Thinking Outside of the Box
I am always intrigued to find evidence that supports the application of lean outside the realm of manufacturing. This morning I was pleasantly surprised to find an article published by Bill Wake titled “Lean Manufacturing and Software” where Bill discusses software development from a lean perspective. Even if you aren’t a programmer or software developer, the article offers some interesting insights and perspectives into a different application of lean principles.
Perhaps seeing this article should not come as a surprise to me. Some time ago, I published “Lean Office with Excel and VBA” that was featured in an article on Daily Dose of Excel titled “Learn VBA to be Lean“. Even more interesting were comments that included candid responses from some of the more well-known Excel guru’s including John Walkenbach, a renowned author of numerous books on Excel.
On another occasion, I attempted to demonstrate some basic lean tenets and Standardized Work in “22 Seconds to Burn – Excel VBA Teaches Lean Execution“. Finally, “Lean Paralysis” makes reference to a simple software development decision to select a sorting algorithm. When we consider the thousands of lines of code that comprise a software solution, it is noteworthy that each instruction is executed with a specific intent to present a solution to the user.
So, somehow it seems apropos to see an article on software development featured here. On an even greater scale, this demonstrates unintended collaboration for the greater benefit of all. Just as stories are an excellent way to communicate and teach new ideas, analogies and “surrogate” applications can also serve to help improve our current level of understanding.
We benefit from the software community where it becomes painfully clear that every instruction represents a step that brings us closer to the eventual solution. The software development community benefits from lean to improve their software development process.
As I mentioned in “Lean – A race against time“, the application of lean has extended beyond the walls of manufacturing and is further demonstrated in “The High-Velocity Edge: How Market Leaders Leverage Operational Excellence to Beat the Competition” by author, and recipient of the Philip Crosby Medal, Steven J. Spear. This book exemplifies how lean thinking has emerged in a diverse range of industries including health care, air lines, the US Navy, Automotive, Manufacturing, and Mining. Even our own local governments are pursuing lean to improve government agencies and services.
I am impressed by what we can learn from others and look forward to learning more.
Until Next Time – STAY lean!