Posted on April 09, 2012 by admin

The 2012 edition of our Lean Software & Systems Conference is almost upon us. I’m particularly proud of this year’s edition and the team who’ve worked hard to put it together. I thought I’d take a few minutes to reflect on why I’m referring to it as the Boston Lean Party and why I feel it will such a worthwhile gathering…

Register now! Use code DJAA200 through April 14th for the best available price.

Why Boston?

I decided to take the conference to Boston in 2012 as I felt that Lean approaches to managing software and systems engineering activities are coming of age. Boston (or more precisely, Cambridge, MA) is the academic home of Lean as we know it in the West. Boston is and has been the spiritual home of Lean Thinking for over 20 years. It was therefore time that we took our community, our thought leaders, our presentations and our anecdotal and empirical evidence to the home of Lean. It was time to underscore that Lean in knowledge work fields has to be about optimizing flow and not about waste elimination. And that counter-intuitive ideas like using kanban systems in knowledge work workflow actually enable kaizen cultures much better than an intuitive approach such as identifying non-value-adding activities performed by workers.

The Program

This year we’ve invited 3 key note speakers from outside the fields of software development and systems engineering. It was time to reach out and to further encourage the diversity and the cross-pollination that we’ve become well known for this past 3 years. So this year’s edition features Steven Spear, author of High Velocity Edge, that reports his findings from years of studying Toyota, Greg Howell, of the Lean Construction Institute who’s focus has been on building new hospitals faster and better, and from outside Lean altogether, Jochai Benkler, who’s book The Penguin and the Leviathan, looks at how to design better more cooperative human systems.

This year’s venue offers us a unique 500 seat amphitheater, so we decided to borrow another idea from the Agile conference and feature a main stage. The criteria for inclusion meant every speaker must have published a book on a relevant topic. in addition to our 3 key note speakers, our main stage will feature: Donald Reinertsen; Jim Sutton; Alan Shalloway; Michael Kennedy; Jim Benson; Hillel Glazer; Pujan Roka (another new face to this audience); Mary Poppendieck; and me. In itself the main stage is a major conference on Lean Software Development but there is more, a lot more…

Jeff Anderson from Deloitte is chairing a Learning Organizations track that features Steve Denning (Radical Management), Brant Cooper (Lean Startup), Joe Dager (Business 901) plus Jeff himself talking about how to synthesize ideas like Kanban, Lean Startup and Gamestorming.

David Joyce, Russell Healy and Benjamin Mitchell (always a good guy to stir things up a bit) are leading a 3-day Kanban track. This represents the largest Kanban conference ever held. Truly a conference within a conference. For the Kanban diehards a feast of new material and new faces from around the world.

Bob Charette will reprise his lead on the Risk track. Once again Bob has found a few new faces for us to enjoy. Troy Magennis revisits the conference but this time to talk about Monte Carlo simulation, while Brian Hagen looks at how to calculate the value of a Lean program. Mike Burrows will explain how Kanban moves risk upstream to places where it can better be managed.

And once again we make space for a pure play systems engineering track, this time with Richard Turner in the lead. Richard will be presenting some of his recent research into scheduling large scale systems engineering programs using kanban systems. Neil Siegel will look at the social context for large scale programs. Greg Yezersky is back to give us more on the General Theory of Innovation. Greg Parnell will look at identifying and measuring the value of Lean on large scale systems engineering projects. Mark McKinney looks at how to actively involve the end user in design and development of complex systems.

Lean Camp New England, May 13th

As if this were not enough, there is a full day of open space on Sunday May 13th, marketed separately as Lean Camp New England and 2 full days of tutorials also open to those who don’t attend the main conference.

Lean Action Kitchen and 2012 Brickell Key Awards

Jim Benson will also be demonstrating his culinary talents with Lean Action Kitchen (limited to 30 attendees). There will be the opening social gathering on Sunday May 13th and the gala banquet dinner for the presentation of the Brickell Key Awards. This year we have another outstanding set of nominees from around the world: Markus Andrezak; Jeff Anderson; Jim Benson; Oscar Garrido & Erika Weiss; Arne Roock; Yuval Yeret. The party after the dinner and awards will be open to all full conference attendees. Come along on the evening of May 15th and celebrate all the incredible contributions to our community.

Sponsors & Exhibit

This year we’ve seen the biggest, most positive response from sponsors to date. Software Engineering Professionals are back again as our stalwart backers, together with my own firm and Lean Kanban University taking the lead to promote accredited Kanban training. In purely alphabetical order I also need to thank Atlassian, Constant Contact, Deloitte, GBMP, Hansoft, Kanbanery, Kanbanpad, Lean Kit Kanban, Net Objectives, PMI, Rally, Swift Kanban, Target Process, Ultimate Software, and last but certainly not least as the one of only two sponsors to be with us all four years, Version One. This year’s exhibit area will be the biggest and best to date. I’m looking forward to a series of exciting product launches and updates from the many Kanban software vendors attending!

Look out also for the book table immediately outside the main stage entrance. This year it will feature the most extensive range of books from more than 10 of our speakers. It’s your chance to get your favorite books signed by the author. It will also be the first chance to purchase my new book, Lessons in Agile Managament being launched at the conference.

Organizing Team

This year’s event has been put together by a stellar team with Kelly Wilson leading on event planning with her team of Samantha Cotten, Amanda O’Rourke, Courtny Cotten, Lilian Nijboer and Janice Linden-Reed. Hillel Glazer led the program while Donna Cotton coordinated the Brickell Key Awards.


It’s the biggest! It’s the best! It’s the Boston Lean Party and it is taking place at the Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, May 13-18, 2012. Don’t miss out! Register now!