Definition of Lean Thinking
By Oakleigh Consulting Ltd
Lean thinking started with Toyota on their production line in Japan and now is increasingly being adopted by other organisations in other sectors, for example the NHS.
The essence of the lean philosophy is captured in five concepts:
- Specify value in the eyes of the customer
- Identify the value stream and eliminate waste
- Make value flow at the pull of the customer
- Involve and empower employees
- Continuously improve in the pursuit of perfection
The ultimate goal of lean is to eliminate waste. Waste is defined as anything which adds cost without adding any value and is categorised as:
- Muda – Work which absorbs resource but adds no value
- Muri – Unreasonable work that is imposed on workers and machines
- Mura – work coming in dribs and drabs with sudden periods of rush rather than a constant or regular flow, unevenness
Now it is not a big leap to see how some of these principles can be applied to the process of developing software, for example:
- management’s agreement to deadlines without seeking the input of those who will develop the software;
- allowing developers to add features which add no business value;
- scheduling work based on plans which bear no resemblance to the potential throughput achievable by the development team;
- unnecessary meetings.
Source: Oakleigh Consulting Ltd
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