Friday, June 1, 2018

The Lean Gelateria | Part 1 | Lean? What is it?

Last night while facebooking I was going through some of the Diwali moments of  my relatives and friends.  Loads of pictures and expressions - with the lamps, rangolis, crackers, colorful dresses, sweets, and so on! Then I remembered my regular 30-minute early morning walks.

I notice something obvious during my morning walks right after festival days. Well, I see some new folks on my way. Probably they start or renew their walking regime right after a festival day. It happens!  For example, Diwali, the festival of lights, offers us a variety of high-calorie sweets that one can’t resist and it seldom lets us succeed in our attempts to remain light. We are heath conscious. Some of us are reactive. And some are diligent.

Aren’t many of us on the same boat? Let me put forward a tingly question in front of you!

“Do't we want to be lean and fit?”

Who would say no?  I believe every one of us wants to be lean!

Welcome you to the lean gelateria!  How about a gelato, instead of the usual ice cream?

Gelato is made from natural ingredients. Gelato contains vitamins, minerals, calcium and protein. So, it is nutritious.   It has lower fat as compared to traditional ice cream.  It is fresh and tasty!  No wonder gelato is liked by everyone from small children to grandparents.

Gelato has started transforming the ice cream culture all over the world including India.  One can spot a gelateria in every shopping mall, multiplexes and prime shopping areas of all major cities in India. Just as bakery is for different types of breads and cakes, gelateria is for several types of gelato, sorbet, etc.   FYI – Sorbet is made of fresh fruit, sugar and water. No milk or cream. I heard that it has 0% fat and of course, it suits those who are lactose intolerant.

I no longer witness the thrill among us on devouring traditional cone ice cream from a roadside shop.   A familiar brand of ice cream after dinner is less than ordinary and one wouldn’t talk about such things with friends and colleagues!

So, this lean gelateria is for all of you!  I am planning to serve you unique flavors every week.
Nowadays everyone is health conscious. People of all ages aspire to be active and fit.

Yes, everyone wants to be agile and lean!  This includes us and our customers. Agile methods and lean practices provide benefits. We know that.

Do we know the difference between agile and lean?

Agile methodology is an umbrella term that refers to a set of methods that are evolutionary, light-weight and empirical in nature.  There are several agile methods such as FDD, XP (Extreme Programming), Scrum, SAFe and DSDM (Dynamic and Systems Development Method) in practice today.  Some of these (for example, FDD and XP) came into light even before agile manifesto and agile principles were scripted and announced to the world.

By 2000, the success of agile methods such as Extreme Programming, and SCRUM inspired the industry.  During February 2001, 17 industry experts convened at ‘The Lodge’ at Snowbird Ski Resort in the Wasatch mountains of Utah and defined ‘Agile Manifesto’ and ‘Agile Principles’.   Gradually, the popularity of Agile grew across the globe.  Agile gurus and practitioners organized several conferences, workshops and events to evangelize and propagate agile methodologies.   Lean Software Development and Kanban spiced up this evolution and got adopted as best practices in Agile Methods.

In summary, any agile method is a way of developing and maintaining software and it adheres to agile manifesto and agile principles. The core of agile is about delivering working software to customers from the early days of projects at short intervals or iterations (of every one to four weeks) in a sustainable pace. Agile teams deliver business value by delivering what matters the most to the customer in short iterations.

Exceedingly often, in IT industry we manage projects that need to be executed in a time-bound manner within budget. In such projects, project sponsors and stakeholders find it valuable to get adequate visibility and predictability at regular intervals or iterations. Also, considering working software the true measure of progress and delivering business value to business users at a consistent pace in terms of high priority feature sets has become quintessential. Iterative and incremental development provides an opportunity to practice continuous improvement through the feedback received iteration-end demos and retrospectives. This leads to the fact that methodologies that ensure adequate visibility and predictability are the most sought-after. Agile methods deliver this promise all the time. 

Lean? What is it?

Lean refers to a manufacturing approach or a set of manufacturing practices developed by Toyota (1950s) and evangelized in the US and other parts of the world in 1990s.

The founders of agile manifesto and agile principles were influenced by lean manufacturing.   Lean manufacturing and agile methods follow a similar philosophy.

Lean is not a methodology.  It is a set of practices.  Some of the practices of lean are very unique and may not be found in typical agile projects.  Hence it is worth exploring this subject area.

You may hear “Lean is about reducing waste!”   Let us not settle down with this definition.

I will meet you here next week, with the special flavor of our gelateria!

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