With Cloud Technologies, there is a hype of Agile methodology replacing Lean practices. As I am of Engineering background and Agile advocate, I am in a best position to bridge and clarify the views for both practices. So, I will raise the awareness that Agile is never a replacement of Lean practices but can coexist and improve existing Lean processes.
What are Lean Processes?
Lean Processes roots comes from Manufacturing and Engineering. The sole objective of Lean is to simplify and reduce wastage in process and in mindset. By doing, you can be efficient and effective, getting the best output from your inputs. It is a way of life, methods, technique, principle or even philosophy. The best examples comes from Toyota “Kaizen” in its car manufacturing and Motorola “Six Sigma”.
Lean or Agile
Lean software development serve as early inspiration for Agile. You will find many similarities between Lean and Agile. Both emphasis on speed by different means. You may wonder which method should be adopted. Existing organisations which practice Kaizen or Six Sigma may find their IT development team using Lean concepts. Overall, the switch from Lean to Agile and vice versa can be conflicting. In some case, Agile is more pro software development while Lean methods can be used for all types of business units.
Lean and Agile
With a simple comparison of Lean and Agile, you can see there are advantages for each method. The key is not to be rigid and follow each method to the teeth. For IT teams who are deep in Lean methods, you can also adopt Agile into existing Lean principles. On the other hand, existing Agile team can introduce Lean into various SOP and relate to other businesses.
For more readings, you can refer to this book Agile Software Requirements: Lean Requirements Practices for Teams, Programs, and the Enterprise.