Introduction to Lean Framework

Introduction to Lean Framework

Lean is an Agile framework that focuses on reducing “waste” involved in any process. “Waste” can be define as any activity involved in a process. Waste can take many forms and is grouped for general understanding by “WIDETOM”;

W = Waiting
I = Inventory
D = Defects
E = Extra Processing
T = Transportation
O = Over Production
M = Motion

Lean Principles

The Lean framework has its own 7 principles:

1. Eliminate Waste

This principle of Lean is focused on removing any possible waste identified in a process. This allows to save time that is being taken up by that waste. The most commonly used practice to identify and eliminate waste is the “Retrospective” meeting.

2. Amplify Learning

This principle focuses on sharing the knowledge. The best way to go about this is to build a knowledge base (wiki) so that there is a source where everyone can not only share the basic information, but can also share their experiences and proposed solutions. Other methods of sharing information can be Pair Programming, Code Reviews, User Manual, Domain Sessions, Trainings and so on.

3. Decide as late as possible

The philosophy behind this rule is that deferring the decision to the latest possible hour allows a maximum number of scenarios to reveal themselves and give the decision maker a chance to keep the options open for the longest period of time. Having said that, decisions should not be delayed for an indefinite time and activates should be time-boxed.

4. Deliver as fast as possible

As a rule, the earlier a customer gets his hands on the working solution or product, the more satisfied he will they be. An expedited delivery also helps with getting a quicker feedback, helping in lowering the cost of the change or rework after the close of a project.

5. Empower the team

Empowering the teams enhances the thinking and participating abilities of the resources and allows a multidimensional view of the problems or issues at hand. In addition, empowering the teams facilitates in building a sense of shared responsibility for the team members, which in turn always gets more “Push” from all resources involved to get the job done and cover up for each other.

6. Build Integrity In / Quality In

This is also laser focused on reducing waste in elements. To explain it simply, focusing on the quality while building an element ensures there are lesser chances of wastage and failure, which in turn leads to a lower probability of rework on the element. Other Agile frameworks such as Test Driven Development and Extreme Programming also share this ideology and focus on obtaining quality outcomes and maintaining integrity from the very beginning of the process, rather than trying to add these ‘value additions’ on the later stages.

7. See the whole

Another important rule of Lean framework is that the product as a whole should be in the consideration at all time. From this vantage point, it is easier to align your short-term goal and decisions towards the near flawless delivery of the eventual outcome – the finished product. The work queue should be considered as value stream and not a separate module or functionality otherwise there will be large issues at the time of integration of these items.

Implementation of Lean

The Lean principles may seem to be simple and straight-forward but their implementation might not be as easy. Agile practitioners believe that Lean should be implemented through a 5 steps model;

  1. Specify Value
  2. Map the value steam
  3. Establish Flow
  4. Implement Pull
  5. Work to Perfection
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Muhammad Zeeshan Ali's picture
A Senior Advisory Software Engineer at Systems Limited with over 12 years of experience in Traditional and Agile Project Management, Zeeshan Ali is based in Lahore and is a regular contributor of the Systems Limited Blog.

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Systems Limited, or any other entity related to Systems Limited.

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