I’m Charlie Rudd, CEO of SolutionsIQ, an Agile company. I’m interested in learning better and better ways to unleash the power of teams by applying Agile management principles and practices throughout the enterprise.
Last week we explored how inventory and waiting, two of the original seven lean manufacturing wastes, have analogs in software development.
This week we will explore two more, overproduction and transportation. As we will see, even though software development has fundamental differences with manufacturing we can use manufacturing as a metaphor that helps us open our minds about what constitutes waste in knowledge work such as software development.
Overproduction in software development. Since the model for software use is that one unit (i.e. one release) is shared by many users (even more so in SAAS environments) and the physical material cost of a software unit is minimal, overproduction is not expressed as producing product units in excess of demand. Rather, overproduction in software development occurs when we build features that are either never or rarely used or that are deployed prematurely.
Requirements "lost in translation"
Transport in software development. Since software comprises information electronically stored and accessed, the physical transport of materials or finished goods is of little concern. However, there is the analogous waste of translating and handing off customer requirements through subsequent phases such as functional specifications, UML diagrams, source code, and tests. In addition, there is also information loss (or the introduction of noise) that damages the information just as finished goods and materials are sometimes damaged through transportation.
I would love to hear your ideas about waste in software development.
If you're interested in this topic,please take a look at our new white paper:When you're Agile, you get Lean.