Lean vs. Agile

Just received a book Lean Software Development: an Agile Toolkit for Software Devleopment Managers. What intrigued me when I ran across this on Amazon was that "lean" and "agile" were in the title, as if to imply the two were one in the same. At least that's how I interpretted it. Not suggesting the author is equating the two (I haven't even read it yet), but it got me thinking.

Lean is all about eliminated non value added steps in processes. Agile is about processes that adapt quickly to change. The two, IMHO, can be applied together, but are not necessarily one in the same. I can have a lean process that responds poorly to change, and I can have a process that supports change but is wasteful.

Not profound, I know, just an observation.

Speaking of agile, I continue to be struck how many teams don't "get" agile that practice it. And the teams that do get it are amazingly productive, and have adapted their process to generate highly predictive delivery schedules, even several planning cycles in advance.

Where do I see teams falling short on agile?

  1. Teams that don't have a clear set of prioritized functionality
  2. Teams that think agile means unpredictability
  3. Teams that think agile means unaccountability
  4. Teams that can't actually support change!

Enough of my soapbox. My job is to figure out a way to help these teams. I usually do so by separating "adaptive to change" from "the agile process of choice." Agile is a measure by which you can judge the effectiveness of the process. If you aren't agile, your process needs tweaking!

1 comment:

SuperJason said...

Thank you. I'm just getting into Lean/Agile, and I wanted to understand how they were related. You made it easy to understand.

--SuperJason (my tech blog)