Lean Software Strategies seems to be one of the first books specifically about applying Lean principles and techniques to software development that is not written by the Poppendiecks. When the book first came out, I admit I was put off by several unfavorable reviews at Amazon.com. When I later learned it won the 2007 Shingo prize for excellence in manufacturing research, and saw Lisa Crispin's review at StickyMinds, I decided to give it a second look. I'm glad I did!
Written by Lean experts from two backgrounds, one an academician/researcher and the other an industry practitioner, the style of the book is very different from that of the Poppendiecks. It takes a much more purist (even academic at times) application of Lean production to software development rather than landing squarely on "Agile" or roughly equating the two. I can understand why fans of the Poppendiecks' books, and perhaps those coming from a background that is more "Agile" than "Lean" didn't exactly "rave" about Middleton and Sutton's book. I can also understand the perspective of those coming from a background in Lean production who complain that the Poppendiecks' books are more about "Agile" than "Lean" and that Sutton and Middleton's book is, in their mind, the first book that is truly about applying Lean to Software. I think both camps are "right" in their own way, and that is why I think it is important to read this book in order to gain a broader and deeper perspective of what Lean is and how it applies to software development.
You can read the full review at agilejournal.com.