Beware of when Lean is used as a cover up for old school managment

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From  "Lean IT" –  CIO Sweden, November issue:

"By removing ‘odd’ tasks and standardize work a better workflow is easier to achieve"

Hm. Sound familiar? Isn’t this the good old "function" thinking specialization? Everyone doing there small bit? What tradeoffs do we do, what did we give up?

Answer: Knowledge transfer delay, solutions encouraging local optimization instead of the whole ("why did Jack do this, it is stupid". Well Jack did not see the whole), handover introduction, be a small cog in the machinery..

In Software development we actually have more to learn from New Product Development than Lean production.  That does not render Lean useless, not by far. It is an marvellous tool used wizely. It beats the crap out of waterfall. But be sure to pick techniques that acually helps you, such as:

  • Match work to capacity
  • Optimize the whole
  • See things using customer glasses
  • …and so on..

The article actually proved the same point on a note later on at the end when an R&D department was forced to introduce Lean. The wize R&D manager picked the techniques he found helpful and for a few projects just applied Lean labels go keep management happy.

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