Spotting the Difference Between Lean Manufacturing vs. Agile Development

By Terence in Project management
lean manufacturing vs agile software development

Startup Founders + Tech and Product Professionals

If you’re searching for words like agile or lean, you might be trying to build a better startup. Whether its to get new information, skills, or tactics – you’re probably interested in helping take your startup from Point A to Point B.

What’s the Difference Between Lean vs. Agile?

Cliffex wants to teach you the difference between lean and agile. Commonly confused for one another – these two separate “buzz words” are often misunderstood.

Lean Manufacturing Quick Facts:

  • Definition: systematic method for waste minimization (“Muda”) within a manufacturing system without sacrificing productivity.
  • The Lean Startup is a startup school + philosophy taught by startup guru and entrepreneur Eri Ries.
  • Ries teaches startups the importance of developing lean – not taking on too many expenses and getting products out to market with the release of a Minimum Viable Product.
  • He also teaches about not being cumbered with creating full scale business plans and instead focusing on developing business model canvas.

Agile Software Development Quick Facts:

  • Definition: Advocates adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continual improvement, and it encourages rapid and flexible response to change
  • Iterative and incremental development methods can be traced back as early as 1957, with evolutionary project management and adaptive software development emerging in the early 1970s.
  • Agile Manifesto: Individuals and Interactions over processes and tools. Working Software over comprehensive documentation. Customer Collaboration over contract negotiation. Responding to Change over following a plan.

These two definitions have been important for the development of software based startups like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.

So while they’re Agile and Lean aren’t necessarily the same things, they do have the important ability of impacting a startups success or failure.

Cliffex is committed to waste minimization, which is why we develop applications, systems, and manage your projects with lean philosophies and agile development in mind.

Waste minimization is something your startup should be concerned about too – too often, startups don’t have a substantial enough sales strategy and ultimately end up failing.

If you’re startup is burning through resources, it becomes quite difficult to enter the market. Agile software development is mostly important for organizations building and releasing software products.

If you’ve updated your favorite app recently, you’ll get an excellent example of how agile software development works. Companies release iterative versions of their software, making major and minor changes over time.

The purpose of this strategy is to get to market quickly, scale users, and make changes based on their feedback, habits, and data. When combined, Lean and agile development can be two important factors to scaling your startup or organization.

Lean and Agile To Build Better Apps and Web Experiences

Lean and agile intersect at the point of optimizing your startup and its processes.

Your technology team can learn about agile software development at places like General Assembly, IBM or others.

Lean, meanwhile, can be an opportunity to understand areas where your startup might be spending too much money or resources.

Effectively balance your development sprints to incorporate both processes and your on your way to projects delivered on time and on budget. Check out some of the areas where Cliffex used Agile software development:

  • Custom Restaurant Website
  • Touch Talent
  • Wendy’s

Here are some areas where your startup can insert lean principles:

  • Outsourcing software development
  • Project management methodologies

The goal in learning to spot the difference between lean and agile is the ability for your organization to scale without being married to systems or processes.

What The Experts Want You to Know

Check out what some of your favorite industry professionals have to say about the matter below:

Jeff Gothelf – Principal, Neo

“At the end of the day, your customers don’t care whether you practice Agile, Lean, or Design Thinking. They care about great products and services that solve meaningful problems for them in effective ways. The more you can focus your teams on satisfying customer needs, collaborating to create compelling experiences, and incentivizing them to continuously improve, it won’t matter which methodology they employ. Their process will simply be better.”

Jim Highsmith – Software Engineer, Author

“A traditional project manager focuses on following the plan with minimal changes, whereas an agile leader focuses on adapting successfully to inevitable changes.”

Taiichi Ohno – Industrial Engineer, Toyota

“Why not make the work easier and more interesting so that people do not have to sweat? The Toyota style is not to create results by working hard. It is a system that says there is no limit to people’s creativity. People don’t go to Toyota to ‘work’ they go there to ‘think’”

If you’re interested in learning some of the different ways the Cliffex team can help match lean manufacturing thinking into our agile development processes to create the digital products and services you crave.

Resources:

  • Written by Terence Latimer

    Terence Latimer is a digital marketer and entrepreneur based in Los Angeles. He’s the founder of 360° platform Food Tribe, a startup that works with restaurants and food brands to develop better relationships with foodies.

    Terence has 10+ years working with startups on everything from sales development, digital marketing campaigns, to launching new products.

    Follow Terence @ kingterentius

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