Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Lean Gelateria | Part 5 | Resolutions and Principles

New Year and Resolutions
Welcoming a new year with grand celebrations and a list of resolutions is not uncommon.  Many of us go to places, rock with loud music, scream to welcome the first of January, travel around the city and go home at wee hours.  Some of us do it differently – we stay home with families and welcome the new year. Some of us decide on a set of resolutions and strive to stay focused. Some of us choose not to have any resolutions. All of us are not the same. That’s how we are.

Sometimes, some of us who focus on resolutions don’t succeed. When it happens, we make sure that our resolutions get carried forward to the next year.

Sometime in 2012, Time magazine listed the top 10 most commonly broken New Year resolutions. One of those resolutions is ‘Eat Healthier and Diet’.  A familiar one.  In this busy and modernized world, it is very challenging to eat healthier and diet. Isn't it?

What can we do?  Eat whole fruits.  Stay away from ice-cream and have some gelato – I mean authentic gelato. Next time, when you get a chance, try strawberry gelato.

Keeping your resolutions alive
How can you keep your resolutions alive? How can you make sure that you stick to your list of resolutions?  When your resolutions are based on strong principles, it is highly probable that your resolutions stay in your mind all the time.   You keep remembering them.  However, you may get distracted due to something or the other, deviate, violate and break some of your resolutions.  How do you avoid such deviations or violations?  If you believe in what you want to do, have a strong purpose that supports your resolution, and ensure focus, you will see encouraging results.

Is learning in your list?
Did you plan to learn something new in 2018?  Is that one of your resolutions?  How do you make room for learning?  Have you already started?  Are you trying alternate approaches?  Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Learning about Lean Thinking, Agile and Lean Software Development is going to help you perform your day-to-day activities optimally. That could lead to optimizing your efforts and learning further. Learning something new is a wonderful experience.

Principles that keep us lean
Agile and Lean are based on value-driven philosophy.  When you analyze the way you do things (also known as process) with Lean Thinking, you put them under three categories - 1) processes that add value to customer, 2) processes that add value to business and 3) processes that do not add any value.   This is because Lean is based on the following seven principles.

  1. Eliminate waste -   Eliminate waste by avoiding or removing activities that do not add value to business, or contribute to customer value add or improve product quality.
  2. Amplify learning – Learn as a group. Share knowledge among team members. Ensure knowledge retention and reuse.
  3. Delay commitment - Avoid premature decisions and commitments.   Encourage decision making when there are adequate facts and fewer assumptions.
  4. Delivery quickly – Delivery early and frequently so that you get feedback to incorporate in the next cycle or iteration.
  5. Empower the team - Respect people. Encourage team members to solve problems and identify best solutions.   Provide suggestions and motivate the teams.
  6. Build quality in - Build integrity and quality into the product from initial stages.  Do not attempt to initiate steps to build quality into product when the product is ready for integration testing.
  7. Optimize the whole – Optimizing only one or two parts of the system does not improve the system.  Any improvement initiative needs to consider the entire system as a whole. 
Let me ask you
Can you give examples of wastes in software projects?  How can we categorize waste in software engineering?

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