Thinking Lean to Combat Change

I have been working in software development for ten years and the one constant throughout my whole career is change. Change in technology, change in working practices and changing business requirements. During this period I have constantly battled against the best way to deal with change so it has the least impact on the day to day activities of myself and my team and to ensure that our output is an actual business requirement.

The main way that we have achieved this is by becoming Lean which is based on a method of manufacturing invented by Toyota in the 1990’s. We have shortened our iterations to less than two weeks and limited the number of things that can be worked on at any time. This means that we can get feedback from our customers as early as possible and build what they want and not what we think they want.

Eric Ries has taken this methodology and applied it to starting a business, whether that business is new or part of a larger organisation. This approach which is customer centric focuses on building what the customer wants in as short a time as possible and then releasing it to learn from how customers actually use it.

It is a big change from the build it and they will come large product based development approach and takes a while to get right. However if each time you release something it is to test a theory and you get feedback that you can use to shape your future strategy and vision. It requires a direction but not a detailed project plan but multiple iterations or ability to change tact should reality not meet your expectations.

Music to Write this Code to

The Two Bears are absolutely smashing it at the moment. Not surprising when you know their musical heritage. This is one of their many top tunes.

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