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Software Development Waste Workshop™ - Facilitator's Guide

This is a facilitator's guide to the Waste Workshop™

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

In short, you can make money off of this workshop, but you must attribute me for creating the workshop. Attribution can be made during the workshop (e.g. letting attendees know that I made this) or before hand (e.g. refer to this as Sedano's Waste Workshop™) During the workshop, I'll ask you to reference the academic research that I have done on software waste.


Sample 2x2 grid

Introductions, goals, safe place

< (Optional) Tell a personal story about the benefits of removing waste. >


  • We will be identifying wastes and then prioritizing one to solve. Success is achieving alignment on solving one waste.
  • Our goal is not generating solutions to the problems that we identify. If there is time, we can identify solutions for the most important problem

Review Workshop

Idea generation

If you have filled in the waste worksheet, that's great. If you'd like a copy, I have some here. Wastes can be sneaky. Teams grow accustomed to their way of working and stop noticing wastes. We normalize our pain. The waste worksheet is a systematic review of software development wastes.

For each problem that you identify, please put one problem per sticky-note.

To summarize, here is our prompt: What wastes do you see on your team?

Idea filtering

Not everything we generated has the same value, please prioritize your list. Focus on prioritizing your top three to five wastes.

Hearing the top priorities.

We'll go around the room in a round-robin fashion. When it is your turn, tell us your top waste. We'd like to get everyone on the same page about the problem. If everyone does not knows what the problem is, please ask clarifying questions.

< This is not the time to debate or argue solutions, focus the team on understanding the problem. If people are focused on solutions, try "Can we create a post-it note that represents the problem we are trying to solve?" >

After we've read the waste, we'll place the sticky-note on the 2x2. The first one can go anywhere. After that we'll compare each item to each other, making necessary adjustment it their positions. The relative positioning does not need to be perfect, but we will spend more time focusing on the positioning in the upper right quadrant.

If other people wrote the same thing, we will combine sticky-notes.

< Go around the room several times. Limit to top three unless you get serious push back. >

Align on the waste to address first

< Once enough wastes have been discussed (typically after three rounds) >

Let's look at the wastes in the upper right of the board. Do we agree that we should address the upper-right most waste first?

< If this waste is easy to accomplish see if the the attendeess agree to address the next high-value, easily to address waste. >

(Optional) Create an action plan for first waste

< If there is time in the meeting >

The goal of this meeting is to identify the first waste to address. Since we have some extra time, we can create a plan on how to address this waste. What steps can we take to address this waste?


This workshop was originally created by Todd Sedano. If you want to learn more about his research into software development, check out his papers on research gate. I'll be giving you a book chapter.

(Optional) Collect feedback

< I like collecting feedback. Here are some questions that I use with my workshops. Let me know what you learn. >

  • What is something that you liked about the workshop?
  • What would you change in the workshop?
  • Would you recommend this presentation for another office / company? Why?


Software Development Waste Workshop aka Waste Retro






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