Mary Poppendieck

(She / her / hers)

Author of Lean Software Development: an Agile Toolkit

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 in1998, 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 that focuses on customers, 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 Questions.

Find Mary Poppendieck at:


Software Engineering – Then, Now, and Next

Twenty years ago Google was struggling to search the vast amount of data in the web, while Amazon was struggling to move an increasing volume of transactions through its monolithic architecture. Their solutions broke new ground in software engineering even as they enabled the companies to thrive.

Creative approaches to digital technology have been fundamental in enabling the massive scale and incredible speed of today’s digital giants. More than that, they are at the core of every successful digital transformation. This talk will discuss how software engineering has been changed by the scale and speed required of digital companies in the past, now, and in the future.


Wednesday Nov 10 / 03:10PM EST (40 minutes)

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