Mary Poppendieck

Mary Poppendieck’s first job was programming the #2 Electronic Switching System at Bell Labs in 1967. She programmed minicomputers to control high energy physics experiments at the University of Wisconsin during the 1970’s. Moving to 3M, Mary developed digital systems to control roll-goods processes, spearheaded one of the first Just-in-Time production systems in the company, and led new product development teams which commercialized products ranging from digital controllers to lighting systems. Upon retiring from 3M in 1998, Mary was surprised to discover that the typical software development process was quite different than the engineering-inspired approach she had found effective with control systems. So she wrote the now-classic book: Lean Software Development: an Agile Toolkit, proposing an approach which focuses on consumers, respects software engineers, concentrates on learning, and leverages flow.

Mary is a popular writer and speaker. Sequels of her first book include Implementing Lean Software Development: from Concept to Cash, Leading Lean Software Development: Results are Not the Point and The Lean Mindset: Ask the Right.


16:45 - 17:30

28th of October Day 1 - Main Track

Keynote: It’s Not About Software Anymore

Because what I have seen is dramatically rapid shifts in strategies, supply chains, and processes designed to accommodate a completely different world than existed in February. The most important one, I think, is that urgent need for technology changes drive just about everything, but the technology change has nothing to do with software and everything to do with supporting some new situation that requires a change in the underlying technology – NOW!

In this new normal there is a clear goal for everyone on a team – we must suddenly shift production from fresh salmon to frozen salmon, or from commercial packages of flour to consumer packages of flour – with specialists in all relevant fields applying their expertise to accomplish that goal. Or we have to shift all teaching to online in a week, accommodating teachers who have never taught online and students who have questionable internet access. The list goes on -but the underlying message is the same – it’s not about software, it’s about providing the technology infrastructure to accomplish something urgent and important that is much bigger than software. It never was about software, but never has that been so clear as it is now.