Improvement methodologies have been used in the software world for a very long time, with approaches like Agile and Lean digital methodology playing a key role in speeding up the development of digital products. Agile principles and ideas – like Scrum and its way of structuring teams and organizing the work – have found their ways into many a lean company. Lean digital thinking and the Toyota Production System, in turn, have greatly influenced the development of these approaches.
Lean Digital is the methodology by which companies apply lean principles to the development process of new digital products.
The world of startups and entrepreneurship has also drawn a lot of inspiration from lean management. Eric Ries’ best-selling book The Lean Startup offers a framework for quick experimentation and validation of learning that is often viewed as an interpretation of lean’s PDCA cycle – and the very idea of involving the customer at different stages of the process clearly reminds of the fundamental lean idea of listening to the Voice of the Customer.
Despite this great level of cross-contamination, however, a disconnect still exists between the world of ‘traditional lean’ and that of young, digital companies. A few pioneering organizations such as softrware company Theodo are trying to bridge that gap by solidly applying lean thinking to their digital work. This is a new frontier for lean thinking.