What is lean product development?
Lean product development or lean software development is an adaptation of Toyota's lean manufacturing, to the context of developing software products. Like the original, it aims to reduce lead times and operating costs, as well as improve product quality.
Toyota's lean manufacturing, coined in the 1980s and developed originally by Taiichi Ohno, it transformed traditional production. Lean manufacturing is a production process based on the concept of maximising productivity while minimizing waste. Whereby waste is defined as anything that does not add customer value. This ideology has been hugely influential across production systems across other industries including software development and lean product/ software development was adopted in 2003 with the publication Lean Software Development.
A further adaptation of the lean concept into product development came with the book Lean Startup by Eric Ries. It goes even further in reducing waste, pushing as far as possible to defer even developing the product. The book introduces the concept of the MVP (minimal viable product) in which a bare-minimum product (or often not even a real product) is used to test and gather user feedback.