of the right content, increased sales, and dramatically reduced support calls.”

“Focusing exclusively on local measurements has a tendency to inhibit collaboration beyond the area being measured, because there is no reward for it.”

“Frameworks should be extracted from a collection of successful implementations, not built on speculation.”

“He notes that the policies established to solve a problem will often exacerbate the problem, creating a downward spiral: As a problem gets worse, managers apply even more aggressively the very policies that are causing the problem.”

“However, if damaging behavior can be limited through the relationship rather than the contract, all manner of benefits in terms of speed, flexibility, cost, and information exchange can result.”

“If the vision of perceived integrity isn’t refreshed regularly, the engineers have a tendency to get lost in the technical details and forget the customer values.”

“In a three-year period, we had 78 projects, and 77 of them were delivered on time, on budget, and in scope. Then I surveyed the customers and found out that none of them was happy!”

“It is easier to change a decision that hasn’t been made.”

“It is much more important to develop people with the expertise to make wise decisions than it is to develop decision-making processes that purportedly think for people.”

“It is very important to defer public commitment to exactly which features will be in the product, because this makes it possible to reliably release the product on time.”

“It may seem like writing tests slows down development; in fact, testing does not cost, it pays, both during development and over the system’s lifecycle.”

“It would be much better to assign work to established teams than to reconstitute teams around projects.”

“Leaders in many companies believe that developers should not talk to customers because this is a waste of valuable developer time.”

“Resistance indicates a perceived threat to a largely unconscious belief system, one that has no doubt successfully guided the organization in the past.”

“Set-based development means that you communicate constraints, not solutions.”

“Start with the valid constraints of the system, and then design the system to fit within those constraints.”

“Suppose a developer has a conversation with a customer about details of a feature. The conversation should not be considered complete until it is expressed as a customer test.”

“The biggest cause of failure in software-intensive systems is not technical failure; it’s building the wrong thing.”

“The most successful development occurs when developers talk directly to customers or are part of business teams.”

“The purpose of process standards is to act as a baseline for continuous improvement.”

“The simple mathematical fact working here is that variation is always amplified as it moves down a chain of connected events. A little variation in step one introduces a huge variation five steps later.”

“There are few endeavors in which it is more important to keep options open than in software development.”

“Thus, fixed-price contracts tend to select the vendor most likely to get in trouble.”

“True productivity has to be measured relative to the outcomes of the overall system, not just the software.”

“Trying to force a system to work beyond its capacity invariably causes turbulence and slows things down.”

“We determine scope at the beginning of system development, put a box around it, and figure out how long that scope will take to develop. This is the wrong approach.”

“We shouldn’t add features until they are needed. Forget just in case; develop just in time.”

“When team members personally create an environment in which they can be proud of their work and work processes, you have made a good start.”

“When you try to measure performance, particularly the performance of knowledge workers, you’re positively courting dysfunction.”

“With a typical contract, one party decides what should be done and hands over the design to another party to implement and often to a third party to deploy and support.”

“You measure system capability; you do not prescribe it.”

Here is a great keynote given by Mary Poppendieck on running a business with a lean mindset. This mindset will open up new doors of opportunities and help bring your business to the next level while ensuring you fully utilize the resources currently available to you.

Here are the secret tactics I used to build my website traffic to over 2 million monthly visitors and grow my email list to over 100,000 subscribers:
9 Secrets to Increasing Website Visitors and Email Subscribers