The various industries and professional areas of the modern world have spawned a huge number of techniques for addressing problematic situations, some of which work on a small scale, while others are more suitable for major projects that span across multiple parts of the organization. Choosing the right methodology – or family of methodologies – for addressing the specific issues of your own business is critical in ensuring its long-term success, and a common question that’s brought up nowadays concerns the specific differences between lean and other problem-solving methodologies.
Flexibility in Adaptation
At its core, lean is meant to be fast and flexible, easy to adapt to any situation regardless of the context. For many, its versatility is indeed its true power and the biggest factor of attraction that draws them towards the area. And as time goes by and more people join the field, lean keeps evolving into an even more powerful set of tools for reaching a quick resolution to a problem.
You’ll often find that tutorials about lean don’t focus on any specific industry when teaching you how to apply those practices. There will likely be many examples inspired from real-life situations, but in the end the knowledge you’ll attain can be applied to pretty much any industry where you can abstract things to a set of components that interact with each other.
Many of the popular problem-solving techniques of today are designed for a specific application within a single industry, and even lean itself has branched out somewhat with different “flavors” meant to suit the needs of specific industries better. For example, agile software development describes a set of practices that don’t really make sense when building anything other than software products, while lean development is based on somewhat more higher-level concepts that can easily be ported to another type of work.
As we mentioned above, lean is also seeing active development today, and this is another major benefit in the eyes of many of its supporters. Many other methodologies are outdated and describe techniques that would make more sense if you forgot that things like computers and the internet exist, but not lean. It’s commonly evaluated and pushed forward by a large number of people, making it one of the ultimate tools in the arsenal of the leader who wants to always be at the forefront of contemporary developments.
An Opposing View
It’s worth noting that some see this as a problem rather than an advantage, claiming that lean is too unwieldy and difficult to retain a level of high experience in. But in today’s world, this should really be seen as a benefit more than anything else, as it means that you’ll never be forced to work with ideas that don’t match the current state of affairs.
Sure, it also means that you’ll have to put a lot more effort into your training, and that the training itself will be a long-term continuous process rather than a one-time thing, but this is how a true leader must develop his/her skillset in the first place. You can’t expect to take a few courses over the period of a couple of months and call it a day for the rest of your career – you have to stay involved in your industry and always be on the lookout for ways to improve your skills. And learning lean is definitely one of the best ways to go about that today.
And if you’re feeling inclined, you may even find yourself contributing to the field eventually – it’s quite the open community, with plenty of people who are willing to listen to your ideas and provide constructive criticism. After all, these are the kinds of people who push lean forward today in the first place, so there’s no reason to believe that you can’t become a part of that community and contribute to the development of something great.
It can take a long time to properly compare lean against other popular problem-solving methodologies, but the important thing to take away from the whole idea behind lean is that it’s simply the best strategy for those who want to stay relevant and up to date with current events. It’s the most flexible approach to solving problems of many kinds, and it’s also not too difficult to get involved with it even without any prior experience.