I’ve read many sources – via books, articles, blogs and Twitter – on what the essence of Lean & Lean Thinking is.

I’m interested though in what you think.

How would you succinctly complete either of the following phrases:

  1. “Lean Thinking is..?”
  2. “Lean Thinking means..?”

in such a way that you could use it as a simple (simplistic?) way of assessing whether something truly has the spirit of Lean in it, and isn’t falling into Lameness.

Try to use positive phrasing wherever possible — I find knocking the competition very unproductive (it’s one of the things that annoys me most about immature Agilistas) – to say what Lean is rather than what it isn’t.

I would also value suggestions that help demarcate the Lean/Agile border, accepting that it may be somewhat fuzzy.

Here’s a couple to get you started

  1. Lean Thinking is making errors unavoidably visible
  2. Lean Thinking is fundamentally empirical
  3. Lean Thinking means seeing things from the customer’s point of view, every time.

Feel free to dispute any or all of these!

Suggestions via the comments below (which can cross-post to Twitter), or direct to @martinburnsuk.

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Martin Burns

EMEA Director, Digital Advisory & Consulting Services at HCL Enterprise Studio
Previously: Leader of software delivery portfolios in large scale orgs.
Specialism: Transforming complex delivery organisations to be more Lean/Agile.
Mindset: Continuous Improvement Obsessive
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CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Lean Thinking Is..? by Martin Burns is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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