Lean-Agile Mindset: An Ultimate Guide for 2022

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Software development is an ever-evolving industry. The only way you can survive the competition is by quickly adapting to the changing market and evolving customer needs. Organizations have understood this. Therefore, they’re coming up with new approaches to software development.

Lean-agile mindset is one such new approach in software development. It aims to combine two popular approaches called lean and agile to make the most out of both worlds. This lean-agile mindset is the new norm these days.

However, to understand the lean-agile mindset, it’s important to understand the characteristics of both lean and agile approaches. In this blog, we will do exactly the same. Let’s begin:

Understanding the Agile Mindset & Lean Thinking

The Agile Mindset

Agile is a software development philosophy that focuses on building better products. The idea is to develop software incrementally and iteratively in time-boxed sprint cycles so that we can discover, develop, and test an optimal solution.

Following are the characteristics of the Agile Mindset:

  • Customer satisfaction is the end goal.
  • See changes as an opportunity for competitive advantage.
  • Deliver software frequently in short time-boxed sprints.
  • All stakeholders must work together throughout the project.
  • Foster an environment of communication and collaboration.
  • Convey the information face-to-face instead of engaging in lengthy documentation.
  • Working software is the primary milestone for progress.
  • All stakeholders must maintain a constant pace throughout the project.
  • Promote an environment of self-reliance across the team.
  • Reflect on work done to open new doors for improvement.

Lean Thinking

The lean software development approach focuses on continuous improvement by eliminating wastes and optimizing software delivery. Providing better value by continually improving products and services is the end goal.

Here are a few characteristics of lean thinking:

  • Eliminate wastes like incomplete work, unnecessary code, task delays, defects, etc.
  • Amplify team learning through code review, testing, and knowledge resource sharing.
  • Avoid over-planning as testing and experimentation continuously evolve throughout development.
  • Ensure fast delivery through short iteration, constant communication, and test-driven development.
  • Empower your team through open communication and efficient leadership.
  • Optimizing the entire development process.

Agile vs. Lean: What’s the Difference?

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  • Agile focuses on developing better products in small, frequent iterations.
  • Lean focuses on improving product and service processes to offer value to customers.
  • Agile focuses on building small sprints to gather feedback, learn, and improve.
  • Lean focuses on delivering software fast through speed and iteration.
  • In Agile, we deliver value by offering the desired product to customers by incorporating their feedback throughout the process.
  • In Lean, we deliver value by quickly delivering a product without any waste.
  • Agile has specific roles within the team, structured meetings, and structured review processes.
  • Lean relies on teamwork, and doesn’t have specific roles.
  • In agile, we build a product in small incremental, iterative cycles called Sprints. Each sprint repeats till we achieve the end goal.
  • In Lean, we introduce small incremental changes in the process by increasing efficiency in small development cycles.
  • In agile, we break a project into small sprints. Each sprint lasts 2 weeks.
  • There is no fixed timeline in the lean approach. Although, it’s encouraged to shorten the timeline by optimizing process flow.

Lean Agile Mindset: Bringing the Best of Both Lean & Agile

Although lean and agile have their own differences, it is possible to combine them for maximum benefit. By thinking lean and embracing agility, we can significantly enhance the software development process.

Adopting the lean-agile mindset can also help your teams to become self-reliant and work together to solve problems.

Besides both lean and agile bear many similarities, such as:

  • Both approaches are flexible and open to change.
  • Agile and lean are dedicated to optimize the software development process.
  • Both approaches believe in empowering teams and making them independent.
  • Continuous learning & collaboration is at the heart of both lean and agile.
  • The end goal of both lean and agile is to create and optimize customer value.
  • Both approaches favor speed and optimize the time-to-market.

Hence, they can seamlessly work together.

How to Embrace the Lean-agile Mindset?

Embracing the lean-agile mindset requires practice. Although, here are a few factors that you can keep in mind:

  • Build an environment of mutual respect and make sure there are no possible delays.
  • Create a clear purpose in the beginning of your project, and make sure your entire team works towards it.
  • Limit the work to be done by eliminating tasks that have no value.
  • Make sure there is transparency on what needs to be done, what each team member is working on, and which tasks they completed.
  • Always create a space for innovation as it will foster creativity and drive impressive results.
  • Your attitude counts a lot. You can change the entire game if you see challenges as opportunities to excel.
  • Keep improving the process from time to time. It will help you become more productive.

Conclusion

So, you learned how lean and agile approaches are similar in some ways while different in others. If you play your cards right and know what aspects of each approach works best for you, you can combine lean and agile to deliver right software products quickly and efficiently.

That’s what top organizations are doing by adopting the lean-agile mindset. They carefully analyze both agile and lean principles and see what aligns best with their test, goals, and project requirements. You must follow the same approach. This way, you can see better results with your software development efforts.

If you need any guidance, please feel free to share in the comments. I would be happy to help.


Author Bio – Paige Griffin is a seasoned Content Writer at Net Solutions, Los Angeles for 7 years with an expertise in blogging, writing creative and technical copy for direct response markets and promotional advertising for B2B and B2C industries. Born and brought up in New York, Paige holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. She has worked for industries like IT, Product engineering, Lifestyle, among others and written some great insights on technologies like python web development, php web development, iOS App development and so on. Besides her technical background, she is a poet by heart, who loves to connect with people through a dose of creativity and imagination.

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