Lean is an Agile philosophy that promotes resource conservation and constant striving for better results. The main goal of Lean is to ensure product implementation with reduced production costs and minimized likelihood of losses at the same time.
Since it isn’t a full-on methodology, Lean does not have a set of readymade practices and rules. But there are techniques and tools that enhance developers’ take on the process of project implementation. Let’s discuss these in more detail.
Quality Function Deployment
App development companies use Quality Function Deployment (QFD) as a universally recognized methodology for converting customer wishes into product quality requirements. The main principle is to compare the audience wishes and the characteristics of the software being developed. A special case of QFD implementation is a matrix representation.
All in all, the QFD method comes in as especially efficient in the following cases:
- when you don’t know which particular characteristics are primary for the client (or audience of users);
- when you need to figure out how to properly position the existing product on the market;
- when you want to indicate what to focus on in the particular product development strategy;
- when you need to identify which product interaction points are primary for clients.
Here’s a generalized template of such a decision-making matrix:
How to compose your own QFD matrix?
All you need to do is take the following simple four steps.
Step #1 – collect data
You can go two ways to gather info about client desires:
- conduct a customer survey based on a representative sample that determines the factors for choosing a particular product. That is, in addition to a formal survey based on the list of features, you also include questions related to:
- novelty (e.g., how important is it for you that a product features trending technologies?);
- uniqueness (e.g., how important is it for you that a product stands out among others?);
- accessibility (e.g., how important is it for you to have access to all product features while offline?);
- performance (e.g., how important is the speed of data processing in the product for you?);
- security (e.g., how important is it for you that your data accessed by the product is protected from disclosure?);
- design (e.g., how important is the interface design for you?);
- pricing (e.g., how important is it for you whether the product price is low/high?);
- economy (e.g., how important is it for you whether the product is
- cheaper/more expensive than similar products?).
- invite the client to name the preferred characteristics of the future product (voice of client, VOC). In this case, the results will serve as the basis for further development and improvement of your product concept.
Step #2 – data analysis
Having collected the survey data, you will need to pass it to the designer who will be able to convert the wishes indicated by the client into features of the future product.
Step #3 – juxtaposition of designer & developer vision
At this point, the composed specifications are passed on to developers who must determine the tools and techniques for implementing the future product.
Step #4 – optimization
At this stage, the specifications added up with the respective tools are passed on to the general developer or project manager. These specialists define ways to optimize further project implementation stages.
After all this, you get a big picture of ways and methods to implement the future software product. The one that would be competitive in the field without requiring huge costs.
Design Structure Matrix
Design structure matrix (DSM) is a compact visual representation of a project in the form of a square matrix.
DSM is, basically, a simplified alternative to adjacency matrix. It is used to design structures for complex processes, aiding project planning and design organization.
The advantages of this matrix are its explicit nature and the ability to display feedbacks. However, it isn’t without its drawbacks which include the lack of mechanisms and controls, non-visible difference between large and small processes, and no possibility to simulate temporary relations.
How to build a DSM matrix?
Here’s a brief take on the process of building your own DSM matrix.
Step #1 – creating a spaghetti graph
The creation of a DSM begins with building a graph that displays the dependencies between the specifications for the project. In this case, it is important to identify the arrows that indicate the data source (the arrow comes out of it) and the tool for using it (the arrow is directed into it).
Step #2 – creating a basic DSM
After that, you will need to work on the graph. In particular, its peaks must be presented in such a way as to simplify the number of dependencies to a minimum. In the future, this will help to break the project into small subtasks and entrust their simultaneous execution to individual development teams.
Step #3 – transforming the DSM
Lastly, the final step is to split the DSM, in which the vertices of the former graph are ordered by priority. After that, you can easily group related vertices within small squares without any problems, thereby building a logical sequence of task implementation.
Using this matrix will ultimately help you to differentiate tasks and transform the development process from a super complex, endowed with a bunch of dependencies affair into several synchronously executed sub processes that can be assigned to individual development teams.
Visual Control Board
The third basic tool to work with based on the Lean philosophy is Visual Control Board (VCB).
In fact, this can be a regular table that displays key information about the project requirements, its speed of implementation, standards, and warnings. Most often, the development team employs the timeline-based method of sorting tasks, thereby defining sprints for Kanban or Scrum.
The ultimate advantage of this approach is that regardless of the knowledge of a team member about the current task, he/she can immediately understand the proper do’s and don’ts.
As such, it serves as a great way to engage employees in the existing workflow without putting too much pressure on them.
Conclusion – Lean Approaches for App Development Companies
Using the above approaches will help you implement projects even faster, with even greater simplicity and productivity, while the number of downtime and costs will be minimized. If you don’t have experience in optimizing software development processes, it’s best to entrust this complex affair to specialists.
Our app development company has been creating competitive custom software for business for years. Contact us to discuss the details of your project.