Words are worlds. Using different words to differentiate things can mask their many similarities. Distinguishing between agile and lean software development methods is a case in point – these are seen by many as distinctly different approaches to organising development, when in fact they are underpinned by the same philosophies and theories, and share more similarities than differences.
But, pigeon-holing things with a label can also be a powerful tool for gaining focus and for communicating. Take the title of this post – Stop Starting and Start Finishing – for me this is a powerful phrase for communicating the essence of lean – reducing WIP. As an agile coach I’ve found I can talk for hours about kanban, WIP, value streams, flow, pull, etc. But the ‘ ahaa’ moment often comes when I use this phrase. I think its power lies in not only exposing the heart of lean in common language, but it also acts as a real easy decision rule for the team – it captures the key action the team must make to start reducing that pile of WIP, get value flowing, get to DONE, move towards pull, etc.
If I had 5 seconds to teach agile/lean, I’d just say this phrase. If I had 50 seconds, I’d say it 10 times!
Think I’m DONE, so I’ll finish.