Lean thinking affects all facets of an organization. Every person, activity, product, service, process, system, and method represents an opportunity for continuous improvement.
If the devil is in the details, then lean thinking extends to understanding and improving the “little things” we do every day, not just as teams, but as individuals too. Lean thinking embraced at a personal level can collectively bring significant change to the company as a whole.
Lean companies are not immune to complacency. If it is indeed a journey, the pursuit of perfection through the elimination of waste never ends. Unfortunately, significant improvement opportunities also fall victim to Pareto’s law.
Lean initiatives identify and address high dollar opportunities at the onset. As time passes, the motivation and interest to pursue the minor and few remaining opportunities dwindle.
Lean thinking at the micro-level gives us cause to become aware of, and to review, the activities and habitual routines we perform every day. Many small steps can make for a much-improved workplace.
The “little things” from a company perspective may represent “big things” from an individual perspective. We can make the company a better place when we make improvements to our workspace.
Micro-lean for 2020 may be the next best thing. As has been said many times before, “There’s always a better way and more than one solution.”
Until Next Time – Stay Lean!
I enjoy coding and learned many programming languages over the years. As diverse as these languages are, there is one trait that is consistent among them all: every instruction matters.
The principles of Lean, defined as “the pursuit of perfection to achieve excellence through the continual elimination of waste,” can also be applied to programming. The seven forms of waste are:
- Defects: Bugs in our Code. Avoid using clever tricks or complicated code where a simple statement or expression is just as effective.
- Overproduction: Features or functions that are not required,
- Waiting: Synchronous versus asynchronous processes, load times, code sequencing, multi-core threading, distributed networking,
- Inventory: Redundant Code,
- Motion: Inefficient algorithms, poorly designed UI,
- Over-processing: Unnecessary functions or capabilities. Deliver the solution requested per the scope of the application, no more, no less.
- Transport: Movement of resources or data. Consider in memory processes versus disk intensive transactions, or client side versus server side data processing.
There is a notable difference between “sloppy programming” and clean code written by someone who knows better. Have you ever spent hours attempting to decipher someone’s code, or even your own? A clean, readable, and well documented file is much easier to work with and, more importantly, understandable.
5S Your Code
We can minimize some forms of waste by using a method known as 5S. IDE’s such as those offered by JetBrains, allow us to create a workspace for a given application, but we can extend this concept to each file or script too.
- Sort (Seiri): Eliminate all unnecessary tools, functions, comments, and resources. Choose meaningful file and variable names to minimize tedious and redundant comments in your Code.
- Set in Order (Seiton): Use an effective directory management strategy to organize all your files for quick and easy reference. Deploy an effective “Model, View, Controller” strategy when developing your applications. Restrict your functions to a single purpose to better enable re-usability.
- Shine (Seiso): Set and follow standardized coding guidelines and naming conventions. Deploy rigorous version control standards.
- Standardize (Seiketsu): Publish coding guidelines and maintain your Code accordingly.
- Sustain (Shitsuke): Cascade requirements and communicate expectations throughout the organization. Continually review and update the guidelines accordingly.
5S is one of the fundamental elements of Kaizen and, when practiced regularly, helps to minimize the seven wastes, allowing you to work effectively and efficiently.
Until Next Time – STAY lean!
Related Articles and Resources
What is 5S? – kanbanize.com