The History of Lean Methodology

Project Management

The History of Lean Methodology

The History of Lean Methodology

There are lots of software development methodologies in the modern world. If you are a programmer, you probably do not wonder about their history. Partially that is because of the fact that you are used to them. Partially – because of your practical approach to these methods. However, the history of software development methodology is a very interesting issue. It is also very important, if you want to understand the principles of your favorite project management methodology better. That can be explained by the fact that all features of certain software development methodologies are determined by their history. The same applies to their main practices. The history is also the only source of software development methodologies experience.

In this article we will tell you about the history of Lean methodology. It is large and diverse, so it will be interesting for you to read about it.

The history of Lean software development methodology began in the middle of the 20th century. At that time a famous Japanese motor corporation Toyota had big problems with product delivery. Its manufacturing chains were too long, so the company could not deliver the necessary amounts of production in time. Toyota needed a new project management system. The managers of the company found the solution for this problem. They invented a new project management system and called it Toyota production system. Its main idea was to improve the terms of product delivery by waste elimination. It is necessary to mention that it was a good idea. It allowed the enterprise to make its manufacturing chains shorter and to deliver final products faster. Toyota production system invented a simple and effective definition of wastes. Any action that didn’t impact the functionality of the final product was considered a waste.

Later the system became popular in other industries of manufacturing. It changed its name to Lean manufacturing. Now it is famous all over the world. Large and small companies from various countries use it to manage their manufacturing process.

In 2003 Lean methodology was applied to software development. At that time Tom and Mary Poppendieck published their famous book “Lean Software Development”. It was a practical guide on the issue of Lean implementation in software engineering. The book remains quite topical nowadays because it describes seven main principles of Lean and tells how to apply them to software development.

Today Lean is considered an Agile methodology. That is because of the fact that its projects have iterative structure, its teams are small and self-managing, and the degree of customer involvement into its projects is large.

Iterative structure of Lean projects is determined by the main principle of this methodology. It allows the developers to eliminate wastes after every iterative cycle. Such structure of projects also helps Lean teams test their production constantly during the period of project realization to detect bugs in it.

The structure of Lean teams is determined by two Lean principles.

The first of them says that all team members must respect each other because they are high qualified specialists.

The second principle is about flexibility in project plans. A regular software development team with strict structure cannot meet all requirements of Lean projects. That is why Lean teams have Agile structure.

High degree of customer involvement into Lean projects is also determined by the need to create supreme software. The best way to meet the customer’s requirements is to involve him into the process of product creation.

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