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lean thinking

During trainings and workshops, I often tell about the Zappos example to explain the concepts of hypotheses and cheap validation. How many pairs of shoes did Zappos have in stock when they first launched their web site? Zero.

One time, after the Zappos example, I got an interesting question, showing how hard it is to grasp the essence of hypothesis discovery and validation.

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Agile and lean thinking are starting to produce good results, not only in the world of start-ups, but also in IT environments in established organisations. But more value can be created, and more waste eliminated, by bringing lean principles to the business and to the business analysis profession. There are lots of great resources available online. In this post, I gathered some material that inspired me.

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When you are working in a start-up with a small number of people, you can take decisions quickly, independent of existing products or services, strategies, organisational structures and so on. That’s one of the advantages of being “two kids in a garage”.┬áIn theory, you could simulate such an environment in an established organisation. In reality, it proofs difficult to keep corporate interference out of the way.

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While spending some time in Rio for facilitating a business case training, I got to see quite a lot of surfers (mostly before work hours, mind you). At the same time, I came across a video about the Samsung Galaxy Surfboard. The video shows a surfboard with a LED display, enabling the surfer to check weather and water conditions, like the frequency of waves, and to receive text messages. It’s a nice example of how technology can be integrated in just about any aspect of our life.

This demonstrates how digital transformation is blending online and offline worlds, or analog and digital worlds, into a single human experience. It shows how technology has become a powerful enabler for improving our lives. But technology still is just that: an enabler.

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Business stakeholders want projects to deliver fast. They often come to the project team with a clear view of the solution, expecting a quick start and not leaving much room or time for challenging and proposing alternatives. However, this mind set carries with it an important risk: blindly building the proposed solution does not guarantee business value.

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