project management

Lean and Agile: Differences and Similarities

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Some would describe them as the new Yin and Yang, others think that they are like two peas in a pod.

Lean and Agile: Differences and Similarities

We tried to get to the bottom of this, which is why today we bring you the ultimate comparison, Lean and Agile: differences and similarities, so stay tuned.

Let’s Introduce You to Some Basics First

Ok, if you’re reading this, you probably already have an idea of what we are talking about here. If not, no worries, we are going to break it down briefly for you.

Basically, it is about two main methodologies in project management, so now we are going to briefly summarize their features before we compare them.

What Is Lean?

Lean Manufacturing comes from Japan and was created by Taiichi Ohno during the 50s and the 60s.

Its main purpose is to improve efficiency in manufacturing by putting the accent on value and eliminating everything that’s unnecessary. However, the core principles can be applied to any other business universally.

What Is Agile?

Agile comes from the 80s and 90s and developed along with the programming and the computer industry.

The goal was to speed up the process so that something can be developed quickly and easily updated afterward. It is all sublimed in the Agile Manifesto from 2001, which consists of 12 principles.

Differences Between Lean and Agile

There are more than several differences between these two approaches, but we’ll try to focus on some of the most important ones to help you get a bigger picture.

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  • The lean method originates from manufacturing while Agile arose from software development, which reflects in the way these two approaches function.
  • The Lean method implies a somewhat longer process of improvement on a company level, so it is more suitable for a large enterprise. Agile is used for getting quick results, and it is more convenient for smaller teams or individual projects.
  • Lean covers all areas and manages the overall workflow to boost efficiency, while Agile is focused on prompt problem-solving of smaller tasks.

Similarities Between Lean and Agile

Although they might seem like two completely different approaches that have different goals and mindsets, they do have some things in common, so let’s take a look at some of them:

  • Both strive to improve, while Lean focuses on the process that’s supposed to develop a certain product, Agile is focused on improving that final product.
  • Both methodologies emphasize collaboration, teamwork as one of their core values.
  • Both are customer-oriented, meaning that the ultimate goal is to keep the client happy.
  • Both believe in continuous inspection and check-ups in order to evaluate and update on time.

Lean Management or Agile, Which One Is Better?

Before you make the final decision, keep in mind several factors such as the size of your business, niche, goals, and so on.

Also, no one says you have to settle for one methodology, get the best from both worlds, or give them both a shot and find what works for you.


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