Dangers of being too lean?
There is a lot of talk about Lean Engineering, and a lot of thought has gone into its application to Systems Engineering (see the Lean Enablers for Systems Engineering international working group). I am very aware and supportive of need for (appropriate) lean – focus on doing what is value adding, and being effective and efficient. I have heard some use lean as an argument against eliciting or managing requirements because its isn’t directly contributing to solution generation – so you can go far.
Anyway, I was having a general think about this. On a journey to Derby recently. Driving up A42, getting close to Derby I missed my normal turn. So I was not being lean – there was now waste (although I had made good time earlier). So I took the next turn, and drove a road I hadn’t been on before. The scenery wand new and I found inspiring – there was a very dominant piece of landscape (Breeton on the Hill). This lifted my mood, and I arrived in Derby in an Uplifted, positive (high on “mood elevator”) state. The point I thought about when recognising this was the danger of over lean. If we cut everything back then there is not opportunity for (accidental or deliberate) exploration and so discovery of new / better ways. So is “lean” the enemy of curiosity? (discuss) I see curiosity as “go look see – you might find something useful”. And there is the variation between the deliberate search for new (planned curiosity) and the happy / fortuitous discovery of something new that expands / changes your world or your worldview. For example a “lean” / clear laboratory policy would have meant Alexander Fleming wouldn’t have discovered Penicillin