Having conventions is lean

In this article about how software was/is written for space rockets one particular sentence stayed in my mind:

“… you can’t have people freelancing their way through software code that flies a spaceship, and then, with peoples lives depending on it, try to patch it once its in orbit”

I interpret “freelancing people” as software developers who do not care about things such as conventions, best practices and principles that a team or organization has set up. For example instead of following a common coding guideline they continue to do their own thing which in their opinion fits best. From a lean perspective this is actually nothing more than creating waste because it causes constant friction with the rest of the organization. As a result others have to use their time arguing with “freelancing developers” about their code in reviews, they need more time to understand their work or might have to rework it. It becomes tedious and frustrating for them having to deal with this situation which in turn is not good for the entire work atmosphere and can result in second level waste such as less communication. Instead of implementing the next feature together, people are stuck in senseless dicussions. Having this in mind it’s obvious that establishing and following conventions, principles and practices does not result in waste but actually helps to avoid it and increases efficency.

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One thought on “Having conventions is lean

  1. Once I talked to an embedded C developer about coding style guides. He said that they do not need them. Every developer has its own source files. Of course with their own private style. Nobody will change them without permission from the owner. Not sure if they know the bus factor. 😛

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