We investigate Lean principles and practices in various organizations and industries. Our motivation is among others linked to a Eurostar project we are engaged in. Another motivation is our relationships to the field of software engineering where lean manufacturing principles and practices are translated into the software development domain.
The term Lean was first coined by John Krafcik in a fall 1988 article, Triumph of the Lean Production System, published in the Sloan Management Review, based on his master’s thesis at the MIT Sloan School of Management. The term Lean amplifies the core objective associated with elimination of waste, or muda as it is called in Japanese. Lean manufacturing involves following a set of core manufacturing principles where the fundamental aim is waste reduction.
Womack and Jones in the 2003 book, Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, published by Free Press, New York, express that the five main principles of Lean are:
- Value: the principal starting point for Lean thinking, which can be determined only by the final customer. Value is created by customer satisfaction providing the right product, for the right price at the right time. This is the essence of the concept of customer value.
- Value Stream: a set of activities needed to design, produce and deliver a specific product, providing an optimal value to the customer through a full value creation process minimizing all possible waste. This is the essence of transformation purpose associated with customer value objectives.
- Flow: smooth and unobstructed movement through value-creating stages. This implies how transformation should take place through heijunka; a smooth flow.
- Pull: actions taken solely to satisfy customer needs, instead of pushing often unwanted products onto the customer. This implies that production is ultimately directed by the customer.
- Perfection: never ending process for improving value, value stream, flow and pull in different operations. This is in line with Crosby’s “zero defects” a statement of process output quality.
Applied Modelling is a research focus of PIL. One area of special interest is Enterprise Modeling (EM) which is an established approach for the conceptual representation, design, implementation and analysis of information systems. EM can be defined as an activity where an integrated and negotiated model describing different aspects of an enterprise is created (1). The theme has its roots in systems modeling and especially information systems modelling, and is a central theme in information systems engineering research gaining much attention in industry; regarded by many as a substantial opportunity to improve global industrial competitiveness (Rolstadås et al, 2012).
EM is vital to develop, analyse and deploy information systems that fits today’s user-driven world with massive amounts of exchanged information. EM contributes with the conceptualisation, implementation, and use of machine processable languages to facilitate the interaction with complex business and technological scenarios, engage in knowledge management and support organisational engineering. In addition, the development of reference models for selected domains, the design of generic models for enterprise architecture management, and the development of modeling tools are investigated.
The first methods dealing with EM emerged in the 1970s. They were the E-R approach of Peter Chen (1976) and SADT of Douglas T. Ross (1977). These first methods have been followed by numerous methods for software engineering, such as SSADM. Specific methods for EM in the context of Computer Integrated Manufacturing appeared in the early 1980s. They include the IDEF family of methods, the GRAI method, GRAI/GIM and others. There are several techniques for EM such as Active Knowledge Modeling, Dynamic EM, EM Methodology/Open Distributed Processing (EMM/ODP), process modeling using BPMN, CIMOSA, DYA, IDEF3, LOVEM, PERA, etc., Integrated EM (IEM) and modelling the enterprise with multi-agent systems. Within Object-orientation examples are Object-oriented analysis (OOA) and Object-modelling technique (OMT). More EM techniques are developed into Enterprise Architecture framework such as ARIS, DoDAF, OBASHI, RM-ODP, TOGAF and the Zachman Framework and metamodelling frameworks such as GERAM.
Research topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
- The role of EM in information systems engineering
- EM Approaches and Business Processes
- Use Cases and Action Research on EM
- Use of EM at Run-Time
- Compliance in EM
- Enterprise Architecture
- Multilevel Modelling
- Economics of EM
- EM and Model-Driven Development
- Conceptualizations, Notations, and Ontologies
- Change Management and Transformation
Links – Process Improvement – coping with change
Pertaining to change management, we are particularly interested in the use of lean as a navigation star in the translations from AS-IS to TO-BE.
Information and Communication Technology
Information and Communication Technology is a research area of PIL; seen as an enabler of process change. Some interesting areas are:
Agile software development; software development methods using iterative and incremental development practices. Typically requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between cross-functional, self-organizing teams (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).
- The Agile Manifesto
- Agile software development in general
- The New Methodology
- Method engineering: engineering of information systems development methods and tools
- Varieties of user-centredness: an analysis of four systems development methods
- Extreme programming
While functional requirements specify what the system should do, non-functional requirements specify all the remaining requirements not covered by the functional requirements, i.g. they specify criteria that judge the operation of a system, rather than specific behaviors:
System modeling is the interdisciplinary study of the use of models to conceptualize and construct systems within IT and business development (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).
- Conceptual modeling of complex systems
- Context models
- Interaction models
- Structural models
- Behavioral models
- Model-driven engineering
Applications architecture is one of several architecture domains forming the pillars of an enterprise architecture or solution architecture. Applications architecture is the science and art of ensuring the suite of applications being used by an organization to create the composite architecture is scalable, reliable, available and manageable (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). In Pattern-Oriented Software Architecture: A System of Patterns, by F. Buschmann, R. Meunier, H. Rohnert, P.Sommerlad, and M. Stal, John Wiley and Sons, 1996, ISBN 0-471-95869-7, an Architectural pattern is defined as expressing a fundamental structural organization or schema for software systems. Architecture Views are selected parts of one or more models representing a complete system architecture focusing on the aspects that address the stakeholder concerns (Source: opengroup.org).
Object-oriented analysis and design (OOAD) is a popular technical approach to analyzing, designing an application, system, or business by applying the object-oriented paradigm and visual modeling throughout thedevelopment life cycles to foster better stakeholder communication and product quality (Source: Wikipedia).
- Object-oriented design using the UML
- Design patterns
- Open source development
- Implementation issues
Test-driven development (TDD) is a software development process that relies on the repetition of a very short development cycle: first the developer writes an (initially failing) automated test case that defines a desired improvement or new function, then produces the minimum amount of code to pass that test, and finally refactorsthe new code to acceptable standards (Source: Wikipedia).
- Evolution processes
- Program evolution dynamics
- Software maintenance
- Legacy system management
Advanced Software Engineering
- Application frameworks
- Component-based software engineering
- Service-oriented architecture
- Embedded software
- Aspect-oriented software engineering