Lean Manufacturing Tools: How to apply them to the Scrum methodology

Lean tools

Have you ever thought about how much time you waste by not being efficient with your work? Maybe you’re now reflecting on those prolonged unproductive times. 

There are small moments of low productivity that may seem unimportant. If you analyze them individually, they might not seem relevant. However, everything changes when you add up those lost minutes throughout the day. 

The problem is that you don’t know how to improve the organization of your work. The Lean Manufacturing system can help you! 

What are the keys to the Lean Manufacturing philosophy?

Lean Tools

The Lean Manufacturing work methodology is 100% applicable to software development. You could even say that it is an attitude towards life (philosophy). In other words, you must think of productivity differently. Here are some of the keys to work more efficiently: 

  • Eliminate activities that are not valuable. The fundamental principle is effectiveness. You know how to distinguish what makes you waste your time. Sometimes, there are small necessary moments of leisure that serve to relax the mind. However, others only limit productivity. 
  • Seek continuous improvement. Sometimes this will mean investing time and money. If you don’t, you run the risk of stagnating. The Lean philosophy seeks to achieve a perfect product. Therefore, you must improve the end-user experience. 
  • Prioritize, but be flexible. You can achieve this with pull processes. This concept means working on-demand, so you don’t produce something until you don’t need it. Focus on what is relevant, don’t prioritize the accessory. However, sometimes you should consider potential growth (scalability). This POV will prevent you from not being able to cope with unexpected demands. It’s one of the main causes of disorganization at work, so be careful. 
  • Try to do things right the first time. Every development will have its improvements over time. In any case, the first product you deliver should be the best version you think you can get. It’s not enough just to deliver a product. You have to make it as good as possible. Improvements and corrections will come later, but you will be working on something valuable. 

Lean methodologies for your day to day life

Lean manufacturing

Are you interested in this productivity philosophy? If so, here are some useful Lean tools to increase the flow of the software development process: 

  • Kaizen. It is a philosophy that seeks to achieve excellence. It is a term that comes from Japan and can be translated as “continuous improvement.” It consists of implementing a long-term strategy that appeals to productivity within any company, including software. From the Kaizen vision, you must achieve excellence. You can implement continuous corrections so that your product is always the best possible. 
  • 5S system. Also of Japanese origin, it consists of dividing your work into five stages. The S’s come from each stage: Seiri (classification), Seiton (Order), Seiso (Cleaning), Seiketsu (Standardization), and Shitsuke (Discipline). The methodology is simple: first, decide on priorities. Then, order the project to meet the deadlines. Finally, the product must be reviewed, even after launching. 
  • Value Stream Mapping (VSM). This Lean tool is essential. It’s based on creating an illustrative flowchart to see the steps required before delivering a product. This way, you will be able to eliminate those elements that do not add value. This decision will increase development productivity.  

The importance of combining the Scrum method with the Lean Manufacturing Philosophy

You know all about Lean philosophy. Now, you can also combine your work style with the Scrum method. Scrum is a framework for optimizing collaborative work processes when different members of a team have to get the best possible result from development. 

Scrum is designed for complex projects. For example, when you have to create an application in a short time. Requirements can change throughout the development, so ineffective organization in the team can be fatal. 

The Scrum work cycle is simple. The work of this methodology is in short cycles and of fixed duration. In each cycle, which usually lasts about two weeks, your team should have a version of the product. There will be different stages of development so that the customer can see it on demand. Thus, we will always work to improve each previous step. 

Every software developer has worked with the Scrum methodology at one time or another. However, not everyone takes advantage of the Lean philosophy to improve productivity. Scrum provides us with a working circuit divided into stages. Lean allows each of them to be as efficient as possible. 

You should think about personal productivity and teamwork at the same time. All development projects should optimize their cycles with Scrum. Also, if everyone in the group has a Lean philosophy, there will be an excellent end product. So, what are you waiting for to incorporate both processes into your routine?

Time management in software development

Lean manufacturing

Remember: these are not unbreakable rules. Sometimes, a little unproductivity can be beneficial for software development. However, it should never become a problem that affects the entire job.

Now that we know about Lean philosophy and have learned some of the tools that can complement the Scrum method, we invite you to continue reading more programming tips on our blog.