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The Differences of Design, Lean, and Agile Ways of Working

In the business realm, Design Thinking, Lean Start-Up, and Agile often cause confusion due to their interchangeable use, necessitating a closer look at their unique roles.

Design Thinking: Customer-Centric Problem-Solving

Design Thinking is a potent approach for enhancing customer connections. It focuses on solving customer problems through precise problem identification and solution framing.

Lean Start-Up: Streamlining Innovation

Lean Start-Up is a strategic method emphasising efficiency and minimal waste. It champions frequent iterations to address initial customer needs, mitigate risks, and sidestep traditional launch costs.

Agile: Expanding Beyond Software Development

Originally crafted for software, Agile Ways of Working has expanded across various work domains. However, confusion persists between "being agile" and the "practice of Agile." Adopting Agile doesn't automatically integrate Design Thinking and Lean Start-Up, especially in larger organisations.

Agile practice is based on a manifesto (here) involves;

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.

  • Working software over comprehensive documentation.

  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.

  • Responding to change over following a plan.

  • And now, an additional emphasis on inclusivity, diversity, and sustainability.

Implementing Agile without a solid grasp of customer pain points and a qualified business model poses risks. It may lead to cycling through Agile for the wrong initiatives, exacerbating broader commercial challenges. A rigorous assessment of a team's work, the Agile backlog, is crucial to avoid such pitfalls.

One of the many insights from my book Digital Is Everyone's Business.

This is the third blog I am revisiting in my series of popular blogs over the past six years.


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