Tuesday, December 19, 2017

All Eight Agile Wastes of Hanukah

In this series I cover one "Agile waste" for each night of Hanukah.

Kind of like the purported Hanukah miracle, in which one night's worth of oil lasted for eight nights I've made a single idea stretch across eight (now nine) blog posts!

To recap:
  1. Low value features (introduction to Hanukah)
  2. Handovers (lighting candles)
  3. Defects (dreidel)
  4. Technical Debt (Hanukah songs)
  5. Work in Progress (Latkes)
  6. Task-switching (Sufganiyot)
  7. Delays (Neyyappam)
  8. Human Potential (Gelt)
How about a ninth waste? Norman Bodek has suggested "Managers' resistance to change" as a separate category, but I think I'll save that one for another time!

About the wastes

"All we are doing is looking at the time line, from the moment the customer gives us an order to the point when we collect the cash. And we are reducing the time line by reducing the non-value adding wastes." Taiichi Ohno

Lean Manufacturing recognises eight wastes and its worth reading about these in the original manufacturing context. They can be summarised in the DOWNTIME acronym:
  • Defects
  • Overproduction
  • Waiting
  • Non-utilized/underutilized talent
  • Transportation
  • Inventory 
  • Motion 
  • Excess Processing
Mary and Tom Poppendieck translated the wastes from manufacturing to software development (slides). As with Agile software development, it turns out that most of these also make sense for any form of knowledge work. I've used their list as the basis for this series, and added in "the eighth waste" of non-utilized talent (human potential) to round out the set to Hanukah size.

I trust you have enjoyed the series, and encourage you to visualise your value streams from concept to cash, and start (or continue) eliminating waste!

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