Lean, like Agile, is an increasingly nebulous term. At its core, Lean centers on paying attention and continuously improving our processes and our products. Tools like Kanban, Personal Kanban, A3s, Validation Canvases and the like are spreading Lean thinking — but the focus is more and more on tools, not on continuous improvement.
The more we learn about how software is created and the modern product lifecycle, the less certain the processes are becoming. Change happens quickly, and business needs to respond quickly. We want to increase predictability, but the best we can hope for is to simply understand what is predictable and build systems to suit.
Since we are dealing with evolving products in evolving markets, the practical approach would be to build systems that aggressively learn and improve. This is Lean, this is Agile, but it is also something more. We are not merely interested in manufacturing software or any other product. We are interested in building the right thing in the right way and at the right time. We want our product to get to market when it will make the most money and delight the most customers.
An upcoming issue of Cutter IT Journal — with Guest Editor Jim Benson — is seeking case studies, implementation guides, and/or theory dealing directly with how lean or other techniques will help reach the goal of continuous improvement.
Topics of discussion may include (but are not limited to the following):
- How can various Lean tools such as A3s, Kanban, Root Cause Analyses, Fishbone Diagrams, Kaizen Events, etc. be used to create immediate and lasting change?
- How can we build systems that solve problems?
- How can we create management systems that self-report when they break down?
- How do we learn from the market that a product could be improved and act on it?
- Is it feasible to intentionally change internal culture for effect?
- How do we change the structure of workflow to improve learning and release (e.g. DevOps, work cells, temporary cross functional teams)?
- Are there any case studies that demonstrate successful approaches to continuous improvement?
ARTICLE IDEA DEADLINE: APRIL 17, 2015
Please respond to jim[at]moduscooperandi[dot]com, with a copy to cgenerali[at]cutter[dot]com no later than April 17, 2015 and include an extended abstract and a short article outline showing major discussion points.
ACCEPTED ARTICLES DUE: MAY 22, 2015
Most Cutter IT Journal articles are approximately 2,500-3,000 words long, plus whatever graphics are appropriate. If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact CITJ's Group Publisher, Christine Generali at cgenerali[at]cutter[dot]com. Editorial guidelines are available online.