The Changing Face of IT Outsourcing
Often, changes in the IT industry don’t come alone; they come with a new word. And, in some cases, industry keeps struggling for a long to fix a specific spelling for the buzzword. Consider the case of e-commerce. Or maybe ecommerce or Ecommerce.
At this time, the word is “Lean.” No, not the spelling issue, but it is the current change sweeping the Information Technology industry. However, it doesn’t mean that it has left its predecessor “Agile” behind; it is only recently that it has become a widely accepted methodology in the IT industry.
How Lean is different from Agile:
Agile was developed in response to the frustration of complexities caused by doing “what exactly is needed to be done,” and Lean merged into the existing system to improve it. Lean methodology is fit for the software development industry because it helps a company “respond very rapidly and in a highly disciplined manner to market demand” (Mary Poppendieck).
The term Agile was first coined in 2001, in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development (Agile Manifesto). In comparison to Agile, the process of Lean was introduced much earlier, first in the early 1990s in the book The Machine That Changed The World and then further developed in 1996, in the book Lean Thinking.
We still refer to Agile as a predecessor because Lean was introduced in the manufacturing sector and was adapted from the Toyota Production System. Agile first originated in the book written by Mary Poppendieck and Tom Poppendieck.
When Lean came into the software industry, Agile was already there. However, it didn’t interfere with the existing system; but rather enhanced Agile to improve it.
A Comparison of Lean and Agile Principles
|Eliminate waste||High level of Customer satisfaction.|
|Amplify learning||Quickly change the requirements, even in the late development stage|
|Decide as late as possible||Working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months)|
|Deliver as fast as possible||Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers|
|Empower the team||Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted|
|Build integrity in||Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location)|
|See the whole:||Working software is the principal measure of progress|
|Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace|
|Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design|
|Simplicity—the art of maximizing the amount of work not done—is essential|
|Best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams|
|Regularly, the team reflects on how to become more effective, and adjusts accordingly|
Implementation of Lean Agile at Technology Ally:
But why are some methodologies becoming popular so quickly? The answer is not specific or research-based, but in my opinion, might be because they are the optimal solution to solve issues in the present situation. In Technology, some companies choose to go Lean because it suits their mindset, exhibiting sound control on the processes, as well as reducing the waste of resources.
A few good examples of successful Lean methodology are Dropbox, IMVU, and Wealthfront. Lean works because it gives the organization the ability to quickly align with the customer requirement.
In Information Technology outsourcing, it is never about Lean vs. Agile, but about Lean Agile. At Technology Ally, we follow a Lean Agile principle, wherein Agile methodologies are adopted in the development process, but in conjunction with the primary tenets of Lean principles.
For example, we strive to achieve customer satisfaction in everything we do while eliminating waste. We have highly motivated individuals to deliver the best product in the shortest possible time, but we use facts rather than working on the basis of assumptions and predictions. The result is we deliver on-time, without making costly decisions that could have been prevented.
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