Limitations of the industrial manufacturing paradigm, including Lean and ToC

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On a car, a bolt and an emission sensor are the same size and shape. Package, deliver, and install are the same. But design, build, and test are very different.

This is why we need to be careful of manufacturing paradigms like Lean and ToC (Theory of Constraints).

In DevOps Continuous Delivery, deploys are fairly uniform packages, or can be made to be. But builds never are. Every code challenge is unique and uncertain. Unpredictable.

Nor is it a good idea to have a linear production line mindset in a code build team. It wants to be more iterative and collaborative, messy even.

The further you zoom out, the less any value network looks like a stream. They start to look like a braided river, complicated and constantly reshaping, with multiple paths around constraints.

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And when you zoom out far enough it’s a swamp or delta: complex co-creation with little detectable direction at all.

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Finally, efficiency and speed are not our goals in the modem world. Flexibility and innovation are. These are conflicting goals. Lean Six Sigma went out of vogue because “innovation became more valued than efficiency, and technical precision was no longer a differentiator.”

All models are wrong. Some are useful. So it is with the manufacturing models of linear flow with constraints and wastes, buffers and ropes, cadences and queues. Make sure you have zoomed in close enough that a linear stream model makes sense.

(images Copyright Canstockphoto)