Donna and I have very different approaches to hanging out the washing. I like to take each piece of clothing individually and make sure it’s straightened, right-side-out and hung so as to minimise ironing etc. Donna likes to get the job over with as quickly as possible, and leaves the straightening and right-siding until the moment before wear.

We’re both right, of course, and we can both defend our approach as ‘agile’: Donna “decides as late as possible”, whereas I “refactor” as I go. We can each also see the problems inherent in the other’s approach: I waste time folding just-washed underwear, and Donna wastes time later unravelling it in order to get into it.

We’ve each been doing it that way for years. Probably neither of us will ever change, and there’s probably no reason to. These are simply old habits, and they do no harm. But hanging out the washing tonight made me think again about trying to persuade a HeriocProgrammer or a WaterfallManager to TestFirst or IntegrateOften…

the muda of poor communication

One of the main planks of lean thinking is the elimination of waste from the process of delivering value to the customer. Hal Macomber writes a very interesting piece about waste in communication.

When applied to software development, this idea fits very well with the agile view that interaction and collaboration are to be valued more highly than documentation, for example. In Lean Software Development Mary & Tom Poppendieck classify the muda of document hand-off under Ohno’s original heading of extra processing steps, and I tend to agree. But maybe Hal is right, and Poor Communication (not listening, not speaking) genuinely is a new category of waste…