Lean Vs. Agile

There’s so much about the two that compliment each other… so what are they?

Lean and Agile are often used synonymously, though incorrectly. They are both used to drive continuous improvements, and provide means of making easy and quick adjustments when something doesn’t quite work.

What is Lean?
– Lean is intended to maximize value with minimal rework. The premise of lean is to provide continuous improvement and manages that through small iterations of Plan-Do-Check-Act or Build-Measure-Learn. The perpetual evaluation allows for adjustments each time, providing improvements at every step of a project.

Workflow is key in successful lean – eliminate the waste, minimize the rework, streamline the workflow! When planning lean, you want to plan for efficiencies from step to step, with any materials arriving in time for their stage, and the next step prepared for handoff from the last. Wether from machine to machine, company to company, person to person or company to client, the time savings are cost savings.

What is Agile?
– Agile takes instability and uncertainty, turning it into small incremental successes. When there’s uncertainty, agile breaks it down into small sprints. Each sprint is defined, and when the sprint is done, you define the next one, looking at the information you now have, that maybe you didn’t have before.

Just like agility when riding a bike through the woods, agility in life is a great mindset to have. Looking at your goal for yourself 5 months or 5 years out, you may not know what it will look like week to week, but you can plan for the next ‘sprint’ and then decide where to go from there.

How are they the same? They both strive for CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT and are both easily adjusted as changes are needed. We’re going to keep digging into Lean for our Lean Mean Machine May. We’ll plan lean, but some of our key elements will pull from agile methodologies.