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Journey from Agile To Lean -- My thoughts after UK Lean Kanban Conference

Posted by   hiranabe   Date   2009/10/2 15:55:32

I have attended three days of UK Lean Conference held in London. To Agile practitioners like me, it was an eye-opener to a whole wider view of software development. Here's a thought I got.

What was Agile to me:

Agile was something important missing from "Software Engineering" in the real world software development. Agile found that the bottle neck of software development was not in software engineering part any more(did you read the Demarco's Software Engineering: An Idea Whose Time Has Come and Gone?), and it was in social activities that connect software development with business. For example, Scrum can be seen as a set of role definitions and communication patterns between business and development. And the important thing was that the value was not in the software itself but in the business. Agile kind of extended the engineering thinking to the social part of development, which may be called "social engineering"(Ivar Jacobson used this saying).

So let's say Agile is a connector between business and software engineering.

What is Lean to me:

But the world of business was not only software, of course. From the business perspective, IT or software development is just one activity in the value stream of a company. It adds values together with other parts of the business in the stream such as markeing, accounting, and etc.

So, I find Lean is more a company wide initiative that makes the value flow from concept through development(where I live in) to c ash(or customer needs).

I drew a "T-shape" model that expresses my thought.

Chris Matts model:
Chirs Matts

told me (on the dinner party table, BTW) a completely different view of Agile and Lean. His model is a matrix of consciousness and competence.

While Agile focuses on solving conscious issues to make an incompetent organization competent, Lean makes the conscious competent organization to unconscious competent mode, which can be done by knowledge translation. Yes, Lean companies do competent operations unconscously.

Chris has more to say to this diagram, but I'll leave it to him.
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