What is the relationship between Lean and Agile?

Back to FAQ for Agile & Scrum

Dr. Sutherland gave us a perfect answer on one of his slides. He said, and I quote:

"To be Lean, Leadership needs to change focus to:

  • Eliminate Waste
  • Understand Value Stream Analysis
  • Implement Single Piece Continuous Flow

Agile competition goes beyond lean manufacturing by permitting the customer, jointly with the vendor or provider, to determine what the product will be.

For agile competitors, the ability to individualize products comes at little or no increase in manufacturing cost. It does, however, exact a cost: It requires major changes in Organization, management philosophy, and operations."

"Lean inspired Scrum, and Scrum inspired Agile," so to master Scrum, we should be familiar with the Lean concepts for Lean is the parent to all.

Agile brings the capability of incorporating customers' feedback into the product at a pace never seen in the market. Agile practitioners deliver great products to increase revenue, and Lean practitioners bring process efficiency to contain costs. Combine both, and we will get revenue up, cost down, and products that customers will love.

That's how True Scrum, the Scrum Dr. Sutherland invented, is based on.

That's also what distinguishes the high-performance True Scrum and the low-performance Scrum that we've seen in many implementations across Southeast Asia:

Lean is missing. The outcome-driven work focus is missing. The Scrum Masters are physically present but functionally missing, too. :)

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