A big part of the waste we have in our development processes is there simply because we are not aware of it and the thinking that creates it. We lack transparency and a thinking of the whole flow from requirements to production.
Some common causes of this are:
- We do not measure lead-times, queue-sizes and bottlenecks
- We don’t have tools and methods which supports that we as people gather and create awareness of the whole
- We organize, use steering models and architecture and employ a management philosophy which optimizes on so called resource efficiency. Unfortunately focusing on resource efficiency often leads to that we do not focus on delivering value to the customers. We tend to forget that we also need to optimize on lead-time and so called flow efficiency. We also tend to not see the waste we create by optimizing on resource usage.
Depending on how you steer the organization and what basic assumptions you use the balance between resource efficiency and flow efficiency can end up in any of the four quadrants described in the following picture.
Note: this picture is based on the model from the popular book This is Lean.
Unfortunately we have seen that many organizations that have been using a traditional development methodology (resource efficiency) have over time slipped further and further down into Dead End. For the organization this usually means near deadlock in information flows, zero productivity and people burnout.
On the other hand, successful organizations we are working with have managed to create a synergy between delivering quickly to the customer and using the resources efficiently.
- We deliver software and configuration of test and production environments manually
- We deliver to a production-like environment only after development is done
- We have long lead-times from requirements to production
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