This is the third in a series of posts about Lean principles and software architecture by Nanette Brown.
Read first post, Lean Principles and Software Architecture: Categories of Waste.
Read second post, The Waste of Waiting.
In Lean production, the waste of transportation and the waste of motion refer to the unnecessary, non-value-added movement of parts and material and people and equipment. While software development inevitably involves a certain amount of movement of people and equipment, information is the primary entity that moves or flows throughout the development process. Therefore, the mapping of the wastes of transportation and motion to software development might best be characterized as the “waste of information transformation.”
In software development, information is constantly being transformed. The end user’s mental model of the system as a set of capabilities is transformed to the architect’s mental model of system structure and the developer’s mental model of components, interfaces, and algorithms and the tester’s mental model of test strategies and test cases. These mental models are in turn transformed into human-readable artifacts (such as user stories or architecture diagrams or test cases) and machine-readable artifacts (such as code and automated test suites). The question is, What is the most effective way to transform the information? Which transformations add value and which add waste?