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Using Lean to Question Unquestionable

Lana Rousakovski, Lead Performance Improvement Leader, Cerner, Downingtown, PA, USA

Keywords: System Thinking, Agile, Software Testing

Industry: Software/IT

Level: Intermediate

Abstract

How often do we come across the situations in which we, lean practitioners, are asked to lead PDCA, a Kaizen event, or other lean improvements only to find out that the team or the leadership already think they know what the right solution is and do not really see the need to do proper data collection and analysis or root cause? How about the situations when it is not just a single case, but it is the whole industry practice that thinks this way? Software testing is a perfect industry for unlimited improvement opportunities since by its definition it is a non-value add an activity, but for many years the only solution that was ever discussed or assumed to be is test automation. Lean process improvement opportunities are rarely discussed and the only thing that organizations are usually focused on is the question “what tool should we use for our test automation?”. As lean practitioners, though, we know that starting the solution with the tool and not the process usually doesn’t build a cost-effective and sustainable process. So, how can software testing benefit from lean improvement opportunities that go beyond regular test automation?

I would like to share our experience – how did we go about it and the results we were able to achieve. My talk will consist of two parts. In the first one, I will talk about our PDCA journey in software testing from identifying the opportunity to breaking the standard mindset of having the only one acceptable improvement solution to results we were able to achieve. The second part will cover something even more interesting – the unique improvement solution that the team developed and implemented which was based on one of the basic lean techniques – process mapping.

If you are in the software world, you will find my presentation unique and refreshing. Even if you are not in the software world, I invite you to join my talk as the challenges and resolutions I will be talking about in the first part of my talk are quite generic and can be applied to various settings and industries and the technique I will be talking about in the second part of my presentation may trigger a new and unusual solution applicable to your industry, your world. Please join me – I hope to see you!


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