Manufacturing and software often seem like polar opposites: old vs. new economy. Producing furniture or assembling cars seems to have little to do with building applications and writing code.
However, while the products are different, the principles for success in manufacturing and software are surprisingly aligned. The two are brought together in Kanban, a work methodology and mindset inspired by the Lean techniques developed by Toyota Motor Co. over 70 years ago.
Today, Lean Kanban is generating excitement across healthcare, financial services, and advertising, and helping companies like Zara, Spotify, and Pixar improve quality, productivity, and customer satisfaction.
But a lot of people remain vague on what Lean Kanban actually encompasses, especially because the terms Lean, Kanban, and Lean Kanban are used almost interchangeably. In this article, I break down the core principles, explain how they apply to manufacturing and software, and show how leading practitioners see the method evolving .