The dangers of DESIGN, LEAN and AGILE ways of working

"An organisation's ability to learn and translate those learnings into action rapidly is the ultimate competitive advantage" - Jack Welch


Design Thinking, Lean Start-Up and Agile are terms that are used interchangeably by people; what are they?

Design Thinking - is a great way to get closer to customers. What problems do the customers have? Design Thinking is an obsession with identifying, framing and establishing solutions to problems. Lean Start-Up - is a way to develop businesses and products without being wasteful. Frequent iteration is central to the process to meet initial customer needs, reduce risks, and avoid considerable costs of traditional launches. Agile - is taking the software development process and applying it to other types of work. Often organisations confuse themselves with the term 'being agile' and the 'practice of Agile'. Additionally, organisations think that if they 'practise Agile', they are integrating Design Thinking and Lean Start-Up. This is rarely the case, and with large traditional organisations, it is probably doubtful. 'Practising Agile' leverages the incremental development of software that emphasises:

  1. Individual and interactions over processes and tools.

  2. Working software over comprehensive documentation.

  3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.

  4. Responding to change over following a plan.

The above is known as the Agile Manifesto set out in 2001. Some organisations are now using Agile to reduce the probability of disruption.


What if 'Agile' is implemented without understanding customers' pain points and qualifying a business model?


Your organisation runs the risk of doing the same work in an 'Agile' manner. By cycling through the wrong work effectively, a broader commercial situation could be made worse. The assessment of a team's work, known as backlog within an Agile organisation, is critical.