Lean and Agile Methodology – Differences and Similarities

Lean and Agile are two popular methods in the world of project management that enable teams to deliver faster, more consistent results.

However, the differences and similarities between Lean and Agile the two approaches are often unclear. Even the words themselves are often misused, like the same words to describe a particular set of habits.

With a project manager in project management, it is important to understand the common similarities of Lean and Agile and specific difference between agile and lean approach in order to ensure the right application and to find an effective and efficient organization.

It’s hard to say which way is best in agile and lean principles. This is something people need to understand for themselves and it depends on the organization and the type of project that needs to be developed.

What is an Agile Methodology?

Agile is basically refers to a set of values ​​and principles set out in the Agile Manifesto.

The Agile Manifesto emphasizes the following:

  • Human communication through tools and processes
  • Interaction with potential clients in discussions of project Outcomes
  • Respond to changes in order
  • The Agile method is very similar to the Lean method and for this reason, you will see many similar points between the two.
  • The Agile methodology approach, is based on development rather than production.

What is Lean’s Methodology?

“Dependence” usually refers to a set of information specifically called “Reliable Production”, developed in Japan in the ’50s and ’60s by an engineer named Taiichi Ohno. Lean production has changed many traditional concepts including:

  • Production should be completely based on demand not on supply. It simply does something when someone wants it and orders it, instead of doing it first, hoping that someone will need it;
  • A product works best when made in small quantities to benefit quality economies; Giving yourself time to focus on quality increases productivity and efficiency;
  • Employers, not managers, are responsible for defining their performance;

These ideas, at the time, seemed apostate in front of the American and Western industries, but the Japanese industrial organizations that embraced these philosophies soon surpassed their “counterparts”.

In short, the Lean method is to undoubtedly remove all that does not add value. Eliminating waste means eliminating unnecessary meetings, activities and documents, but also eliminating inefficient methods, such as overwork.

Lean’s approach also strongly emphasizes the so-called “system”, i.e. the way the team works as a whole. The work should always be seen from a high level to ensure that the process is truly correct.

This approach shows respect for the fact that the people who do the work are the ones who can do it the best. Once they have found what they need in order to function properly, they should be left alone and honest.

Lean and Agile

 Agile and Lean Principles

There is a clear similarity between Agile and Lean approach. The lean method expects the construction of goods/products with a very small number of lots. In the sense that it works well this way. The Agile approach offers many smaller types of product, rather than larger productivity.

Lean’s approach also states that the entire process must be continuously evaluated and modified in order to improve. This approach is therefore very much focused on continuous improvement, called Kaizen.

The Agile approach also provides a standardized assessment of results and methodology to assess potential improvements. Another similarity between Lean and Agile focuses on co-operation between employees. In both cases, the people – the workers – do the work more important than the tools they use.

When it comes to Agile and Lean, nothing is more important than the end result. This result should create value for the customer and is the only purpose of the development process.

The Agile approach allows the client to change its requirements on a regular basis, while Lean provides product design in a way that is non-waste. In either case, the customer has to live up to his or her expectations.

Difference Between Agile and Lean

The main difference is that the Agile approach is about improving the development process, while the Lean approach is about the efficiency of the production process. In production, we usually have a per-defined product and we want to produce products as high quality as possible, in the most economical way.

In production, diversity and recycling are not right and expensive, while development, it is good and fair. Indeed, in the process of development, things are constantly updated and changed depending on new information or feedback.

It is not just coincidence that Lean Management was born in the industrial sector to make production systems more efficient, while the Agile approach was born in the realm of software and software development.

In the first plans, it should work in such a way that no waste can occur. This ultimately translates into the final product that is as productive as possible.

In the second case, instead, the development of prototypes is per-determined, the first being tested and evaluated to improve the final product. But the differences between Lean and Agile are not over.

Lean’s method is often used to improve processes in all organizations. On the other hand, the Agile method is used within a group, usually made by more than a dozen people.

Lean and Agile

So are you lean vs.agile?

It’s hard to say which way is best. This is something people need to understand for themselves and it depends on the organization and the type of project that needs to be developed.

Both paths are tightly connected, everything rotates around the focus on customers and giving them the product they want in the most efficient way possible.

Each method has its strengths and weaknesses and it is necessary to know the characteristics of both in order to be able to evaluate them.

In our experience, success and productivity are linked to how you manage two aspects of work management:

  1. Carefully model the complexities of your work environment – and here, of course, we assists you perfectly
  2. Bring this complexity to something simple, light, quickly manageable and upgradeable by the individual user.

Beyond the ideas that surround the “agile” management and the “thing get done”

And what methodology do you use? Why did you choose it and what are the advantages for you? Tell us about your opinion.


To conclude, there might be just as many similarities between Lean and agile software development methodology, as there are differences. Although their origins are different, they still have the same focus – customer satisfaction.

You will also want to pay attention to your workflow and ways in which you can optimize it. Delivery speed is important in both – but it is up to you and your team to figure out which one will work better for you. It might take some exploration and experimenting, but once you settle down on a methodology, your business will be on the road to success in no time

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