Thursday, 1 April 2010

Why 5S Applies to Software Engineering

I've heard a few comments lately about how the Toyota Way practice of 5S is not really applicable to software development. The argument usually goes along the lines of:
We don't need to tidy up: everything we do is inside a computer.
This worried me for some time, but I only recently realised exactly what the problem is with this: 5S is not about tidying up, it is about minimising waste.

In relation to the manufacture of auto-mobiles, Taichi Ohno identified seven wastes:
  • Overproduction
  • Unnecessary transport
  • Inventory
  • Excessive motion
  • Defects
  • Over-processing
  • Waiting
There have been additionally proposed fundamental wastes in businesses, most notably:
  • Goods that don't meet user demand
  • Unused human potential
In software development, only some of the physical wastes at first seem to apply, but I suggest that almost ALL of the wastes apply to software development. Just think about it.

1 comment:

  1. A big advantage of 5S is as a training device. We can illustrate lean considering by performing through the 5S actions in our environment.