Using Lean principles to develop a Lean App

May 20, 2014

“We’d like a mobile App and this is how we’d like it to work.” said our client as he pointed to a series of indecipherable sketches.

“It’s called ‘Kaizen’ and these are ‘Gemba’ Tools.”

For the uninitiated Lean terminology can seem a little strange to begin with. With ‘value streams’, ‘Takt’ and ‘Gemba’ difficult to get your head around.

Lean originated in Japan with the Toyota Motor Corporation. And as our project team researched the principles behind it. We found the thinking aligned closely with design thinking and agile development. Which we are already familiar with.

Our client delivers Lean training into the UK healthcare market. The App would enable healthcare professionals to observe and measure their processes. Making them more efficient by identifying and eliminating waste. This work is undertaken during organised sessions called Rapid Improvement Workshops (RPIWs).

The aim of the project was to reduce the amount of time between recording data and interpreting it. Removing the need for stop watches, clipboards and spreadsheets.

Users told us that collecting the data wasn’t too much of a problem. But they then needed to transfer it into a spreadsheet to interpret it. This process was time consuming and meant that reports were often slow to produce and so act upon. If we could make data collection easier and data interpretation instant we will have created a powerful tool.

Rapid prototyping (a principle of Lean) meant we got the App into the hands of users early on in the project life cycle. Continual testing and feedback helped us we refine and improve the product until it was ready for technical build.

Lean calls this a feedback loop (build. measure. learn). Working this way reduced development time and ensured the final outcome met users needs.

We have now launched, what we believe is one of the most powerful iOS Kaizen Apps on the market. With a version for use in both healthcare and manufacturing now available on the App Store

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Infinite Design Consultants Ltd

Studio 6, The Kiln, Hoults Yard,
Hoults Estate, Newcastle upon Tyne

T: 0191 224 8910


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