Principles: A Roadmap to Organisational Excellence

Principles: A Roadmap to Organisational Excellence

Achieving operational excellence is a goal many organizations strive for. This pursuit often leads to the adoption of methodologies designed to streamline processes, boost efficiency, and enhance productivity. Among these, Continuous Delivery and LEAN principles stand out for their innovation and operational optimization capabilities. Originating from Toyota's manufacturing system, LEAN focuses on waste minimization and value creation for customers. Meanwhile, Continuous Delivery ensures that software can be reliably released at any time, bridging the gap between development and deployment.

Continuous Delivery: Enhancing Deployment Efficiency

Continuous Delivery (CD) revolutionizes the way software is delivered by automating the build, test, and release processes. This methodology enables predictable, routine software releases on demand, thereby enhancing deployment speed and reliability. It aligns with the LEAN emphasis on waste elimination, specifically targeting the waste of time and resources in software deployment.

Improvement Point:

  • Automated Testing: Integrate comprehensive automated testing to catch bugs early, reducing manual testing time and speeding up the release process.

LEAN Principles: Maximizing Value with Minimal Resources

LEAN principles prioritize creating more value for customers using fewer resources by streamlining the flow of work. These principles include defining value from the customer's perspective, identifying and eliminating waste, ensuring smooth work progression, and establishing a demand-driven pull system. In software development, applying LEAN means adopting practices that cut inefficiencies, improve quality, and swiftly respond to customer needs.

Improvement Point:

  • Value Stream Mapping: Conduct regular value stream mapping exercises to identify non-value-adding activities and streamline processes for better efficiency.


  • An online retailer applied value stream mapping to their software development process, identifying several redundant steps in their deployment pipeline that, once removed, reduced their feature release time by 40%.

A Framework for Excellence: The Three Ways

The Three Ways framework provides a strategic approach to integrating Continuous Delivery and LEAN principles, focusing on the flow of work, feedback loops, and continuous learning.

1. Optimizing the Flow of Work

This principle emphasizes enhancing the flow from Development to Operations to the customer, advocating for visible work processes, smaller batch sizes, and the elimination of bottlenecks.

Improvement Point:

  • SCRUM: Scrum focuses on delivering value in iterative and incremental cycles, known as Sprints, which typically last 2-4 weeks. This framework encourages planning, commitment, and delivery of work in manageable chunks, allowing teams to focus on delivering specific features or products within a set timeframe.

2. Establishing Fast Feedback Loops

Creating a culture of rapid and continuous feedback enables teams to swiftly identify issues, learn from mistakes, and improve both processes and products.

Improvement Point:

  • Continuous Integration (CI): Adopt CI practices to ensure immediate feedback on the impact of code changes, facilitating quick adjustments.

  • Continuous Deployment (CD): Continuous Deployment takes all of this a step further by automatically deploying every change that passes through the pipeline to production. This means that feedback on new features or changes can be gathered from real users in real-time.

    Utilize feature flags to control the visibility and activation of new features. This allows features to be deployed but not necessarily enabled for all users immediately, providing a mechanism for controlled rollouts and A/B testing.

By integrating CI/CD practices within the Scrum methodology, teams can ensure that feedback on the impact of code changes is received as quickly as possible, enabling swift adjustments based on real user data and feedback. Here’s how these practices contribute to fast feedback loops:

  • Frequent Releases: The combination of Scrum and CD allows teams to release new features every day ensuring that feedback from users on these changes is received rapidly.

  • Real-time Feedback: Continuous Deployment enables the gathering of immediate user feedback as new features are released, allowing teams to quickly iterate or roll back changes based on this feedback.

  • Automated Testing: As part of CI, automated testing provides immediate feedback to developers about the quality and functionality of their code, long before it reaches the user, ensuring that only high-quality changes are deployed.

3. Fostering Continuous Learning and Experimentation

This approach encourages a culture of risk-taking and learning from failures, fostering innovation and continuous improvement. These activities not only bolster innovation and creativity but also strengthen team cohesion and technical expertise.

Improvement Point:

  • Hackathons: Regularly organize hackathons or innovation days to encourage experimentation and creative problem-solving.

  • Knowledge Sharing Sessions: Organize regular knowledge sharing sessions where team members can present on recent challenges they've overcome, new technologies they've explored, or insights from recent projects. This facilitates a culture of learning and helps spread valuable expertise across the team.

  • Coding Katas: Implement coding katas—structured practice sessions for programming—to hone developers' skills through repetition of coding exercises. This can improve coding proficiency and promote the adoption of best practices.

  • Interactive Workshops: Conduct interactive workshops on various technical and soft skills topics. These workshops can range from new programming languages, frameworks, and tools to communication and project management techniques. The hands-on nature of workshops ensures active learning and immediate application of new skills.


The combination of Continuous Delivery and LEAN principles, shown through the actions of improving workflow, enhancing feedback loops, and encouraging continuous learning, offers a powerful blueprint for organizations aiming for operational excellence.By working on better work processes, building a strong feedback environment, and supporting new ideas, companies can not only succeed in today's competitive world but also prepare for future breakthroughs.Using these methods helps you move towards excellence, and brings great benefits for those dedicated to constantly improving and adjusting.

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