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