Browse by year:
The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

June - 2009 - issue > Management

Agile & Lean in a World in Recession

Eddy Pauwels
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Eddy Pauwels
The world economy has been captured by a recession and probably, as many claim, the biggest one since World War II. This has had, and will continue to have for a period of time to come, a significant impact on organizations in their ability to do business as well as the way business is done. Companies are facing declining revenues and increasing and fixed costs. This has resulted so far in thousands of people becoming unemployed. Ways for significant cost reduction need to be established. But not only the workforce needs to be slimmed down; operational processes need to be tailored and optimized as well to support this reduced capacity within the current economical situation.

Traditional, waterfall based processes do not have a track record of being cost accurate (leave alone being cost effective), nor do they have a good reputation for delivering high value for money. Despite the fact that waterfall thinking is ingrained everywhere in our thought processes, the above pain points have resulted in more and more organizations searching for and adopting new styles to improve cost accuracy and their net business value. This is one of the reasons why ‘lean’ and ‘agile’ have seen rapid growth since the previous recession at the start of this century, and why there is so much interest in these concepts in the current recession (12K hits in a Google search using the words ‘agile’ and ‘recession’ in the past one month).

Making it all ‘Lean’ Again
Lean software on one hand recognizes the fact that many software packages have been extending functionality over time to remain competitive and attractive, and also that many of these additional features often had no immediate compelling incremental value to the intended end users. This has resulted over time in feature rich but often overly complex solutions, with a big percentage of functions never used in practice (excluding during vendor demonstrations). Complexity and expertise go hand in hand, so with complex solutions you get (expensive) technology experts. You see these, for example, with most of the ERP or BPM vendors today, positioned to ‘complement’ their offering and ‘maximize’ time-to-market. With the ‘Lean’ trend some vendors are providing simplified versions of similar offerings, but concentrating on ease-of-use (so that, for example, technical business people can do the work, saving a lot of money avoiding continuous expert consultancy) and maximized value. A good example might be the new wave around Lean BPM solutions. These solutions are designed to automate and audit business processes while keeping design, implementation, control, and maintenance simple in comparison to traditional BPM offerings.

Maximize Value with Minimized Effort using Agile
On the other hand, you have the ‘agile’ wave taking an alternative route to produce results. As explained by the agile manifesto now already around eight years ago (http://agilemanifesto.org/), 17 pioneers of agile found alternative and better ways of developing software and bundling their thoughts and experiences they came to value:

Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Share on facebook