Cloud computing has become a global trend in the IT industry. Many businesses and organizations are moving to the Cloud, however, it depends upon the capacity of the organizations to realize the maximum benefits from the Cloud which include integration of new approaches with new technologies. Therefore, Lean Thinking comes across as a key approach for handling issues and opportunities of the Cloud. Lean thinking is a methodology for product development and production and many success stories have been reported from manufacturing industries.
There is a common thread between Cloud and Lean Thinking. Organizations can benefit from Cloud and adapting Lean Thinking with it adds to the benefits. Lean thinking can provide customers with what they want with less human effort, equipment, time and space.
Lean principles in software development include eliminating waste, improving quality, optimization and fast delivery. When lean principles are applied to software development, it has been found that the software industry is most suited to lean transformation.
The main lean concepts are value and waste. Value is described by the customer, and that which does not create value is called waste. Value is specified from the standpoint of the end customer by the product family.
Then, all the steps are identified in the value stream for each product family and the steps that do not create value are eliminated.
A procedure to keep in mind – Keep only those steps that create value and make them occur in a tight sequence so that the product will flow smoothly towards the customer. Again repeat the process of specifying value, identifying steps and eliminating waste steps and continue this process until a state of perfection is reached in which perfect value is created with no waste.
Wastes in Software Development
Incomplete work, adding additional elements to the application, relearning, hand offs, task exchanging, deferrals and deformities are the wastes in software development. To eliminate these sorts of wastes, one ought to consider lean transformation techniques.
Lean transformation is obtained by change management. In change management, the need for change is identified, followed by an analysis of the current state of the organization and then improvement areas are identified, after which, change is implemented.
Lean and Agile
Lean and agile approach go hand in hand. Many experts believe that agile complements the lean approach. It has been found that the lean principle is used to improve the agile paradigm.
Benefits of Lean
There are also many benefits of the lean approach as compared to traditional approaches. Only those companies, which have a holistic approach and have applied lean thinking to all functions in the enterprise, can succeed in transitioning to lean. After lean transformation, the time taken in programming advancement is enormously reduced and the association with clients increases. The structure of the organization shifts from a vertical to a horizontal focus with increased flexibility which results in increased business opportunities in both existing, as well as new markets.
Investment Cost for Lean
Lean transformation requires education and training of management and workforce. It does not require any capital investment. It requires time which is the real cost of lean conversion.
Ultimately, it is concluded that Cloud technology would be much more beneficial if Lean Thinking is adopted simultaneously. However, one should also keep in mind that the process of Lean conversion requires years to be completed. Lean is not a strategy but is more of a philosophy. It requires a holistic approach and should also encompass all the business processes.