Redefining Lean

May 22, 2009 — Posted by Jim Trott

Listen to the webinar audio Redefining Lean

Lean Software Development is founded on Lean. But what is "Lean"? Some have said that "lean is just what Toyota does." That is not much of a definition and is not even accurate, although Toyota does do Lean. It is also not accurate to say that Lean is focused on manufacturing, although Lean is now widely used in manufacturing.Lean is not even principally about physical product even though most of the examples of Lean are in the physical world.

No. It is better to see Toyota manufacturing and Toyota product development as just examples, as manifestations of this way of thinking we call Lean. Here is one good way to think about what is going in in Lean: There is Lean Science, Lean Management, and Lean Knowledge Stewardship.

  • Lean Science: There are rules and principles that are present, observable, can be used to make predictions, and we can adapt and learn based on what we test and observe. The most flexible approach is to understand the Why that is behind the practices. This is how Don Reinertsen has helped us, identifying the fundamental rules.
  • Lean Management: How to help the organization take advantage of the science and how to remove the problems people have.
  • The manager is involved, neither hands-off nor command-and-control. Manager's role is education, helping people know how to think, how to see problems and how to think about the system, and also to set direction. Using visual controls helps managers see when process is going awry and there is a need to intervene, when to educate.
  • Lean Knowledge Stewardship: How to discover, share, adapt, apply, and take care of the knowledge we have in the organization. There are techniques such as A3, Kaizen, AAR/Retrospection, Root Cause and 5 Whys, Value Stream Maps,

Make your plans now to attend the UK Lean Kanban conference in September. For information, see www.ukleanconference.com

 

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Music used in this podcast

“Pizzaman” and “Chocolate” ©2006 William Cushman: http://ghostnotes.blogspot.com/

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About the author | Jim Trott

Jim Trott is a senior consultant for Net Objectives. He has used object-oriented and pattern-based analysis techniques throughout his 20 year career in knowledge management and knowledge engineering. He is the co-author of Design Patterns Explained: A New Perspective on Object-Oriented Design, Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility, and the Lean-Agile Pocket Guide for Scrum Teams.



        

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