I have posted on the topic of Lean Software Development previously.
Lean Software Development: A Field Guide – the first 3 chapters of this new book are available online [the broken link was removed]. Excellent book that I recommended for anyone interested in lean thinking ideas. Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit for Software Development Managers by Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck, 2003. Articles on lean programming by the Mary Poppendieck
David Carlton has an interesting post on this topic: lean software development.
Software development can be extremely complicated and can benefit greatly from making problems visible – jidoka. Inventory is not the key to hiding problems in software development. It might be in the “production of software” but so much software is “produced” and distributed over the internet without producing inventory etc. that the production step is not the main source of problems and longer (in the past boxed software had the same inventory problems other industries experience today). Yet all of us using software have many experiences with the problems users have with software (often on a daily basis). Lean thinking has a great deal to offer for those involved in software development.
By the way, if you are interested in lean application development and are looking for a job in the Washington DC area see, job announcement for a programmer (dead link removed), and maybe we can work together – John Hunter.