The Holy Java

Building the right thing, building it right, fast

You are not lean unless you have a clear objective and measure

Posted by Jakub Holý on March 19, 2013

A colleague of mine, Bjørn Remseth, had a good observation:

Without a clear objective you cannot be lean.

The lean approach is, essentially, about optimizing a process, a company. If you don’t know what you are optimizing then, by definition, you are not lean.

The thing being optimized in lean is the value produced by the process, whatever that is. We can see that also from the fact that lean is very focused on eliminating waste where waste is defined as activities that do not contribute to the creation of value.

Do you know what value you are trying to maximize? Do you have a single number to measure that value? Do you track the number from week to week?

If not then you perhaps aren’t that lean after all.


From my experienced colleague Kim Ophus Leskovsky:

The hard part of this fact, however, is to find out how to measure and how to make sure the objective is at the right level. That is, not a fluffy objective everyone can agree on, and not too specific and micro-optimized. How does our objective appreciate the system or optimize the whole? How does our objective make sure it gives us a purpose and in the same time is low level enough so that we can free our potential through autonomy and the feeling of mastery? We talk a lot about skilled craftsmen and good development techniques. This issue requires good leadership that knows how to handle the demanding balances that needs to be fine tuned in order to achieve great results through relevant objectives


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