In the past few years, we’ve seen the emergence of serious initiatives in understanding and exploiting the connection between Lean Thinking and Agile methods. Here are some of the interesting efforts (of which I’m aware):
1. Experts like Mary and Tom Poppendieck and Bob Charette have been preaching the value of Lean Software development for many years.
2. Leaders like Bud Phillips at Capital One have established a rigorous project delivery discipline using Lean Thinking to reduce process waste and Agile methods to accelerate project delivery.
3. Corey Ladas and David Anderson have developed a discipline they call Lean Software Engineering that they use to deliver production releases at Corbis every 12 days.
4. My own work in the area of the Lean-Agile PMO and the Agile PMO work of Ash Tengshe and Scott Noble at Capital One Auto Finance.
5. There’s now even a Lean-Agile-Scrum user group, hosted by Alan Shalloway of NetObjectives.
So, what’s all the (growing) excitement about? My experience has been that Agile methods can be scaled up to the enterprise with hundreds of projects using Lean techniques. Also, within projects and processes, Lean Thinking can help identify and reduce waste. Finally, Lean Thinking can serve as a management philosophy – one that perfectly aligns with the Agile ethos of customer value, self-disciplined teams, small batch delivery and continuous improvement.
Some time ago, Arlen Bankston and I created the adjacent chart for our training classes.
I’m happy to share it with you now to help illuminate what we see as the connections between Lean and Agile.