What is agile and what is lean design?

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Agile design refers to processes where design and implementation are interleaved and not separate. In other words, the product or service design is revisited throughout the implementation process. The purpose is to best meet customer needs. This is achieved by making the customer part of the implementation team in processes related to requirements definitions and evaluation of  prototypes for ensuring that needs are met are expected.

Agile processes are more suitable in situations where the requirements are not fully known at the beginning of product design, but rather the emerge during the impelementation process through collaboration, communication, and evaluation of prototypes.

Agile processes require the development of a wide range of skills, such as the capacity to collaborate, the capacity to work independently, good communication skills with co-workers and customers, good evaluation skills, ability to prioritize tasks, and more.

Agile processes are applicable in wide industrial sectors. They are more applicable in cases where a strict blueprint is not necessary or when the requirements are fluid or not initally well understood.

Lean production processes refer to minimalist approaches in production design that eliminate unnecessary production steps with the objective of reducing the cost of the production process.

A well-known model of lean production design is the 5S model that refers to sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain all of which help contain production costs. The model was first introduced in the automobile manufacturing sector and has since spread to other industries.