Book Notes #45: This Is Lean by Niklas Modig and Pär Åhlström

In order to start a Lean culture, you must understand the principles and values, and this book gives you a great introduction.

Title: This is Lean – The Solution to the Efficiency Paradox
Author: Niklas Modig and Pär Åhlström
Year: 2012
Pages: 168

This Is Lean delves into the principles of Lean management and how they can be applied to achieve maximum efficiency and success in any industry. 

From start-ups to established corporations, This is Lean offers a fresh perspective on how to streamline processes and achieve sustainable growth. 

While lean management is the most widely used management philosophy in our time, it has yet to be properly defined and is widely misunderstood.

As a result, I gave this book a rating of 8.5/10.

For me, a book with a note 10 is one I consider reading again every year. Among the books I rank with 10, for example, is Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Overview of This Is Lean

This Is Lean provides individuals, as well as internal organizations, with an understanding of what they read by using clear, concise language and insightful examples, introduces the paradoxical concept of efficiency, and argues that organizations lack an understanding of what efficiency means. 

It is common for organizations to focus too much on not using resources efficiently – in the traditional and more common sense of efficiency. This leads to an increase in work that does not add value to the organization. 

The result of the organizations is that we try to be efficient (to be busy) and they become less effective.

The book “This is Lean” explains the key concepts of Lean management, a method for improving efficiency and reducing waste in business operations.

Some of the key concepts covered in This Is Lean include:

The Lean philosophy is centred around the idea of creating more value for customers with less work.

The concept of flow, emphasizes the importance of creating a smooth and uninterrupted flow of work in order to reduce waste and increase efficiency.

The concept of pull is about producing only what is needed when it is needed, rather than producing in advance.

The concept of perfection is about continuously improving processes and systems in order to achieve the highest possible level of efficiency.

The concept of respect is about treating all stakeholders (employees, suppliers, customers) with respect, as they are all essential to the success of the business.

The concept of leadership is about creating a culture of continuous improvement and empowering employees to identify and solve problems.

The concept of visual management is about using visual cues to make information easy to understand, such as using Kanban boards, to help teams understand the flow of work.

The concept of experimentation is about using scientific methods like A/B testing, to test hypotheses and improve processes.

There is a great deal of emphasis in the book on the efficiency paradox – what organizations perceive as being efficient and whether it is actually true.

Depending on how many variations you’re dealing with, resource efficiency can lead to even more work.

Because of the additional work, the more you strive for resource efficiency, the more inefficient you can become.

My Book Highlights & Quotes

“… People subconsciously retard their own intellectual growth. They come to rely on cliches and habits. Once they reach the age of their own personal comfort with the world, they stop learning and their mind runs idle for the rest of their days. They may progress organizationally, they may be ambitious and eager, and they may even work night and day. But they learn no more…”

“… One of the Scrum rules is that work cannot be pushed onto a team; the Product Owner offers items for the iteration, and the team pulls as many as they decide they can do at a sustainable pace with good quality…”

In conclusion, Practices for Scaling Lean and Agile is a must-read for anyone looking to apply Lean and Agile methodologies to large, complex software development projects.

The author, Craig Larman, provides a comprehensive overview of the key practices and strategies needed to successfully scale Lean and Agile, as well as real-world examples and case studies that make it easy to understand and apply the concepts to your own team.

By understanding the challenges and pitfalls of scaling and how to overcome them, teams can successfully implement Lean and Agile to achieve the best results. It’s a valuable resource for anyone looking to take their Agile journey to the next level and scale it to larger projects.

I am incredibly grateful that you have taken the time to read this post.

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