Lean vs. Agile: What’s Right for My Business?


The field of software development is growing, and quickly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that the field will grow by over twenty percent in the next decade!

If you work in this expanding field, you know that choosing the right methodology for completing projects is critical to the quality of your work and keeping up your team’s morale. You may have heard the debates between Lean vs Agile, but do you actually know what’s different between the two?

Keep reading to learn the difference between Lean and Agile and decide which one is right for your business.

What Is Lean?

Lean methodology is inspired by the Toyota Production System of the 1970s. It optimized production processes in automobile assembly lines, including cutting costs and reducing wasted resources.

In the early 2000s, software engineers took these principles and adapted them to their own use. Lean has seven key principles. However, the main focus is on optimizing production processes and minimizing wasted time, energy, and resources.

In Lean, projects should take as little time as possible. While processes should be planful, they shouldn’t be overplanned, as this is a waste of time and human resources. All team members should also be utilized to their fullest potential.

What Is Agile?

Agile is a methodology that also appeared in the early 2000s. It was created in direct response to the shortcomings of the more traditional project management methodologies that were popular at the time.

The traditional approach, known as Waterfall, relied on a rigid, linear process to complete projects. The end product was agreed upon before the project started. The team worked to fulfill that exact goal throughout the project timeline.

With the rise of software development, however, this approach no longer worked. Teams didn’t always know what end result they were looking for and needed the flexibility to change their goal partway through the project.

Agile lets them do just that. Agile, as opposed to Waterfall, emphasizes collaboration and communication over rigid processes and documentation. Rather than one long project period with a single final product at the end, Agile relies on iterative design periods and delivering multiple versions of the product.

This allows teams to collect feedback as they go and incorporate what they’ve learned into the final version of the product.

Should You Use Lean Or Agile?

It depends on what your goals are! Lean and Agile are great at different things, and the right methodology for you will depend on what you need.

If you are working on a tight timeline or have limited budget resources, you should consider using Lean methodology in your day-to-day workflows. The emphasis on eliminating waste will help you stay under budget and on time with your production.

On the other hand, if you need room for creativity and flexibility throughout your design processes, you should use Agile. You won’t be able to plan exactly how much time and money a project will take, but you will be sure to have the time and flexibility you need to create the right final product for your team and clients.

Lean Vs Agile: Choose The Right One For Your Business

If anyone asks you the main differences between Lean vs Agile, you’ll be able to tell them! Use this knowledge to determine whether Lean methodology vs Agile methodology is right for you and your business. You’ll be improving your project processes in no time!

Looking for other ways to upgrade your business and save time and money? Check out the careers and finance articles we have in the business section of our site!

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