Liberating the Essence from the Burden of the Whole: A Renaissance in Lean Thinking by Ivar Jacobson

"In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it."—Michelangelo.

So how can a 500 year old quotation be relevant to business today? Well, you’ll be surprised.

The concept of a “kernel” representing the essence of something is a good starting point for most things you build.  You start lean and you stay lean throughout the life of what you build.  The idea of a kernel has many practical applications in today’s business:

1) designing an agile business,

2) building products using agile techniques,

3)  re-engineering your method or way of working.

Proven in many practical situations, the kernel concept provides the ability to scale up the use of agile approaches whilst maintaining control and visibility. It is now being considered for adoption by standards bodies such as the Object Management Group to enable light weight, usable, agile approaches to knowledge management.

The justification for the title is that adopting a kernel approach focuses on the essentials and naturally leads to lean processes and systems. The renaissance is that instead of removing waste to get lean we start lean and stay lean.

I presented a keynote with the same title as this blog at the Agile Business Conference in London Oct 5.  You can download the presentation here.

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