Jidoka and Captured Knowledge

In manufacturing, you likely know the problems to look for; broken threads, misshapen parts, etc.. In software, you may have no idea what kinds of problems you may create by changing code. In this way, practicing jidoka is invaluable. It’s how later developers know what can break, what is broken, and offers wisdom about how to fix bugs without breaking… Read moreJidoka and Captured Knowledge

Jidoka (automation with a human touch)

The two pillars of lean are just-in-time, and jidoka. Today we’ll look for jidoka in software development. What is jidoka Often translated as “automation with a human touch”, some people also use the word autonomation. The principle is rather simple. When designing a process, find opportunities for the process to self identify errors and stop so that the problems can… Read moreJidoka (automation with a human touch)

Working with OVER working for

What does it mean to work with a client as opposed to working for one? Handling Unknowns Consider a situation when there is a question or some uncertainty about how to solve a client issue, what does the conversation look like? Is it just you? Does the delivery team have a meeting? Do a few analysts have a debate? If… Read moreWorking with OVER working for

User Stories as Lean

User stories are a useful and well established agile tool. Could they also be thought of as a lean tool? Definition We’re not going to do what’s been done a million times. If you aren’t familiar with stories, check this out. For more information, google it. How Stories Support Agile By avoiding the “how”, the story does a few things: Stories… Read moreUser Stories as Lean

Microsoft as Agile, but not Enterprise Agile

Microsoft is a dominant player in IT. But is it agile? Does it display enterprise agility? Organization Microsoft has gone through some re-orgs in the period we’ll look at. The most recent re-org created 5 engineering groups and a bunch of non-engineering groups. Those engineering groups are largely responsible for themselves are are: Operating Systems (Windows) Cloud & Enterprise (Visual… Read moreMicrosoft as Agile, but not Enterprise Agile

Agile, You’re Doing it Right

For all the attention people apply to not being agile, or needing to be more agile, there is a distinct possibility that is often unaccounted for. That you’re already agile. Of course, you could have a better process, but that’s always true. Recognizing that you can be better is at the heart of agile (and lean). Lean uses kaizen and… Read moreAgile, You’re Doing it Right

Finding the 8 Lean Wastes in Software Development

Any talk about lean should always include the 8 wastes, so we’ll look at how these apply to software development (or any knowledge industry). Rather than creating a whole new list of wastes, we’ll find that the originals apply just as well; we just need to shift our perspective a bit. Muda, Mura, Muri Before we dive into the 8… Read moreFinding the 8 Lean Wastes in Software Development

Stand-ups & Standards & Kaizen Oh My

Odds are good that you’re familiar with the classic 3-question agile standup.  Have you ever wondered what a lean standup might look like?  Because it’s lean it’ll just be faster, right?  That’s what lean is really about, isn’t it?  Maybe we can do it in 2 questions if we’re leaner?  By looking at the standup (something we know) from a… Read moreStand-ups & Standards & Kaizen Oh My

Cross-Functional Teams & Production Cells

Prior to lean thinking, Taylorism was the dominant managerial philosophy in industry (and it is still a powerful influence).  Labor efficiency is a pillar of this approach.  To achieve that goal, a common practice was to group together all sets of similar equipment (lathes, drills, presses, etc.).  This allowed the technicians to specialize, allowed for redundancies in case one machine went… Read moreCross-Functional Teams & Production Cells