How to Use Lean Development Process in eCommerce Development

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How to Use Lean Development Process in eCommerce Development

Exceeding the development time and going over budget are the two biggest fears of every aspiring eCommerce entrepreneur. To avoid these two situations, they can go to any extent – hiring the best software development team or adopting new software development approaches. 

One such approach is Lean, and it can offer you a competitive edge by significantly cutting back on development costs. 

If you don’t know, Lean is a software development approach that advocates are reducing waste and improving processes to enhance productivity. Besides that, the Lean development approach encourages sharing responsibility among all stakeholders instead of one person or a small group holding on to responsibility.

How can Lean Approach Benefit Your Ecommerce Business?

  1. Lean can help you deliver faster by optimizing your resources, helping you plan your business process better, and identifying and eliminating mundane processes. 
  2. By incorporating customer feedback right from the beginning, Lean can help you ensure your eCommerce app/website meets their expectations. 
  3. The lean approach can help you embrace automation without generating additional wastes. In addition, it will further add to more efficiency on your website.

How to Apply the Lean Principles in Ecommerce Software Development 

Principle 1: Eliminating Waste

The first lean principle is to eliminate waste. In the scenario of enterprise app development, Wastes mean any feature, unnecessary code, or redundant process that doesn’t value users. Such wastes often lead to wastage of time and resources.

So, start by asking yourself: Do I need everything I desire in the product, or Is there anything I can remove?

If the answer is “Yes.” Consider dropping down the feature. Otherwise, you can move further with your eCommerce app. You can also conduct surveys to understand what users need. By the end, you will have only those features that users need in the app, not just about everything.

Principle 2: Building Value

The next lean principle is building and maintaining quality throughout the development process. The end goal is to ensure you deliver value to the customer in the end. Here are some approaches that you can use to lead and ship quality in your eCommerce app/website:

  • Pair Programming: A programming approach in which we allow two people to write code together on one machine. The approach facilitates communication, clears confusion, and enables maximum productivity.
  • Testing Criteria: Setting different criteria for testing to ensure the product meets customers’ requirements.
  • Automation: Leveraging the power of AI to eliminate mundane tasks and reduce chances of error.
  • Incremental Development: Develop software incrementally to control quality and guide the product in the right direction through consistent feedback.

Principle 3: Create Knowledge

This lean principle appears simple yet requires hard work and focus. The idea is to properly document and retains valuable learnings in your eCommerce app so that we can leverage them in the future. Here are a few techniques to implement this principle:

  • Pair programming
  • Documentation 
  • Knowledge sharing sessions
  • Code reviews
  • Wiki for incrementally building the knowledge base
  • A well-documented and thoroughly commented code.
  • Training and tools for managing requirements

This lean principle also prevents resources from getting wasted by eliminating rework.

Principle 4: Defer Commitment

Contrary to the popular misconception, deferring commitment doesn’t mean you have to be irresponsible about decision-making. Instead, it means your team should be responsible enough to be prepared for changes you never anticipated. Ecommerce is a continually evolving sector, and you never know when you might expect the unexpected. So, it’s always wise to leave all the decision-making to the end and be prepared for all the scenarios.

Here are a couple of things you must follow in this lean principle:

  • Not planning excessively in detail.
  • Not committing to ideas without understanding them.
  • Finally, constantly gathering and analyzing new data regarding your eCommerce app/website.

Principle 5: Deliver Fast

Delivering fast is another crucial pillar of lean software development. It allows you to deliver value to your customers as soon as possible. Now, you need to carefully analyze what may slow you down while developing your enterprise app:

  • Are you overthinking about future requirements?
  • Are there any blockers you are ignoring?
  • Do you waste too much time over-engineering business requirements and solutions?

If this is the case, you must first change your perception and deliver a simple solution. Please put it in front of customers and then use their feedback to enhance the product further. It will save you development time.

Principle 6: Be Humane

It is another crucial lean principle that people often neglect. You can’t blame them either because in the hyper-competitive world of Ecommerce – you either deliver fast or lag.

But this doesn’t mean we become so self-centered that we forget to respect each other as a team. Respect is the glue that will bind the entire team together. When things go south, and most probably they will, it’s a team that will support you. So, always encourage an environment of respect within your team. Here’s how you can do so:

  • Communicate proactively and effectively. Make everyone heard in your team.
  • Encourage healthy conflict among team members. It will help them grow further.
  • Surface any work-related issues as a team. It will always keep all of you closer.
  • Empower each other to do their best work. Bring the best out of each other, and you will grow.

Principle 7: Optimize the Whole

Here are two problems you are most likely to face while using the lean approach for your eCommerce app/website:

1. The Vicious Cycle of Delivery

You may release sloppy code as you feel pressured to deliver faster at any cost. As a result, complexity may arise in the code base leading to more defects. To resolve these defects, you’ll have more work to do, and you’ll again feel pressured to deliver fast. This way, the vicious cycle continues.

2. Long Time for Testing

Delivering faster also means testers will be overloaded, and it will take time before developers can get feedback from them. As a result, developers will keep writing code that may or may not be defective. As a result, more issues will arise.

The only way to resolve these issues is to optimize your eCommerce app/website as a whole. Only then can you identify and fix these issues and provide timely delivery.


Lean software development is not a 100-meters sprint. It’s a long run where little things will add up to give you the desired results. Only when you reduce unnecessary waste and build value can you deliver quality to end-users. Similarly, creating an environment of respect and sharing knowledge will ensure you can tackle everything as a team. As a result, you can build the desired eCommerce app from the ground up. So, follow these principles and keep these little factors in mind. 

If you need any guidance, feel free to share in the comments. I would be happy to help.

How to Use Lean Development Process in eCommerce Development