Lean thinking allows organizations to determine value, and organize their value creation processes in a specific sequence. This fundamental understanding of the value stream allows organizations to dived their work processes into:
- Value-adding activities
- Required non-value-adding activities
- Non-value-adding activities
It’s important to note that while organizations can specify an associated value with a process; value’s inherently determined by the consumer – your organization had better have a clear understanding of what that is.
Lean thinking also affects the flow of your production processes by emphasizing a continuous product flow, pulled through by customer demand – ensuring that nothing’s built until it’s needed, and what’s built is in fact needed by its end-user. As Lean thinking’s applied to your specific business model you’ll inherently perfect your product through the constant process of identifying and removing waste.
Lean + Agile = Better Business Practices
We prefer to look at Agile as more than just a methodology, but also as a way businesses can reduce process – generated waste and non-value-adding activities.
Think of a value system instead of a process. Software development’s too difficult to waste time pouring over things that don’t matter, and it’s extremely inefficient for the organization at hand. From this viewpoint we can apply lean thinking to Agile development.
To effectively understand the meaningful roles these approaches can have, we must first examine their application. From this point of view, Lean represents a set of principles that help guide our ideas and insights about Agile. Lean thinking should be viewed as a set of value-maximizing principles that don’t change over time, and Agile development as an application of principles to a particular situation. Agile principles are specific to each environment and should change to fit the task at hand. Here it’s easy to see how Lean thinking concepts expand upon and improve the framework of Agile methodology.