Saturday, April 18, 2020

Essentializing Lean - Essay

Starting with the need - Taiichi Ohno, Toyota Production System

We suggest reading first: Principles of lean thinking article (by Mary Poppendieck)   

SEARCHING FOR A DEFINITION... – We need a clear definition, with a clear promised capability, and that will starts from the needs, and that will not exclude any great existent contribution.   

LEAN DEFINITIONS PITFALLS... – lean should be goal-driven. Just enumerating some of the lean solutions is merely a prescriptive approach. Software development's biggest problems -  such undesired complexity and lack of collaborative work - are too often disregarded in these solutions. We need traceability between industry problems/specifics and lean solutions.
PROBLEMS/SOLUTIONS INVENTORY... – Main software domain's known generic problems and traits include: 
  • complexity, incertitude, and knowledge work
Existing lean solutions have these generic recommendations:
  • studying the way of working & improving it by avoiding waste, 
  • maximizing the produced value
  • producing the value early.  

ANALYZING LEAN SOLUTIONS... – We cannot disregard any of the major sources of waste. There is an avalanche effect: one source of waste will produce more others and so on. All lean categories of solutions (avoiding waste, maximizing value, delivering early) are related to the main domain problems/traits: complexity and incertitude. Instead of just enumerating lean solutions we should consider exploring and experimenting with any approach that will address these main problems.
GOAL DRIVEN LEAN... - Lean should be goal-driven. Work optimization - the main purpose of lean – could be performed only by discovering the problems and finding the solutions that are specific for a team and organization context. Since we already have a good goal-driven approach in Disciplined Agile that could be an inspiration for organizing and essentializing Lean.
LEAN DEVELOPMENT GOALS... – instead of jumping to directly to practices, we could propose a list of Lean goals:
  • avoiding waste
  • delivering value early
  • maximizing delivered value
  • managing complexity
  • managing incertitude
For avoiding waste, the current works that start from the sources mentioned by the Toyota Production System are a good starting point.    

GUIDANCE EXAMPLE: AVOID DEFECTS GOAL... – First we need to evaluate and assess the impact of the defects. Product complexity and its criticality should influence quality politics. Then we should identify the root causes and the recommended practices in context. Some examples of causes are an unnecessary big scope of work, no built-in quality, and lack of skills. 
RED FLAGS... – if we want a quick, but not necessarily accurate, assessment of work there are some red flags, such as two sources of waste that are easier to measure: Waiting and Defects. Anyway, one should remember the “waste avalanche effect” and search for all significant sources of waste and their root causes.   

Essential Lean Series

Essentializing Lean - essay

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