Lean development

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Lean development
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Methods and techniques

Lean development (also: lean product development, lean software development) uses principles of lean manufacturing in order to achieve defects free software of design of the product. While the lean manufacturing aims at making product without defects at minimum costs, the lean development's objective is to create a product/software that will fulfil requirements of users.

Using lean development methods, organization should be able to reduce time-to-market through waste elimination during the planning, resource management, control and interdisciplinary communication.

This article describes:

  • Lean product development
  • Lean software development (see: below)

General principles of lean development

  1. Drive waste out of the process
  2. Improve the way projects are executed
  3. Visualize the development process

In order to achieve this, the idea of 7 wastes of lean and 7 wastes of services are used. A toolkit consists of lean manufacturing tools extended by design tools (see below).

Lean product development

The lean product development achieves effects through the below listed principles. See extended article on Lean product development.

Knowledge management in LPD

The most important is the knowledge management in the project. Each event related to product or manufacturing process can add valuable information for designers. Therefore there should be established an effective system of communication, information storage and sharing. The rules of reducing inventory don't apply to knowledge. Every piece of information can be helpful. However the database has to be created in such a way, that enables employees to quickly find answers.

The results of LPD program are increase of innovation (even 10x) and increase of number of new products (4-5 times).

Principles of lean product development

  1. Establish customer-defined value to separate value-added from waste.
  2. Front-load the product development process to explore thoroughly alternative solutions while there is maximum design space.
  3. Create a level product development process flow.
  4. Utilize rigorous standardization to reduce variation, and create flexibility and predictable outcomes.
  5. Develop a chief engineer system to integrate development from start to finish.
  6. Organize to balance functional expertise and cross-functional integration.
  7. Develop towering competence in all engineers.
  8. Fully integrate suppliers into the product development system.
  9. Build in learning and continuous improvement.
  10. Build a culture to support excellence and relentless improvement.
  11. Adapt technologies to fit your people and process.
  12. Align your organization through simple visual communication.
  13. Use powerful tools for standardization and organizational learning.

Tools of lean product development

The organization always has to deal with imperfect information, and design of new products is always a step into unknown. Therefore there is a need of creating multiple design options and using tools enabling faster and better design. To achieve this additional tools are used:

  • Product development value stream mapping
  • Just in time product development
  • Quick response product development
  • GOLCAD - Kanban methodology for product development
  • Design task heijunka
  • Machigai yoke - Poka yoke for product development
  • Single minute exchange of projects
  • Kaizen
  • A3 method

Lean software development

The lean software development is related to Agile project management. It translates lean manufacturing ideas into domain of software development. See extended article on Lean software development.

7 wastes of software development

The idea of waste is present in LSD, however other types of waste are important:

  1. Work done partially
  2. Extra processes
  3. Extra features
  4. Task switching
  5. Waiting
  6. Motion
  7. Defects

See extended version in article 7 wastes of software development

Principles of Lean software development

  1. Satisfying the customer is the highest priority.
  2. Always provide the best value for the money.
  3. Success depends on active customer participation.
  4. Every lean development project is a team effort.
  5. Everything is changeable.
  6. Domain, not point, solutions.
  7. Complete, don't construct.
  8. An 80 percent solution today instead of 100 percent solution tomorrow.
  9. Minimalism is essential.
  10. Needs determine technology.
  11. Product growth is feature growth, not size growth.
  12. Never push lean development beyond its limits.

22 Tools of LSD

The LSD uses several approaches. Each of them comes with separate tools:

  • Eliminate waste: seeing waste, value stream mapping
  • Amplifying learning: feedback, iterations, synchronization, set-based development
  • Deciding as late as possible: options thinking, the last responsible moment, making decisions
  • Delivering as fast as possible: pull systems, queueing theory, cost of delay
  • Empower the team: self-determination, motivation, leadership, expertise
  • Build integrity in: perceived integrity, conceptual integrity, refactoring, testing,
  • See the whole: measurement, contracts