Project Management

Waste From a Lean Product Development Perspective

From the Manifesting Business Agility Blog
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Last blog I posted DOWNTIME, a common way to look at waste in Lean-Thinking. Here it is again:

  • Defects
  • Overproduction
  • Waiting
  • Neglect of Human Talent (Unused talent)
  • Transportation
  • Inventory 
  • Motion
  • Excess Processing (over/extra processing)

With a little reflection, it's clear that the O, T, I and M relate to manufacturing. Attempting to bridge Lean manufacturing to Lean product development is not as effective as looking at what the underlying principles to both are. I've converted this into waste of Lean Product Development. 

  • Eliminate waste. Build quality in. When errors are found, stop the work and immediately get to the root cause of the error. This highlights that quality is important and is often due to the system. Not stopping the work means we're more than likely to keep repeating the error. Eliminating defects in product development means to be clear on what is needed before building it. In software development this means conversations between the product owner, developers and testers that create acceptance tests prior​ to construction. (Defects)
  • Build in small increments to provide value quickly and to turn your attention to the next item that will provide more value. Building incrementally helps avoid building what's not needed. As we deliver value customers become more aware of what they want.  If they don't know what they want until you show them what they don't want, the show them something as soon as possible. Small things get developed faster. In addition, the return on investment of new features tends to level off. Make sure you stop working once the rate of return slows down. (Overproduction)
  • Delays in workflow and feedback.  People tend to be always busy, but if you follow the work you will see that it waits much, even most, of the time. But work doesn't sit idly as it waits. It grows, that is, it takes more work to complete because of the waiting than it would have otherwise. When there are delays in feedback, we continue working thinking we're on the right track when, in fact, we're not.  This causes more work.  (Waiting)
  • Learn as an organization. ​Lessons are often learned in pockets without any transference of knowledge. Effective organizations are learning organizations. (Neglect of Human Talent)
  • Multi-tasking is one of the most insidious causes of wastes. It directly causes delays and lowers the effectiveness of people.It is most often caused by improper allocation of capacity to value streams. Avoid allocating people to more than one value stream whenever possible. (Transportation).
  • Have the minimum amount of work in process (WIP) that you can have while keeping flow going. When work in process goes beyond capacity you are working against all of the afore-mentioned principles. (Inventory)
  • People being in multiple value streams makes then multi-task. In product development, shifting ones attention from one item to another not only makes people ineffective but results in loss of information while adding delays. (Motion)
  • Considering features too early usually results in overthinking. Incrementally designing a product enables you to attend to features that are truly needed. (Excess processing)
Posted on: January 30, 2020 11:02 PM | Permalink

Comments (5)

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Dear Al
Interesting is your perspective on: "An Introduction to Lean Product Development"

Thanks for sharing

Very important the 8 principles underlying lean product development

Thanks. and these are principles. But they have more to do with waste. I reframed this to be "Waste from a Lean Product Development Perspective"

Nothing in the blog changed otherwise. About to write what I'd call the principles of Lean in another blog.

Nice, principle, multitasking is a recurring problem every where.

DOWNTIME, easy to remember and thanks for sharing.

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