Lean practices use the principle of Little's law to improve the flow of value to the end user by eliminating sources of waste from a software development process. Little's law defines throughput as a ratio of work in process and cycle time. Increasing throughput (or productivity) requires continuously improving (that is, decreasing) cycle time while ensuring that the work-in-process limit doesn't exceed the capacity available to process the work. This article shares experiences regarding the role architecture plays in lean software management practices. Release plans that give as much emphasis to architecturally significant tasks as to feature-based high-priority functionality can achieve better outcomes by avoiding conditions that lead to wasted time and effort. The application of lean software development practices can improve with better practical guidance on how to manage architecture flow as well as feature flow.
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