Haldan’s Lean Journey: Lean in Software Development

The Lean Philosophy is a central component in Haldan Consulting’s role as Manufacturing Consultants. As part of our service offering, we assist companies in creating cultures and values that drive Lean initiatives within their organisations. We recently embarked on a journey to extend our Lean Manufacturing principles into our own Software Development processes, in order to maximise our agility and streamline our deployment strategies. 

Lean Principles simplifiedThe Lean journey can be simplified into three main actions: Firstly, see waste; secondly, eliminate waste, and thirdly, continuously improve everything. It is our firm belief that you cannot achieve effective management of your processes without objective, quantifiable data. For this reason, we use our software application, HaldanMES, as a starting point to monitor production information. Two additional, yet very important aspects of any lean initiative is to create a culture change throughout the organisation as well as to focus on training staff to be more empowered in their daily work. These fundamental principles can be applied outside of manufacturing, to almost every other aspect of life.

The next phase in our continuous improvement strategy was to transfer lean principles into our Software Development, so that we could deliver better value to our customers and maximise our internal lean culture. With this in mind, it became apparent that we needed to be able to see waste in our internal processes. It was important that we create methods whereby we could monitor our productivity.

We started by developing an in-house tool to manage all daily activities and tasks. It operates much like an all-in-one agile project management tool, and it has become a very effective way for us to maintain the best possible workflow.

As a task is created, it is prioritized in a backlog channel. Any employee is able to pick up a task and begin working on it. Each employee is restricted to working on 2 tasks at a time. Once work is complete, the tool guides a structured workflow: Review - Build – Test – Document. The task is not complete until all these steps have been finished.

The tool is also web-based and can be accessed at any time, from any location, allowing our team to operate with priority, speed and efficiency. It lets us to monitor the use of resources and gain clarity on the progress of specific projects.

The basic principles of Kanban have been built into this tool: Visualise workflow, Limit work-in-progress and Enhance flow. In the same way that Lean focusses on the value stream, it ensures that we are adding value at each and every step in our development process. Over the last few months, we have been able to minimise waste, improve our productivity and become more effective at working together.

Our development process has been streamlined to accelerate customer value. We have shortened the loop from planning, to in-house testing, to deployment, and finally feedback. This has allowed us to adapt immediately to changing requirements and customer requests. In practice, it is a much more agile approach to development, where planning and feedback are continuously addressed. The results have been positive – we have created better quality products by enriching our team dynamics.

Lastly, in order to further strengthen a culture of collaboration, we also re-designed the layout of our office area. We centralized the office space, so that all team members work together in one large room. It has given us immediate access to each member of our team, which promotes open communication. Ultimately, this has stimulated a direct and sustainable learning experience.

While we still have a long road ahead of us, we are all excited about what the future holds for Haldan Consulting. We are on a journey of continuous improvement, to become a more unified, effective team. What could be more rewarding than that?