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Agile with a Little Bit of Lean

· Agile Zone

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I’m probably one of the biggest fans of Agile.  Not because it’s one of the hottest things going on right now in the development community.  I’m big on Agile because I’ve seen what it can do for teams and organizations first hand.  Transformational would be an understatement.  Unfortunately there are plenty of shops out there not realizing the benefits that agile can bring.  They are practicing a faux pas version of it.  Let’s just call it ‘iterative’.  If you think you might be doing this type of Agile than this post is not for you.  This post is about the next level of Agile.

Those of us that have seen true Agile in practice will tell you that at the end of the day you’ll be left wanting more.  Clearly this practice can be applied to a larger audience.  Clearly every company should use Agile for everything!  Agile is more than the considerable uptick in productivity, quality and customer satisfaction!  To borrow from the extreme sports community:  Go big or go home!  I think I echo most of my colleagues when I say this.

I have news for us Agile advocates.  The business side of the house has been looking at Agile based methodologies much longer than we have.  I’ve known this for sometime, but I recently came across an article in Forbes where the author, Dan Woods, speaks about the marriage of Lean Manufacturing and Agile Development.  Agile is not Lean and Lean is not Agile.  Their approach to iterative improvement, removal of barriers and fail early- fail often approach is a best of breed. 

Woods makes an interesting statement at the end of his article:

In practice, Agile seems to be changing for the better by adopting Lean thinking in a large way. Rally says that its customers get to market 50% faster and are 25% more productive when they employ a hybrid of Lean and Agile development methods. Given the way that Agile fits in to the Lean framework, it wouldn't surprise me if before too long Agile is considered a branch of Lean practice tailored for the software industry.

I’ve written many times about the importance of business and technology coming together to create the best value.  This is by far the most common ground I’ve seen.  I agree with Wood, I look forward to the child of these two methodologies.

Source: http://www.steveciske.com/post/2011/04/03/Agile-with-a-Little-Bit-of-Lean.aspx

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