Has anyone read all three of Mary Poppendieck's books on Lean Software Development? She and her husband Tom wrote:

  • in 2003: Lean Software Development
  • in 2006: Implementing Lean Software Development
  • in 2009: Leading Lean Software Development

Mary and Tom Poppendieck are highly regarded lean experts, so I should have probably read one of their books, but I haven't read any of them.

Which one should I start with?


I've read the first two, and thought the second was better than the first, mostly just because the authors expanded on their ideas quite a bit. I thought the first book was interesting, but I actually really enjoyed reading the second and found it quite inspiring.

Unfortunately, it's been a while since I read them, so I don't remember anything much more specific than that as to whether there's anything covered in the first that's not in the second. But I do remember my general impression being that the second expanded on the first without relying on it. (I read the second one before the first.)

Also unfortunately, I haven't yet made time to read the third, so I can't say anything about it.

  • I'm reading the second book ("Implementing Lean...") with a book club now. – azheglov Mar 5 '11 at 16:22

I have all three and I find them complimentary so it's hard to say which one. If I had to pick a single one though then I'd go for the most recent. It covers pretty much all of the material in the first two but goes into more detail in how to implement lean methodology in practice.


I read the first two, and I must say these are the most influencal book on the subject (agile) I've ever read. And I read almost everything that has been written on the subject.

Buy and read them!

Start with the first one.

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