I was reading a post by Kimberly Chan on lean vs agile yesterday and wanted to expand on it some. Kimberly correctly compares lean, in the (mostly) manufacturing sense of the word, to agile development. What she left out was that lean, in the lean startup sense of the word, actually incorporates Agile. Eric developed this concept by mixing Agile development methodologies with Steve Blank’s customer development process, and the “reducing waste” aspects of the lean manufacturing process.. It is a powerful combination that allows companies big and small to test and validate new business / product ideas before scaling operations and process. This validation is what helps entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs minimize the waste caused by spending lots of resources (time and money) on projects built on a series of assumptions which may not all be correct.
It’s not a perfect process, but the scientific method nature of it appeals to the scientist in me, and the agile part appeals to the product guy in me (I have always been a “let put something out there and see what sticks” kind of guy.)